Dealing with New Job Jitters

Starting your first day at work is always going to be nerve-wrecking, but there are ways to manage your anxiety.
The gradsingapore Team
Dawn Yip
Writer, gradsingapore
Dealing with New Job Jitters

Getting a new job should be an exciting occasion, especially when you’ve put in so much effort throughout the application process. But once the initial euphoria fades off, you might find yourself tensed up for a different reason as the big day approaches. Although you were initially looking forward to it, you’re now filled with dread and anxiety about what’s to come.

If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone. In fact, a LinkedIn data report found that 80% of professionals feel anxious before starting a new job, with 67% of them finding those feelings intensifying right before their start date.

But what is new job anxiety, and how can you calm yourself before the big day?


Facing new fears

Anxiety is a common reaction when facing something that’s new or different. While the prospect of a new job should be exciting, it can still bring with it a sense of uncertainty. After all, everything is brand new to you, whether it’s your first job or not. For example, you might wonder if you’ll fit in with your colleagues, or what your new boss will be like. It could also be imposter syndrome suddenly kicking in.

Thankfully, these anxieties tend to be short-lived, though how long they linger depends from person to person. While some may be able to better shake it off, others may still feel nervous a few weeks into their new position. Still, managing your anxiety is still possible, and will go a long way in helping you deal with work stress down the line.


Dealing with the stress

While there aren’t any surefire ways to keep the anxiety at bay, there are a few ways to help make it easier to deal with.

1. Find the source, if you can

By looking into what exactly you’re nervous about, it can go a long way to help you find solutions to counter it. For example, if you’re worried about the commute or being late to your first day, you could do a trial run ahead of time to get an idea of how long you’ll take to get there. If you’re concerned about the dress code, try to recall what the other employees were wearing, and base your choices off that.


2. Accept that you won't know everything, but stay open to learning

Remind yourself that as a new hire, no one is going to expect you to know everything you need right off the bat. Don’t act like you do in a bid to impress everyone – it often ends up hurting you more than it helps as people may perceive you as conceited or falsely believe you’re able to deliver and leave you with little guidance.

Instead, you can come prepared with smart questions to ask your supervisor on your first day, and take advantage of any learning resources the company has. This shows your supervisor that you’re not only showing an enthusiasm for the job, but that you’re taking it seriously.


3. Talk it out with someone

There’s nothing wrong with turning to someone else for advice – in fact, they might even have gone through job anxiety themselves! By sharing your concerns with friends and family (or even career coaches), it can help to normalise your worries and make you feel less alone.

Moreover, apart from providing emotional support, they can also help to keep things in perspective and help you stay grounded. For example, they can reaffirm the qualities that got you the job, as well as bring up benefits that you may have forgotten in your anxiety.


4. Reassure yourself

Take a deep breath and calm yourself. Having new job anxiety is perfectly normal, and although you may not feel great now, these feelings will eventually pass with time.

Moreover, give yourself some credit: you were hired by the company for a reason – your capabilities and skills are something they want. It may seem difficult to believe now, but it helps to think back on your most recent achievements to remind yourself why you’re fit for the job.


Like most things in life, although it may seem difficult at first, things will get easier over time. And by staying calm and collected, it’ll be easier for you to make a good impression on your first day. Eventually, you’ll find yourself growing into your new role and settling in.

Being nervous about a new job is something that’s normal, even if you end up changing jobs multiple times in your life. By knowing how to manage through new job anxiety, you’ll be more prepared to handle it if you ever decide to take another step into your career journey.