How to Deal With Apprehension at a New Job

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Some degree of apprehension is to be expected in any new job. It's a new environment with new colleagues, and you are dealing with tasks and responsibilities you're not yet familiar with. Help reduce your fears and calm your nerves by preparing yourself for your new professional challenge. If apprehension still gets the best of you, remind yourself that every new environment takes some time to get used to.

Prepare yourself for your first day at work in advance. Ask to meet with a few key staffers in your department before you're officially on the clock. Take a tour of the office and learn how to use basic equipment such as phone and computer systems. Using this approach, the environment will feel familiar when you arrive on your first day, which should lessen your anxiety.

Know what you're supposed to do. While the first few days on a new job often involve filling out paperwork, meeting with department heads and learning your way around, have a firm understanding of your job description and what your daily responsibilities look like from day one. This will give you something to focus on, and successfully completing even basic tasks will make you feel more confident.

Have a “go to” person in place. After you're hired, ask if there’s an individual in your department who is knowledgeable and patient and willing to be a contact person while you're getting acclimated. This is the person you can go to when you're not sure how to transfer a call, log onto your virtual schedule, find the coffee in the break room, or use your passkey to get into the supply closet.

Ask your immediate supervisor if you can touch base with him about your performance after a few days. This will help you rest assured that you're performing up to expectations and doing what you're supposed to do. It’s also a time to ask any questions or clarify roles and responsibilities.

Relax. Maintain a healthy routine of getting enough sleep and exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and using relaxation techniques if you need them, like visualization, deep breathing or meditation.


If you don't know something, ask. A lot of apprehension results from being unsure about your role. It's better to clarify responsibilities and get help understanding something you're unfamiliar with than ignore it.