‘First job’ anxiety

I’ve just landed my dream job… but how can I stop the ‘what-ifs’ and the dread?

You are not alone, says our elder. Think positive!

Dear EWC

Hi! I’m hoping to get some advice, or maybe just some encouragement, about a big life change I’m about to go through. Basically, I start my first real “big girl” job next week, and I can’t seem to shake feelings of dread and anxiety about it. I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety in the past, and up until recently, I’ve allowed fear to dictate my path in life. At the start of the year, I realized that enough was enough. I made a resolution to overcome the fears that were stagnating my professional goals. Since anxiety has been a lifelong battle (I’m 22), I’ve acquired some excellent tools to overcoming anxiety and getting through situations that would normally debilitate me. The problem is, this is the biggest chance I’ve taken in a while. If you had told me a year ago that I would be starting a new job in a field I’m interested in all the way in New York City, I would have thought you were talking about a bolder, braver person! But now that the day is almost here, I feel that same debilitating fear taking hold again. I just can’t shake this feeling of dread, no matter how many anxiety-busting tools I use to combat it. I feel dread about so many different things: The long commute to work each day, the people I’ll work with, my bosses liking me, doing a good job, being a good employee, the expense of the commute, the long work hours as opposed to the hours I worked when I worked part-time in retail… I’m worried that I’m in over my head, that I’m fooling myself into thinking I can do this. What if I’m not smart enough, what if I’m not tough enough, what if I’m not brave enough? What can I do to stop the ‘what-ifs’, and to stop the dread?

Lawry replies

You are not alone. Even though you have dealt with anxiety in the past, it is very common to experience it when you are starting something brand new, like a ‘first “big girl” job.’ I can remember when I started a big new job on Wall Street in New York. I had never lived in such a big city and I had never lived by myself and I was worried about the job, too. I had no experience with the work in a brokerage firm. My background was child development.
You interviewed for the job and you got it and you got it because the person interviewing you felt you were the best candidate for the job. They wouldn’t have hired you if they had questions about whether or not you could be successful in the job. So they have faith in you and you just need to have faith in yourself. Once you get through that first day you will be fine. I am certain you are going to do a great job and will be a big success.

One tool that I have used to help me get into a positive frame of mind when I have concerns in my life is to keep a gratitude journal. Every night before I go to sleep, I write down three things in my journal that I am grateful for that day. It can be as simple as someone holding open a door for you, a good meal, someone letting you go in front of them in the grocery store line, etc. It’s OK to repeat things, for instance, a few times a week I might write down the great meal my husband made. It’s a great way to fall asleep thinking of positive things instead of worrying.

I hope that this has been helpful to you, and I wish you a great deal of luck as you start this new job. Think positive. I am a great believer in that.

I would love to hear how things work out for you. I’ll be thinking of you.

Letter #: 443366
Category: Career

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