If you’re about to enter the workforce and find yourself nervous about integrating into an office environment, the best countermeasure for that growing anxiety is to convert it into motivation. No career path is without its own challenges, especially at the start, and we’ve rounded up several ways you can channel your new job jitters into effectively conquering them.
1. Your Books Didn’t Prepare You For This
The books can only teach you so much. Even after memorising all that knowledge from your lectures, you may soon realise that your actual workload feels way more difficult than any test or exam you’ve ever sat for in school. Although that’s normal, it can still make you feel unprepared and really small. We’d say save yourself the extra stress of fretting, and focus on absorbing whatever new knowledge you can acquire as you complete your tasks at work. With practise, you’re going to be able to get better at your job.
2. More Work, Less Time
Juggling various subjects in school may have seemed like a tiring task, but when you’re thrown into the workforce, sometimes you realise it’s the exact same situation right here. In fact, certain industries require you to juggle more than you ever did in school. Don’t panic, because that’s not going to help you move faster. Instead, create a to-do list so you’ll feel more organised, and work on completing each task one by one. Ticking them off your list also makes you more confident and motivated to complete the next one.
3. An Overwhelming Culture Shock
Unlike the classroom, office environments can at times be a little more intense and hostile. You may find yourself flustering over looming deadlines while trying to effectively work with various different personalities all at the same time. Office politics can also begin to emotionally affect and drain you. Try making work friends that you feel comfortable with who can provide relief from work stress as you lunch together or head out to drinks after knocking off. Also, it’s important that you leave the work-related emotional stress at the office, and once you’re out the door you simply focus on your own personal life.
4. Fitting In When You’re The Newbie
It’s common to worry about not being able to blend in at a new workplace. The initial couple of months may feel awkward when you’re still trying to find your bearings and fit in with the team. A good attitude goes a long way though, so be respectful to colleagues, and they’ll start warming up to you. Use group projects as opportunities to get to know them better by striking conversations and building trust. Your opinion may not feel like it’s being heard as much at meetings, but do note that it takes awhile for team members to trust your ideas. Be patient, and go to them for discussions or advice so they know you do put serious thought into your suggestions, and are more likely to be open to them.
5. There’s Going To Be Criticism At Some Point
Your higher-ups may not be as patient or as soft as your professors at school, but it’s essential that you do not let that break you down. Constructive criticism is common at work, and the positive thing to do would be acknowledging it and figuring out how to do better the next time. However, if you find yourself getting criticised unfairly or in a rude manner, do know that there are people you can talk to if someone is intentionally putting you down. Turn to teammates, supervisors or human resource personnel if you require any help.
All in all, starting your career journey can feel immensely daunting at the beginning, but things will start falling in place sooner or later — so don’t overthink things too much and just enjoy the process of learning and growing at your first job!