3 Tips For When You’re Nervous About Your New Job

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Get The Job, Guides - 2 years ago

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The first day of any new job is often one of the worst, if not just the worst outright.

There’s so much to learn in such a short amount of time that it can be quick for you to become overwhelmed — even before you go in for work yet.

In addition to doing the work itself, you have to learn about a whole new office ecosystem — the physical space itself, the personal connections within it, the routines that have been created without you in mind — and figure out how you fit into everything.

Needless to say, this is kind of a tall order, especially if you haven’t ever had a real job before.

Fortunately, your friends here at Zippia have put together a few tips to help you figure out exactly how to manage your new responsibilities in this stressful period of your life.


1. What’s So Nerve-Wracking About a New Job?

Introverts out there are certainly imploding on sight at the question in the title of this section, but there are some people out there who truly don’t see what the big deal is when it comes to working some place new.

People like this — extroverts, typically — love the chance to put themselves in new situations, challenge themselves, meet new people, and explore their own capabilities by utilizing those skills in the context of a different job or company.

We hate these people. They are of the devil.

“Oh, nice, I love being in a new place with no one I know and having to make brand new connections while quickly learning skills that are utterly foreign to me.” — A Confident, Beautiful Idiot Somewhere Out in the World

Thankfully, most people out there experience at least some trepidation when it comes to a new work situation, so odds are you’ll meet at least one person out there who can sympathize with your nervousness.

The fact is that a new job always comes with a host of new variables that can make any sense of comfort feel incredibly remote. All that stuff you either learned at your last job, or have been slowly putting together in theory during your time at school? All of a sudden, you have to figure out how to make it useful in a very real way, in a career that odds are you know very little about.

And in the event that your new job functions relatively (or even completely) similarly to your last one, you’re still in a brand new company with brand new people, and it’s essential that you (quickly) figure out how things work here.

But to do that, you’ve got to be clear-eyed, calm, and not so paralyzed by nervousness that you’re incapable of getting used to your new job.

2. What You Can Do to Calm Down Before Going Into Your New Job

This article assumes that you’ve already got your new job in the bag — that means you applied for it, interviewed, were made an offer, and accepted.

After all, once you’ve got all that done is when the nerves usually set in. You’ve made your pitch at this point on your own behalf — now comes the time when you have to follow through.

So how do you remain calm once you’ve put yourself into this situation?

It all starts with what you do in the days leading up to your start date, all the way up to what kind of morning you have before you go in to work on your first day.

Here are some things you can do in the time leading up to your first day to help you shake off your nerves:

  • Not technically a morning thing, but make sure you got some sleep the night before. Take a sleep aid if you’re having trouble getting sleep on your own, or if you know you have trouble falling asleep normally. It’s critical that you be as rested as possible on your first day.
  • Wake up early. If you’re stressed and are having trouble sleeping, this might be a decision your body makes on your behalf, but either way it’s good to have some extra time in the morning before you go in for your first day.
  • Wear something nice on your first day. It’s ok if you’re a little overdressed compared to the rest of the office. For one thing, it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to office dress codes (you can always dress more casually later on), and for another, you’re more likely to feel confident in yourself during the rest of the day if you’re dressed in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Eat breakfast. Do it, nerd. We know you “don’t normally eat breakfast.” We know you “just don’t feel hungry when you wake up.” We know you might be “too nervous.” Just eat. It is SCIENTIFICALLY better for you to eat breakfast than to not. And make whatever you have is something that’s high in energy and protein — you’ll thank yourself later on as your day attention starts to lag and your stomach starts to growl.

3. What You Can Do to Remain Calm While At Your New Job

Of course, even if you’ve managed to shake off your anticipatory jitters, there’s still the matter of having to work the job itself.

Sometimes the job turns out to be easy enough once you’re in it — the anticipation was the worst part, and now that you’ve started working, everything is A-OK.

Other times, the dozens of different things you end up having to do just to keep up in your new career end up overwhelming you, and you find yourself more stressed out than you’ve ever been in your life.

If this is the case for you, here are a few things you can try to help yourself stay calm once you get to work at your new job:

  • Keep a detailed list of your responsibilities, and execute them one-by-one — starting with the most difficult. Getting that out of the way early on in your first day will help carry you through the rest of your work day, and will give you hope as the day wears on and you find you have only your easier problems left to deal with.
  • Introduce yourself immediately, and reach out to your co-workers early on. Go to some kind of lunch or happy hour with your co-workers as soon as possible. This is something you can schedule (or even do) on your very first day pretty easily, and odds are someone in the office will be willing to take some time out of their day to get to know the newbie. It’ll help you get a feel for the office dynamic, and someone who’s worked there for a bit might have some pointers to help keep you from making common first-time mistakes.
  • Start remembering names early on. You want people to like you, and nothing makes people like you sooner than to learn their name as soon as possible after meeting them. Repeat their name as often as you can while talking to them (without being too weird about it), and if you can, try writing down your coworker’s names somewhere. Even if you throw away the paper, writing things down is proven to help people retain information.

Wrapping Up:

That’s all for this one! Just keep in mind:

Whatever you do, try to manage your expectations.

No one expects you to do perfectly on your first day — being new, there are things you just can’t know.

If nothing else, you’ve got at least a good month or two before anyone starts to judge you personally based on your work performance. Anything before that point, they’re likely to write off as you being a newbie.

You’re expected to pick things up, but in your early days at your new job, there’s no shame in asking for a lot of help. Don’t make others do your own work, obviously, but as far as it goes concerning how to actually DO that work, any question you have is fair game at this point.

Just don’t let yourself fall early on into a hole that you’re never able to dig yourself out of just because you’re too worried or proud to reach out for a little extra assistance.

Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:

3 Tips to Answering the Question “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”
3 Big Tips For Giving Your Boss a Gift
How to Ask for a Promotion in 7 Easy Steps

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