Feeling apprehensive about a new job? Don’t let nervousness hold you back – here are some ways to help conquer workplace worries
Starting a new job can be exciting. It may be a wonderful chance to do something you enjoy, make new friends, develop your skills, and, at the very least, earn a living.
But, for many of us, the build up to our first day can also come with increased anxiety. A new job means learning new routines, new places, new systems, and meeting new people. We may be nervous about this big change. But there are things we can do to ease that first day anxiety.
Make the first morning of your new job as stress-free as possible by preparing as much as you can in the days before. Little things, like choosing your outfit and deciding what you’ll have for breakfast, means these aren’t decisions you’ll have to worry about on the day.
Most importantly, decide what time you’ll need to leave by planning your journey in advance, giving yourself extra time to suss out the route. As I use public transport to get to work, on my first day in my current job I got a train earlier than I technically needed to, so I wouldn’t be anxious about being late. When I arrived early, I went and got a coffee in a nearby café and read a book for half an hour – a calming start to the day.
Read the job description
One of the main anxieties I have before starting a new job is worrying what the day-to-day routine will be like. Have a read through the job description from when you first applied for the role to jog your memory about the specifics of the job. It can also be worth having a look online, and reading blogs and articles by people who work in similar roles, to get more of an insight, especially if you’re new to this area of work.
It’s likely that on your first day you’ll meet your new line manager, so have a think in advance about any questions you might have for them about the role and the workplace.
Realise your skills
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are a fraud in your success, and can crop up at times when we’re growing, like taking a step up the career ladder.
Remember, though, that you went through a recruitment process to get here. Your new employer will have seen your potential to flourish in this job.
Think of evidence that demonstrates to you that you’re capable – like past achievements and positive feedback you’ve received. If this job is stretching your skills, try turning your anxiety into excitement: this is a chance to grow professionally. Accept there will be things you need to learn in your new job, and know that it’s perfectly fine – and expected – that you will need to ask questions as you settle in.
It can take time to work out the office culture, so go with the flow a bit on your first day
Mixing with colleagues
Most of us have been there, being paraded around the office as you’re introduced to a whole host of people while you try, and fail, to remember everyone’s names. Come prepared to be friendly and open, and accept that you will forget your new colleagues’ names and roles – don’t worry about asking for a reminder!
It can take time to work out the office culture, so go with the flow a bit on your first day. Get to know people, asking about the workplace and their role. This will not only help you understand your new surroundings, it’ll help you get conversations started. If the opportunity for a team lunch or after-work drinks comes up, take it – it’ll be a perfect opportunity to get to know everyone better.
Disclosing a mental health condition
According to the charity Mind, one in six UK workers experience poor mental health. If you have a diagnosed mental health problem, starting a new job comes with additional worries about whether you should tell your employer. Most people with a long-term mental illness are protected under the Equality Act. This means your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for you, which could include regular breaks, time off for medical appointments, or flexible working.
I tend to bring up my mental health condition in an initial meeting with my line manager: “Just to make you aware, I have anxiety and depression.” This almost always prompts them to ask what will help me.
In the run up to your first day, think about whether you want to disclose, and what support may help. We’re at work for so much of our time, it’s worth doing whatever we can to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
For more information on career coaching, or to find a coach who can help, visit lifecoach-directory.org.uk