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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.