Why Do I Get Extremely Anxious When Starting A New Job?

Question

Asked by robinM

Why Do I Get Extremely Anxious When Starting A New Job?

I don't understand why this is such a difficult thing for me. I have had new jobs before, always with the same beginning. I want to turn back and go to my last job. I feel lonely and sick and depressed. I wish there was some way to stop feeling like this. Getting lost on the road anywhere creates a similar panic. All I can think of at my new job is that my car keys are in my pocket and I can leave at any time. HELP!!

Answer

Starting a new job is scary. It is normal to feel anxious, most people do - even those who don't have an anxiety disorder. The first day of a new job comes with meeting new people, learning your job, learning what is expected of you and finding out how your new company wants things done. Even when hired for a job you are quite experienced in, a new job brings concerns about fitting in and completing the job correctly. It is normal to want to go back to your old job, even if it was unpleasant. There, at least, you knew what to expect. Here, in your new job, you don't. Your day is filled with uncertainty and that causes anxiety.

There are some things you can do to help yourself when starting a new job:

Remember your relaxation techniques. Take deep breaths, find a quiet place to sit a few minutes and meditate, take a walk at lunch.

Keep in mind no one expects you to be great at your job the first day. No matter what new job you are starting, chances are the people around you are going to be patient and give you time to learn the job.

Focus on your strengths. You were offered this job. Whoever interviewed you believed in your ability to do the job. Think about why you were hired and what skills and strengths you bring to the new job.

Talk to your new coworkers. One of the reasons starting a new job is scary is because you feel alone. You don't yet know anyone. Be pleasant, smile and make conversation, give the people at your new workplace a chance to get to know you.

Remember, this too shall pass. It might take a little time but soon you will know exactly what is expected of you and you will understand all of your responsibilities. Allow yourself time to get acclimated but keep in mind your new job will only be "new" for a little while.

If you can't seem to get past the anxiety, talk with your doctor or consider seeing a therapist to find new ways to manage your anxiety.

For more information:

The Fear of Change

Managing the Stress of Life's Transitions