New job anxiety(a brief review of a common issue)

New job anxiety
JuanitaHFNE

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.

In the following article, the reader will be able to recognize some of the characteristics of new job anxiety, as well as some strategies that could be used to manage this situation. 

New job anxiety(a brief review of a common issue)

New job anxiety

New job anxiety is that feeling, quite common in the general population, that people experience when they start work on a new job. There are many expectations placed on opportunities, and when a new job is started there are many things that cannot be predicted, what is in the future. The two above are some of the factors that facilitate the emergence of new job anxiety. 

Anxiety, in general terms, is a normal reaction that is equipped in our bodies. It is a response to uncertainty and is strongly associated with a basic emotion: fear. We don’t know what’s going to happen; who wants to be in the dark? Nobody, right? The usual thing is that we want to have everything under control. 

Knowing what’s going to happen, the tasks that we have to do, knowing what the challenges will be, the new workplace, the new co-workers! All of the above, in combination, can become very heavy to carry on a day-to-day basis. New job anxiety means that we care about what is happening and that we want to be good at our jobs. 

The best way to handle anxiety, especially in this context when it is a normal reaction, is not to fight it. If we deny that it exists, it will be even worse and the feeling will not go away. We must repeat to ourselves, again and again, that it is a normal reaction to a vital change that for most people generates some stress. 

New job anxiety: why? 

As we mentioned a moment ago, the fact that new job anxiety is generated means, among other things, that we care about what is about to happen. That, within our value and belief systems, having a job is very important and we want to do it in the best way. 

Some people may not experience new job anxiety or may not experience it very intensely. This could be due to several factors. On the one hand, it may be that they have already changed jobs several times and have somehow acquired the necessary tools to deal with these reactions, it may be that in general, they are people who tend to regulate their emotions very effectively

New job anxiety(a brief review of a common issue)

However, there is nothing wrong with us if we experience a new job anxiety when we start a new job. It is a normal and expected response within our usual mode of operation. In fact, it would be a little strange not to feel anything about our new job, wouldn’t it? After all, it hasn’t always been there, and it implies that some things in our lives will be different. 

New job anxiety: value systems and their relationship to anxiety

As mentioned previously, the onset of an anxiety response is entire to be expected and we should not fight it. On the other hand, it is also important to make a small analysis of this reaction and the sense it has within our psychological systems.

Let’s talk about what is important and what has a higher relevance in our lives, that is, our values. The appearance of new job anxiety is also related to these values, and we will see why. One value, for example, maybe that the person feels it is very important to be perceived as productive and intelligent. 

What happens at the beginning of most jobs? Do we have enough training to appear productive and intelligent on the first day or week? Perhaps the most common answer is no. As you are entering a new environment, with new rules, new hierarchies, and new people, it is most common that you begin a process of adaptation. 

It’s like being on the first step of a big ladder. New job anxiety appears on that first step when we can’t even see the top of the ladder because it’s so far away that it looks very dark. On this first ladder, our skills and abilities are beginning to “warm-up” for what lies ahead. 

However, since productivity and intelligence within our value systems are in a very large place, we may experience new job anxiety, since those values will be threatened when we set foot in the new company. 

Belief systems: what if…

On the other hand, in the context of new job anxiety, we also find the relevance of beliefs, by helping us in the previous assessment we make of the new workplace and the new situation in which we find ourselves. What are my beliefs regarding the arrival to new places? 

New job anxiety(a brief review of a common issue)

Are people judging me all the time? Will I be good enough? What if the selection process failed to choose me? These and other questions could arise, and interfere with daily functioning. Under these circumstances, it is to be expected, again, that we will experience new job anxiety. 

Our beliefs may be guiding the way we relate to this new environment and causing our activation levels to increase on a regular basis as we constantly and eagerly evaluate what is going to happen and our near future. 

Will I ever be able to achieve a promotion in this company? Yes, that’s right, our need for control and comfort is so high, that from the first step we could start thinking about that climb that we still know very little about because it’s a little higher up the ladder. 

New job anxiety: what to do to manage it? 

Anxiety is a widely known reaction, so there is also relative clarity about how to handle it, how to cope with it. Below, we will provide some very simple practical tools for managing new job anxiety.

Start by managing the physiological symptoms

An initial and very effective, way to deal with the manifestations of anxiety is through breathing techniques. Through them, great advances in the regulation of anxiety can be achieved. 

