Job Anxiety ~ Meaning, Symptoms & Solutions

Author: Arjun Vishnu Vardhan


You landed the job you worked so hard for; the efforts paid off. LinkedIn feed awaits your “One day to Day One” post. Excitement turns into Realization – Oh, I am actually gonna work there. 

What do I wear? What sorta impression am I planning to set here? What if my commute breaks down? What must I carry to work? What kind of performance and presence am I willing to give from day one? What about my peers? What if it is a male prevalent workplace? How are things gonna be with my seniors? What about the person I am replacing? 

The ‘new job’ experience is a universal experience mixed with agonizing and joyous moments. The fears & anxiety that are set on ‘day one is one very human experience. It’s ok, we all will eventually move on. 

But while we are still dealing with it, Let’s take a step toward clearing our minds off of the job anxiety you or someone you know may face. 

What is Job Anxiety?

If this isn’t your first job, then you know that exact feeling we are discussing here. If not, it is ok to face it.

Getting to the same page:

Anxiety that stems from the change in job/work-related environments causes physical & mental uneasiness.

How do you understand that work is causing this uneasiness and disturbed daily routines? Here are some symptoms:

  • Like most anxiety-related symptoms – Loss of Appetite, Exhaustion (physically & Mentally), increased heart rate, and other such physical symptoms;
  • Imposter syndrome takes over your mind & you become more self-conscious about everything.

How do we overcome this? ‘Prevention is better than cure; hence proactiveness is always a great place to start.

Plan Ahead:

Commute, what to wear, things to care about…these are things that benefit from planning.

Take a few days before ‘Day one’ to familiarize the routes & the modes of transport to your new workplace. A public transport as your Plan B – Bus & Train Stations, estimating your Uber expenses & fares; all are some ways you can be ahead of possible hitches & hurdles.

What did the office people wear on the day you visited the office for the interview? Didn’t catch it? Don’t remember? ASK. Ask for help and ask for attire codes from your HR representative. A lot of our thoughts arise because of not being vocal about problems and proliferating mental blocks.

Are you buying massive backup fog lights for your trek through the woods? Could be overkill if you know your routes well and have decent lights. In a similar sense preparing backups is good, but simply being aware of the potential is sufficient too. Hence, it is important you develop a knowledge of what working like that feels like. This can be done by going through your company’s LinkedIn Page, Glassdoor reviews and other sources. But let not the satisfying filters and corporate language boost your enthusiasm. This is a good place to segue into our next idea.

Curb your enthusiasm. 

“The coffee machine is broken? You don’t get charging ports? You don’t get festive bonuses?? What about regional holidays???

All those things you couldn’t ask during your negotiations pop up from the minute your commute drops you off at work. Expectations build up over time, and the “pay-off” may not be satisfying. How do you not end up in this feeling? Prepare your mind ahead that all that shines is not gold. Read and see what you need to know about the company.

While you are the new hire and you are here to prove a point, break stereotypes, etc.; great storylines take their time to be great. Take your time; understand your role, the people, the life in your new place, and life in general. This is a new move and a new you. Use that enthusiasm to settle and understand, then rush to bring change and achieve better results. Your technical abilities and people management skills need to be recalibrated for this new place and that takes time. Rewire your enthusiasm into curiosity – having open ears and minds towards the new place and its practices.

Scan for clues

Things present themselves when you are open to them. Ask around, talk to people and know how things are done here. It helps to manage the expectations you set for yourself and the people around you.

The 100-Day Plan

Being the ‘President’ of your Life, set your 100 days plan as our Nation-heads do. People usually refer to this as the 30-60-90 days plan method. Plan the things according to how long it would take for you to achieve or accomplish things. These can be physical and objective targets or subjective goals. Having a better rapport with your seniors, learning that new language etc. all these things help you organize your expectations and goals, thereby reducing the stress of not having organized goals.

In the end, know that everybody goes through this, and we all have ways of coping with life. Talk to your loved ones about work; an ear that hears always heals. It is good to remind your mind that people are nicer than what your mind says. So ask for help.

All the best in your new place!