New Job Nerves – Starting a New Job Scares You to Death?

Last week, I had lunch with a friend who is about to start a new job. Wow, you’re thinking – lucky duck. A new job. New pens and a clean desk – what could be better?

Think again. My friend, who hasn’t had a new job in 18 years (!) is terrified! She doubts herself…She wonders if she can really do the job. There are parts of the new job description that she hasn’t actually done before. She wonders if she can really do it. What if she fails?

As exciting as a new job may be, this sentiment isn’t unusual. It’s stressful starting a new job. First-day (first-week!) nerves are common.

Here are some ideas to help you get through your first few days:

Think good thoughts. Many swear by visualization and meditation. Try it out…Close your eyes and visualize yourself as confident and prepared on your first day. Calm negative thoughts. Picture yourself going through the day, enjoying the people and taking it all in.

Now, do the following to help ensure that positive visual image becomes reality!

Plan for the day. Set out your clothing, paperwork, wallet, etc. in advance. Don’t wait to the last minute to decide what your first-day outfit will be…What if your favorite suit needs dry cleaning or your “go to” blouse is too small or missing a button?

Make sure you know how to get where you’re going…In this case, literally, not figuratively. You need to be on time! Do you know the traffic patterns, construction issues and parking dilemmas you may face? There is nothing like being late on your first day to start things off badly.

Get a good night’s sleep. This no-brainer may be more easily said than done. If you’re starting on a Monday, consider doing a lot of physical activity on Sunday that will tire you out.

Make a good impression. You look sharp, you’re on time, you’re pushing open the door and let it slam behind you, ignoring the fact that a man with his hands full is trying to catch the door behind you. “Whatever, he can fend for himself, I’m in a hurry,” you think as you rush to the elevator. Turns out, that man is your new boss. So much for good impressions. Even if you are nervous and jittery, make an effort to be extra polite and thoughtful. It will go a long way to easing your first-week transition.

Smile and be pleasant to everyone you meet. Offer a firm handshake. Appear interested in what they say, even if it bores you or you are tired. If you need a break (maybe you’re an introvert and need to re-energize alone), excuse yourself to the restroom for a quick breather.

Observe office culture. Does everyone go to lunch at the same time? Do they eat together? Don’t be the odd person out. If everyone’s going out to eat pizza, and you don’t like pizza, just quietly get a salad and don’t make an issue of it. You don’t want to appear to be picky or difficult. There will be plenty of time for you to choose the lunch spot later!

Pay attention to names. I’ve written about tips to help you remember names here.

NEVER bad mouth anyone, don’t complain and don’t start taking sides in office politics and gossip. You’re a sponge – just take it all in. If Joe starts trash talking Sue, you remain neutral and make mental notes to help you later.

Stay tuned for tips to help in the longer term!

Wish you were facing new job jitters? Take the plunge and look for a job! Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

photo by susiepie

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1 Response to “New Job Nerves – Starting a New Job Scares You to Death?”


  1. 1 Willard P October 29, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Hi just read your article. For the first time in 20 years,I’m in search of a job. The economic slow down has finally put me in the unemployment line.

    The good news is that I’m fairly positive I’m going to be offered a job in a day or 2. My new employment will be a 180 degree difference in what I’ve done for 20 years. Truthfully, I’m a little nervous about it all is an understatement. An absolute duck out of water.

    Read your article and I find it very helpful Thank you


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