Coping with a New Job: How to Overcome First Day Jitters

More than half of Singaporean workers are thinking of changing jobs in 2024, in a LinkedIn study that was conducted last year. There are many reasons why one may consider a jump: better pay, better career prospects, better work environment, or just the desire to try something new. Whatever it may be (and, perhaps, no matter how bad one’s current work circumstances are), it can always be nerve-wrecking to start afresh in a new place.

First day jitters are entirely understandable – even if it does make us feel like it’s the first day of school all over again, wondering about the friends we’ll meet and whether classes will be hard. In this article, we look at the reasons behind workplace anxiety, and how we can overcome this worry to establish ourselves in our new office.

Reasons for New Job Anxiety for Fresh Employees

ASB First Day 1

Getting nervous on your first day of work – or even up till the first month on a new job – is a perfectly normal reaction. After all, we’re starting anew in an unfamiliar environment; and this can hit especially hard, if we also had close relationships with our ex-colleagues.

Understanding the source of our anxiousness and worry is the first step towards overcoming them. These are several common reasons for that queasiness we’re feeling on the first day of work.

Worry about the Unknown

According to a poll by Monster, 87% of respondents shared that they had first day jitters when they joined a new workplace. A factor that keeps coming up is because of our fear of the unknown. 

No matter how much research we would have done on the company, or how much we would have prepared, changing jobs is a huge risk to us. We don’t know what to expect nor whether we would thrive in our new workplace; and you may even be second-guessing your decision, whether you should have remained at your old place. All that what ifs and I don’t knows can make for a nerve-wrecking time indeed.

Imposter’s Syndrome

During job interviews, we’re expected to present our best selves, and to demonstrate how great we are for the role. However, once the glamour of the job offer wears off, we may suddenly start worrying about whether we really are good for the role. 

Imposter’s syndrome arises when we start to doubt our abilities and skills, and question whether we should hold the job we have. This is common amongst individuals who may have jumped to a higher position in their new office. These insecurities can intensify any existing anxieties you already have about starting work.

Tips to Overcome First Day Jitters

While there’s nothing wrong with having first day jitters, it can affect your performance at work; and end up causing a downward spiral in your mental health. These are a few strategies that you can employ to manage your new job anxiety, so that you can start thriving in your new role (like you were meant to do!).

ASB First Day 3

Remind Yourself of Your Strengths

Imposter’s syndrome may hit hard during your first few months, especially when you’re still trying to figure everything out. Take moments in the day to reassure yourself of your strengths and remind yourself of what you have achieved so far. 

After all, you didn’t just walk into the office and get the job immediately – you got the role because you put in the hours developing your competencies, and your new bosses had recognised that potential and capability within you. Trust in the abilities that you already have, which you’d demonstrated time and time again; and believe in the strengths that you possess.

Establish a Routine

A reason for our anxiety is not knowing what to expect; and one way to combat this is by quickly establishing a workplace routine that we can fall into and rely on. It could be something as simple as having breakfast at home before coming in, or organising your workday so that you can complete all your administrative tasks in the morning.

It doesn’t have to be a strict schedule that you must comply with. Rather, the purpose of having a routine is just to center you when you’re coming into work, allowing you to know what to expect. 

Build Your Network

Humans are social creatures; and we need that positive interaction to feel comfortable. Make an effort to reach out to your new colleagues by inviting them to a morning coffee or going out for lunch. The faster you establish social relationships in the office, the faster you’ll feel like you’re settling into the new environment.

You can also connect with other new employees who’d joined the organisation at the same time as you, such as the people you meet during your orientation. It’s likely that they’re feeling equally nervous, and they’re probably looking for friends to connect with too.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

When we’re starting work at a new place, we may be overwhelmed by the amount of things that we don’t know. We may even feel embarrassed that we’re asking so many questions, especially compared to our seasoned colleagues. However, it’s impossible to be perfect and to know everything. 

Embrace a growth mindset and give yourself the grace and permission to fail. Instead of seeing mistakes as a blemish on your record, frame them as opportunities to learn and grow. This alleviates unnecessary mental pressure on yourself; and also helps you develop a positive attitude towards new challenges.

Give Yourself Time

Lastly, give yourself some time to settle in. It can be tempting to compare yourself to your new colleagues, and find fault in the difference in your capabilities; but it’s a false comparison. Be kind to yourself and try to avoid doing negative self-talk, especially if you’ve made a mistake. You got this job for a reason, and you’re going to do well! 


First day jitters typically go away after the first few months of your job. If you’re feeling anxiety about work for a prolonged period, you may want to get support from a mental health professional. Connect with us on the challenges you’re facing, and let us support you with what you need.



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