Feeling anxious starting in the workplace
Everybody gets a little bit nervous when starting a new job. It’s totally natural to think you’re going to struggle to fit in or that you’re going to completely fumble your first talk with your boss.
Sometimes it’s a bit more than that, though. Like, I’m talking about the all encompassing anxiety that can take over some of us. When I started mine, I was completely terrified! Like, full body sweats scared for my life. And that’s just not a fair thing to feel, because it’s a time that should be exciting and positive!
You need to be able to depend on yourself in such a professional setting, so here are a few things to remember.
Give Yourself a Break
First things first: you’re new. When you’re just starting, no one expects you to be an expert. You’re not going to be able to do everything perfectly right away, so don’t be too hard on yourself. We all manage to be our own worst critic, but you can make a choice to change the way you talk to yourself. Remind yourself that you’re allowed to make mistakes and that every time you do, you’ll come back from them with a better understanding of your job.
And don’t let yourself compare your abilities to other people. Yes, there are some people out there who can adapt in what seems like seconds, but you have no idea what it takes for them to be able to do that or how many mistakes they’ve already made. Besides, you were hired too, so clearly you’re doing something right.
Impressing your boss and taking initiative is one thing, but don’t go too far. If you’re overworking yourself, you’ll never be able to keep it up and eventually, you’re going to burn out. We can’t be productive all the time. It’s kind of ridiculous to think you have to be working 24/7 constantly achieving something when human beings are made for having downtime!
Embrace Your Differences
Stop comparing yourself to your coworkers and feeling bad for being different. I know that a lot of people, especially when you’re disabled, grow up just wanting to blend in. That was me for a long time, so I get it, but it can be a really harmful way of thinking. Let your differences be a point of pride!
My disability makes me different from everyone else in my office. It gives me limitations that no one else has. But, it also makes me think differently. I’m a creative problem solver, and I’m also quick to volunteer to learn new things because I’m eager to make up for any limitations I feel like I have. One of the great things I’ve learned from the disabled community is the importance of accepting who you are and your abilities. Watching people with a similar background or situation succeeding is super valuable. Things like seeing people valuing the Autistic Identity and the asset it can be in the workplace rather than the narrative you see in mainstream media or seeing women in wheelchairs getting promotions. You are who you are, so embrace it.
Obviously, the same goes for abled people! I have coworkers who have way more confidence than I do and others who are perfect for leadership roles. It’s not like high school, even though it can feel like that some days. Differences can become your assets in a professional setting.
Know What Could Trigger You
If you know the triggers that make you anxious in day to day life normally, you know what to look out for when you’re at work. You’ve probably found ways to work past being triggered by these things when you’re out and about in social settings, and you can put the same methods to good use here.
Have a template for writing important emails and always use this to help you. Leave yourself enough time in the morning to get ready without rushing. Have a backup alarm. All these things can help make the work world lots easier to tackle, so don’t feel bad for using them. You can work with your anxiety over starting a new job! If you start feeling like you can’t, then it might be time to start looking into some new options for managing your mental health.
Starting a new job is scary, but it’s also an incredible opportunity for you. Whether it’s your dream position or company or just a stepping stone, make the best of it and be proud of yourself for getting this far!
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links*