How To Stop Feeling So Nervous About Starting Your New Job
Are you about to start a new job? If so, by now, I’m sure at least some of that initial excitement of being offered the job has worn off and is starting to be replaced by feelings of nervousness or anxiety. Am I right? Well, you’re not alone – even for the most confident of people, starting a new job can be hugely nerve-wracking, and that’s completely normal.
Nerves are the body’s natural response to change and the unknown, dating back thousands of years to a time when most of what humans didn’t know, didn’t understand or couldn’t predict was potentially life-threatening.
However, feeling a sense of nervous anticipation before any pivotal change in our lives is also, to an extent necessary. In the case of starting a new job, for example, a controllable level of nerves can actually help you perform at your best and ensure you make a positive first impression from day one. It’s when those nerves become uncontrollable, however, when they can start to damage your efforts to get yourself off to the smoothest possible start.
Nine ways to keep your new-job nerves in check
So, if you’re worried your new-job nerves are starting to take over, here are a few things that you might want to think about doing in the days and weeks leading up to your first day:
1. Understand that your nervousness will only be temporary
Remember that your nerves will be just a temporary feeling, and in a few days’ time, you’ll probably be wondering to yourself why you were so worried. So instead of fretting, remember all the things that motivated you to take this new job in the first place, including the chance to embark on a new chapter of your life, meet new people and the opportunity to work in a different place and for a new and interesting company. This is definitely a time in your life when you should be feeling excited, rather than dreading what is on the horizon – so don’t let your temporary feelings of worry and nervousness get in the way of that.
2. Stop worrying about how your new colleagues will perceive you
Resist the temptation to put huge pressure on yourself to be perfect from day one, simply because you’re anxious to impress your new colleagues, or think instant perfection is expected. This kind of all-or-nothing thinking is just unrealistic and won’t help you to perform any better in your job in the long run. Instead, accept that it’ll take you a few weeks and months to get up to speed in your new role, and, that no one will expect you to be perfect from day one. Stop worrying so much about how your new colleagues will judge you, and focus your mind on making the best possible first impression you can.
3. Try to approach starting your new job with a growth mindset.
A person with a growth mindset will try to see a new job as an opportunity to learn new things and develop, rather than something to be scared of. So, call a halt to those negative voices in your head. Instead, tell yourself that even if you find your new job difficult to begin with, you will learn and figure it out. You’ve worked hard and deserve this exciting new opportunity. Not only that, but remember that you have tackled and overcome change in your life in a positive way many times before. You’ve had lots of ‘first days’ in the past, so there’s a strong chance that you’ll come through this particular ‘first day’ – and beyond – just as successfully. Adopting a positive, purposeful and forward-looking attitude is central to your efforts to develop a growth mindset and keep your nerves at bay.
4. Keep your imposter syndrome in check
Dispelling those gloomy voices in your head is key to controlling your nerves. So silence those voices in your head which are telling you ‘you’re not good enough’ and reaffirm to yourself that you deserve this opportunity. Remind yourself that you were chosen from many different candidates for this job, because your now-boss recognised the unique skills and experience you could bring to their business. In other words, they want you to be there. That may sound obvious, but it’s an easy thing to lose sight of when you’re nervous. So, stop worrying that you’re not as good as you’ve said you are in interviews, that you’re less capable than your new colleagues, and that one day, and one day soon, you’ll get ‘found out’. Instead, practise those positive affirmations and remember how excited you were when you were offered the job, so that you can bring this positive mindset into your new workplace.
5. Keep things in perspective
Is your mind constantly worrying about a million and one aspects, or ‘what ifs’ of your new job – such as the new commute, your new colleagues or whether you will be able to get to grips with the role? If so, remember that, yes, starting a new job is important, of course it is, but if you think about it, this is just another chapter of your life – and your life will have lots of different chapters, all bringing their own challenges, but you will overcome all of them, and move on to the next. So try to keep things in perspective, this is just another change, and you will soon acclimatise and move on to the next change – that’s life, and your mind will soon be focused on something else.
6. Reach out to your new manager.
It’ll certainly help to calm your nerves if you can proactively start to build a connection and relationship with your new boss before the first day even arrives. So why not send them an email or meet them for a coffee, reiterating how much you’re looking forward to starting your new role? Just getting to know the person who you’ll be accountable to in your new job and discussing with them how you feel they could best help you to be a success, could greatly help to lessen your nerves and fear of the unknown.
7. Plan a fun activity the day before you start
It doesn’t have to be for the whole day, but nonetheless, it could be really helpful for your frame of mind to spend your time doing something fun the day before you start your new job. That could be meeting your friends for lunch, going for a bike ride or even seeing a film at the cinema. Regardless, the idea is to distract your mind from merely focusing on, and worrying about, the fact that you’re starting your new job tomorrow. Exercise can be a really useful thing for managing your nerves too, given that this releases the chemicals in your body known as endorphins, which relieve stress and pain and boost happiness. All in all, do the things that make you feel confident and content, and you’ll likely feel much calmer and readier to take on whatever challenges your first day in your new job may bring you.
8. Talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling
I’m sure you’ve heard of that old saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved” – and it’s true. When you discuss with your friends and loved ones any concerns or worries that you might have in the run-up to your first day in your new job, they will be able to give you useful advice and assist you in keeping things in perspective. This, in turn, will help to ensure you don’t feel too lost, hopeless or trapped inside your own head.
Feeling as prepared as possible will help you feel less nervous and more confident. So, it might sound obvious, but a few days before your first day, plan your outfit, map out your route, research the company and ask your new boss if there’s any reading you could be doing to prepare.
I think the key here isn’t to deny that you are nervous at all, but instead to know how to manage your nerves, so that you can do what you’ll want to do on your first day – make the right impression and deliver your very best work.
I hope the above tips will help you to do just that, so that you can achieve the best possible results in your new job and start this new chapter in your career off on the right foot.
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Alex joined Hays plc in 2008 with a sole aim of launching the operations of the leading global recruitment company on the Russian market. By attracting some of the key people in the industry Hays operations doubled year on year. Currently, we are expanding teams, both in terms of functional recruitment areas (i.e. Accountancy & Finance, Internal IT etc.) and in terms of industry expertise (i.e. Oil & Gas, Resources and Mining). Alex graduated in economics from the Russian State Academy of National Economy. He started his career in 1996 as a Project Executive for an international engineering company. His career in the company developed for over 8 years, and he reached the role of Managing Director of the Russian subsidiary. In 2003 Alex joined a well-known European retailer to launch their operations in Russia. He later began his career in executive search and recruitment with a Pan-European executive search consultancy. Alex has been with Hays for 9 years and is reporting to Managing Director of Northern Central and Eastern Europe.