How to Cope in a Stressful New Job
The relief of landing a new job after applying, interviewing, and waiting for a response is a feeling every job hunter dreams about. Knowing that all of your hard work and intensive searching has finally paid off can be a thrill. However, once you start your first day in this new role, you may quickly feel as if you are in over your head. This is a completely normal feeling and happens to many competent people who go on to carve out impressive careers for themselves. You may think that you have made a mistake, and you might even consider quitting before you have truly begun, but stress in a new role is part of the process. Here is a simple guide on how to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the pressure of starting a new job.
What Are the Common Pressures New Employees Face?
There are some stressors that occur during a new employee’s first few weeks that are specific to the industry they work within. However, there are also some that are quite universal and can make initial steps along a career path feel unsteady. A few examples include:
- Social anxiety. Joining a new company or organization often means throwing yourself in at the deep end where you don’t know anyone. Some people find this more challenging than others, depending on their personal approach to social situations and making introductions.
- Not knowing what to do. A good line manager should provide an adequate induction for any new employee at any level. This includes preparing work for the new employee to tackle so they can get a realistic feel for the responsibilities of the role. Any training should be outlined at the beginning to prevent the new starter from feeling left out of the loop.
- Not knowing how systems work. Most companies rely upon digital technology to some extent. There is an overabundance of software used by companies to streamline their processes, and these can often take a while to get the hang of. Even more senior and experienced members of a team can struggle with different company software, so it’s no wonder a new starter would feel bewildered.
- Feeling overconfident. Some new employees might feel that since they’ve successfully landed a job, they are suddenly the solution to the entire organization’s problems. Overconfidence, when it is unfounded, can have many negative side effects, such as complacency and failing to complete tasks effectively.
Only Apply for Roles You Can Fill
It might be tempting when you see an appealing job role to apply for it even when you notice that you are not qualified or don’t have the desired level of experience. Perhaps you believe that you can rise to the challenge on the job and learn the necessary skills as you go. While this isn’t impossible, it is highly unlikely and will probably cause you and your new employer a lot of stress. There is rarely any positive outcome when someone exaggerates their abilities, either on their resumé or during an interview. Ensure you are capable and ready for the responsibilities that a role demands before sending in your application. For example,achieving an MA in education to become a teacher rather than applying to schools with no prior experience will significantly improve your chances of the hiring team inviting you to interview. If you are frequently finding roles that ask for more qualifications or experience than what you can offer, make it a goal to increase your skillset and make yourself more attractive to potential employers. This might involve returning to studies or volunteering somewhere you can gain experience.
Prepare for the Practicalities of Your Morning
If you are finding that a new job is causing you stress, chances are you wake up each morning and dread going to work. This is normal and can be overcome with patience, practice, and organization. Get into the habit of preparing your clothes and necessary items the evening before. This ensures that you won’t be scrambling around for them the next morning and potentially running late.
Focus on Improving Your Sleep
Stress can cause a variety of sleep issues, such as oversleeping or the inability to get enough sleep. This, in turn, can impact your productivity at your new job and exacerbate the problem. If you suffer from stress-related sleep issues, consider this a top priority. High levels of stress negatively impact your sleep, and poor sleep increases stress. There are ways of gaining control over this vicious circle to ease your worries, improve your sleep and help you enjoy your new job. You’d be surprised at how effective a full night of sleep can be when it comes to learning how to work in an unfamiliar role.
Enhance Your Concentration
Being able to absorb the information that a new role requires is a vital skill for any employee. The fact that you are possibly overwhelmed by trying to take in everything at once doesn’t mean that you should give up. Be patient with yourself and recognize that you won’t be able to learn it all instantly. Give yourself time to adjust and take in this new information at your own pace.Pushing yourself past your limits will only cause more stress.
One of the best ways to learn quickly at a new job is to be a good listener. This doesn’t only mean remembering what someone has told you but also being observant and connecting pieces of information to form a coherent concept. Often the stress of starting a new job comes from the lack of knowledge you have about the responsibilities, systems, and techniques, so as you develop your understanding of these elements, you will start to notice a decrease in stress.
If you are gradually gaining confidence with the tasks and processes of your new role, you may still feel the stress of not knowing anyone within the team. Some people are naturally sociable and can strike up a conversation easily, whereas others take time to get to know their peers. Whichever you identify with most, remember that creating connections and forming bonds can be the difference between a stressful and an enjoyable career.