Category Archives: Handling Stress

new job frights

How to Keep a New Job from Freaking You Out!

new job frightsThere is a common stereotype that starting a new job should be a joyous and exciting time, so you may be surprised when you find yourself feeling very anxious over the change.

In reality, experts say that it’s normal to be anxious over a new job, a move or any other big life change. This is because people tend to like routine and take a while to adjust to any kind of disruption – even if the disruption is supposed to be good.

Anxiety can show itself in many ways. Some common manifestations include feelings of physical weakness, a racing heart, sweating, chills, a feverish feeling, shaking hands and other such symptoms. Mentally, you may feel like you’re on pins and needles, generally out of it, or jumpy.

You may also experience a surprising apathy. Apathy in this case is a subconscious psychological defense against the stressful situation.

Whenever I start a new job, there’s no denying that I’m anxious. I sweat, yet feel cold at the same time. I also am visibly jumpy and every little noise can make me leap up. So far, I’ve found that the best way to handle it is to focus on the tasks at hand, including learning anything new that the job requires.

I also avoid drinking too much coffee or smoking too much. Caffeine is especially known for causing the jitters, so it certainly isn’t something to add to an already-stressful situation.

These aren’t the only tricks for dealing with the apprehension of starting a new position. Here are some more tips for making the transition as smooth as possible:

  1. Ask for help with any unfamiliar technology you encounter. Many older workers think they won’t be able to master newly computerized systems or other modern equipment. With the proper help, these mysterious machines become familiar and easy to use. One example is the installation of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) in trucks. Drivers used to old-fashioned paper logs tend to balk at first, but many begin to prefer the new machines after being shown how the devices work.
  2. Focus on doing a good job. Remember that above all else, your employer hired you to do a good job. Instead of trying to learn every nuance of the company within the first few days, start with mastering your main duties. Don’t go overboard, though – obsessive worrying will only increase your stress levels and decrease your actual performance.
  3. Make friends. When you start a new job, old employees will often do their best to welcome you in. Go ahead and accept invitations to lunch or the bar. In most cases, people will only try to welcome you in once or twice. Grab the opportunity while it’s there.
  4. Maintain your usual routines. If you’ve been unemployed and start working again, obviously you’ll have to give up some routines – but that doesn’t mean that you have to turn your life upside down. If you have habits like reading before bed or always having a bagel for breakfast, keep doing them. This will help keep you from feeling completely adrift.

The final thing to remember is that the anxiety of a new job wears off quickly. Within a couple of weeks, the new routine should start to feel familiar and comfortable. One of the best ways to calm your fears is just to remind yourself that you’ll soon be through this tough transition stage.

disappointing first job

3 Tips for Dealing With a Disappointing First Job

disappointing first job

During our final years as college students, most of us have big dreams for our futures. Of course we do. This is exactly how we are supposed to feel. The college experience is all about carving out interests and gaining an education in an area that will help you set out toward your dream career.

But, all these hopes can quickly become deflated if your first job straight out of school is the exact opposite of what you truly want to be doing. Maybe the company you work for is in a field you dislike, your boss is a dweeb, your co-workers are zombies, or you find yourself stuck in a pointless position.

Even if you try to make the best of it, it can be difficult to feel hopeful for the future and it’s easy to slip into disappointment about life in general. But, there is no reason to go through your days completely downtrodden at work. After all, you have to be there, at least for now.

Here are a few ways to change your perspective and keep working to do what you really love:

Figure out what you don’t want.

Even if this job provides you nothing in line with what you do want for your career, at least it’s a great way to sort out exactly what you don’t want. There is sometimes much deeper going on if you feel intense dissatisfaction with your current job. We all know that we will have to do some things we don’t really like until we move on to more authentic positions.

But, if you are truly unhappy on a daily basis, then it’s a good idea to do some soul searching and figure out what, specifically, makes you so unhappy with your job. Is it because you haven’t done anything on your own to find a way to the next part of your career? Is it because you don’t like the way the company is managed? Do you find the environment disrespectful or not accepting of the type of person you are? No matter what the causes, outlining them will do you some good the next time you search for another job and help you become clearer about what you really want.

Find co-workers who share your ambitions.

No matter where you work, there will always be at least a few people you can reach out to for support and camaraderie. Even if you’re stuck in a field where you don’t belong, there are sure to be co-workers who feel the same way or have aspirations to leave and do something more closely related to their desired career path.  Instead of completely isolating yourself, use this as an opportunity to connect with like-minded people. Or, at least, try to find a few colleagues who will make the day go by a little more quickly.

Who knows, you may even connect with peers who are interested in going into the same fields or starting new business ventures. Plenty of success stories have developed because two people met in a company they both were dying to leave.

Know that this is temporary.

In the end, the best way to deal with a disappointing first job is to keep telling yourself that it is temporary. You may not be able to find a new position as quickly as you would like, and it may take you longer than you had imagined to establish your career in other areas before being able to branch out, but always know that if there is a will there is a way. Try to use this part of your life as motivation to continue working toward your own goals. You may spend the majority of your time at the office, but the rest of your time is your own. Use it as a means to advance your career path and reach your dreams.

About the Author:

Patricia Garza is freelance writer and blogger for many sites, including Oedb.org. She contributes research and expertise on college accreditation to Oedb.org, and she is passionate about helping students discover the right educational program for them. She also writes about trends in education and personal finance. Please leave comments for Patricia below.

90-10 Principle

The Secret to a Happy Day – 90/10 Principle

90-10 Principle

What is the secret to a happy day?

The other day I was reading an article from Stephen Covey. In this article he had explained a principle called as the 90/10 principle. This is what he had to say about the principle -

10% of life is made up of what happens to you, ……90% of life is decided by how you react……

What exactly does this mean?

It simple means that you do not have control over 10% of what happens to you. The remaining 90% is different and this is very much in our control.

There is no rocket science to happiness. It is a simple decision on your part – to be happy or, not. We are always given 2 choices of reacting to a particular situation. Whether we will be happy or, not is decided by the choice that we pick. This principle was a beautiful explanation to this concept.

Did you ever have control over a cup of coffee spilling onto your shirt, a pedestrian jumping across you vehicle or, the printer cartridge printing unclear all of a sudden? Not really, isn’t it? But how you react to this situation is something that you have complete control over.

The key to getting this 90% right is to maintain your composure, be calm, smile and just move on. In doing that you give a pleasant approach to the others and they too tend to forget the frustration and dissatisfaction that they are surrounded with and in turn makes a happy day for them too.

The first thing to in all such situations where you would have shouted at or, yelled at, is to remain calm and composed. Stephen Covey explains this with a beautiful example -

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just what happened. What happens when the next will be determined by how you react.You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over.

She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work.

You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home, When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning. Why did you have a bad day?

  1. Did the coffee cause it?
  2. Did your daughter cause it?
  3. Did the policeman cause it?
  4. Did you cause it?

The answer is “4″.

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day. Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, “It’s ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time”. Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

The application of this 90/10 principle at work is also very effective. More often that not, the stress and tension that you feel at work is because of the choice of the wrong way of reacting to a situation. At such otherwise stressful situations like a loss of job, application of the 90/10 principle to put your energy into constructive things could help you handle the situation much better.

Photograph courtesy Crystal Leigh Shearin