It is then recommended to find a quiet and silent space, if possible. If this is not possible, at least space where a few minutes can be used for this exercise. What you are going to do is, first, notice the way you are breathing. Am I agitated? Is my breathing coming in too fast? Do I feel short of breath? 

After noticing the way you are breathing, what you should do is take control of your breathing. Start by slowly and gently inhaling a little air, hold the air for a few seconds in your lungs, try to read the body sensations that this generates. How your body behaves in this situation.

New job anxiety(a brief review of a common issue)

After that, release the air also slowly and gently, try not to be too forced or abrupt, you are in control after all. Repeat the above process about 3 times, until you feel that you are in control of your breathing and that it is at a level where you feel comfortable. 

This feeling of well-being will help you greatly. Also, you will feel that small accomplishment of being in control of your own internal processes. 

Try to find a person who gives you comfort and peace of mind

It is normal that we feel more comfortable with some people than others. We don’t all get the same reactions, and in fact, some may make us feel even more anxious. Try to identify some people who give you a sense of serenity and tranquillity so that your adaptation process will benefit. 

Life is so much better when we are accompanied, right? In this case, the above will be even more important since through a good company you will begin to gain confidence in the new workplace and thus climb the other steps will generate less anxiety. 

Let’s get that new routine! 

Another strategy that will help you a lot to decrease the feeling of anxiety in your new job, will be the possibility to establish or start establishing your own routine. The knowledge acquired about mental health allows us to know that people are usually better off in general conditions when they have a routine to stick to and follow consistently. 

So, start building yours! The new job will come with new functions, new work material you should know about, maybe a new lunch hour, a different moment of relaxation, etc. Take all these and other possible elements and organize them throughout your day, that way you will know, from tomorrow, what to do in each moment. 

Sounds comfortable, doesn’t it? In fact, yes. For anxiety management in general, having a routine has a very positive impact on the person. It allows you to decrease the activation since it decreases the uncertainty of knowing what the next step will be during each workday. Over the days, this routine will become an integral part of your daily functioning. 

Remember that it is normal to have a certain level of anxiety

This task of implementing strategies to manage your anxiety cannot lead to a misconception that it is best not to feel anxiety at all. It is not! Anxiety, like other level reactions, will always appear with some intensity, and the important thing is to monitor how long the anxiety is lasting. 

You’ve been at your new job for three weeks and you’re feeling even more anxious, or the same as when you first started. Although this is not so likely, it could happen, and it’s best to pay attention. If you’re still experiencing anxiety after this time, the most pertinent thing to do would be to get an assessment consultation with a specialist, to see if there might be an anxiety disorder. 

Conclusion 

New job anxiety is a common reaction to starting a new job. Most people experience it under such circumstances. It is important to remember that this is completely normal and that there are some strategies for handling it properly, and without creating too much dysfunction. 

On the other hand, it is important to remember that you should consult a specialist if after two to three weeks you still feel the same anxiety at work. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about new job anxiety

How do I overcome anxiety in a new job?

Some of the strategies for managing new job anxiety are: managing physiological symptoms, finding a co-worker you are comfortable with, establishing or starting to establish routines, and allowing yourself a certain level of normal anxiety, 

What happens on the first day of a new job?

These are some of the things you should do on the first day of work: be prepared and ask questions as needed, arrive early and on time, explore the social landscape of the organization a bit, try to relax, be nice to other people. 

Why am I scared of getting a job?

It is normal to feel some level of fear or anxiety about the possibility or the fact of being in a new job. However, this reaction should lessen after about two weeks. If not, you should seek help from a specialist. 

How do I feel confident at a new job?

Some ways to feel confident in the job you have just started are: try to be relaxed, avoid tension will be the best option, read what you are feeling and try to handle it according to the context, remember why you are there and that you deserve it, trust that the process will help you to know what to do. 

What is a good job for someone with anxiety?

Some options are the following: working with animals, working as a writer, computer programmer, accountant, chef, consultant, among others. 


Recommended resources

  1. Anxiety: Panicking about Panic: A powerful, self-help guide for those suffering from an Anxiety or Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks, Panic Attack Book)
  2. Breathe: simple breathing techniques for a calmer, happier life
  3. Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry

References

  1. 6 Ways To Deal With New-Job Anxiety, According To Experts
  2. Dealing With Worry and Anxiety
  3. Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

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