Overwhelmed at Your New Job? 3 Things That Will Help (Big Time)

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Whether it’s your first job or your fifth, the first few weeks of a new job can be completely overwhelming. Not only do you have to get used to a new team and boss, but you’re suddenly inundated with a whole slew of projects and assignments

When the job offer is signed and your start date is set, you can finally relax. You made it through the resumes, cover letters, interviews, and negotiations—the hard part is over!

Until your first day.

Whether it’s your first job or your fifth, the first few weeks of a new job can be completely overwhelming. Not only do you have to get used to a new team and boss, but you’re suddenly inundated with a whole slew of projects and assignments—and sometimes, with little to no training or guidance.

I recently made a big switch in my career—from management to marketing—and that feeling came sweeping over me like a tidal wave. All of a sudden, I had a list full of more projects than I thought I could possibly handle, with absolutely no on-the-job training. It was simply do or die. And I was bent on proving myself in my new role. As the hours become longer and the pressure more intense, I was on the verge of quitting.

A new job—whether it’s your very first out of college or a mid-career switch—can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn and an undeniable pressure to perform. As I learned to navigate my new role, there were a few pieces of advice I had to tell myself again and again. And you know what? They helped—and they might help you, too.

1. That Uncomfortable Feeling? It’s a Good Thing

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You know what was really easy? My last job. I knew exactly what would happen each day, how to complete each assignment, and how to work with my boss and team. I sat down in my cube at 8:30 AM and left exactly at 5:30. It was a breeze. And I hated it.

Fast forward to my new job. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was lost in a cloud of unfamiliar marketing jargon and processes. I’d get one assignment that was due in an hour, then immediately get two more that were due in 30 minutes—and had no idea how to start any of them. And, well, I hated it—in a different way.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like my new job responsibilities—I actually did. But I hadn’t struggled like this in a long time. My complacency had gotten me stuck in a rut where I wasn’t growing or feeling challenged.

According to career coach Steve Errey, “Discomfort means that you’re out there exploring. It means you’re in a place you haven’t been before; maybe you’re learning a skill for the first time that makes you feel clumsy or incompetent.”

It was true. No matter how much I was struggling in my new role, I knew I was growing infinitely more than I had been in my previous position. And I knew that, in the long run, that was a good thing.

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