For many there are very few more stressful events than their first day/shift in a new job. The butterflies in the stomach the night before, the self-doubt that creeps in, the desire to hide under the covers and not get out of bed that first morning… Trust me when I say that if you suffer from new job anxiety, you’re not alone!
First day nerves are natural. We’re not machines, we’re living, breathing organisms programmed to crave routine and hate change. They says dogs love a routine, but humans do too. Routine is comfortable, some might say dull, but arriving for your first shift is anything but routine and anything but dull!
But it doesn’t have to be an anxiety fuelled experience my Carrington flock; there are things you can do to minimize those feelings and settle that stomach!
A few nerves are good for you.
When you feel nervous, your heart begins to race a little and the jitters set in. Your palms get a little sweaty. Nervousness triggers the fight or flight response, but if you choose to flee on that first day of work… well that’s not going to end well is it? So stay and fight those nerves; you’ll find that your focus will increase – helping you do a better job and make a better first day impression.
You’re all on the same side.
When you walk in the door, have a positive attitude because it’s not “you against them”. Remember that you’re all on the same side. Nobody expects you to know everything on your first day, how could you? You probably don’t even know where to hang your jacket or purse! No one is out to get you that first day…
They picked you for a reason.
Nobody forced your employer to give you the job! They must have seen something in you that made you the best candidate for the job. The health care job market is competitive, so remember that you probably beat out dozens of other candidates. Take heart and confidence from that…and remember #2 above. You’re all on the same side, and your new boss wants you to succeed as much as you do.
Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.
Your new boss, your new colleagues, they are all human beings. So yes, they might have seniority or be more experienced than you, but they are all just people. They get out of bed, get dressed and come to work just like you. They’re not perfect because everyone has strengths and weaknesses. So don’t make them out to be any better than you. Don’t let self-doubt ruin your first shift performance.
Do your best to relax.
Easier said than done…but if you’ve read the points above then maybe you’ll see it’s possible to calm yourself down. If you arrive at work stressed and on edge, that tension will be clear for everyone to see. Try some breathing exercises to calm yourself. Tension can lead to mistakes. Try to relax. Trust yourself, trust your education, trust their judgment (see #3 above!)
Keep a clear head.
Don’t turn to artificial remedies such as alcohol or sleep aids to calm your nerves, help you sleep, or soothe your stress the night before. You need to be on your game and clear headed in the morning. Your first day at work, your first day in a new career, is something to be savored, not medicated.
Talk to someone.
If we don’t share them, our fears can grow beyond all reasonable proportions. “A problem shared is a problem halved” is a true statement. Turn to friends, family, or ASPIRE for reassurance. Once you talk it out, you’ll realize there’s nothing to be scared of, and you’ll be free to enjoy your first day at work!