This article will tell you is starting a new job stressful, how to consider leaving your job, how to prepare, and how to make sure getting a new job will be worth it.

Gone are the days we’re expected to join one company from school or college and stay there until retirement.

As a culture, the obsession with shiny new things has spilled over into the job market and so we can all expect to change jobs in our lifetimes, maybe even totally changing careers more than once. So when an exciting new opportunity comes along, is it all plain sailing, or is starting a new job stressful? 

In short: yes it’s stressful! Out of the 43 Life Events on the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, 7 of them are related to careers and changes within the workplace: ‘changing to a different line of work’ is number 18, even more stressful than taking on a mortgage. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthwhile pursuit: read on for tips about managing job-changing stress.  

Remember that you’re not alone. Some studies have shown that up to 70% of workers are looking for or thinking about a new job; more realistic estimates put this figure at about 25%. Which is great news, because it means there will be loads of opportunities to consider! 

Pros and Cons: Should You Quit Your Current Job?

should you quit your current job or not

Before you move on, have you considered the 4 Signs Your Job is Too Stressful?

Write down a list of all the things that you dislike about your current job.

The purpose of this is to clarify what you might want from your next position: is the problem the culture, your manager, the workplace – or the job itself? You might be surprised to find that you just needed a vent and that things aren’t too bad after all.  

Likewise, it might strike you that you have just written a checklist of things you’ve never thought to challenge: if you’re dissatisfied with an aspect of your current employment, can it be changed? Have you brought it up with anyone, or have you assumed that ‘things will always be this way’? It might be better to tackle the stresses of your current role than seek a new one.  

Are you assuming, or hoping, that handing in your resignation will get your employer to realize what they’re missing?  Just like threatening to leave your partner in the middle of an argument, this strategy rarely works out as intended. What happens when your company counters your resignation?  

  • If your boss offers you more money to stay: That means there’s more money in the budget than they were paying you, and that they secretly know you were worth more. 
  • If your boss offers you a promotion/more responsibility/flexi-time etc: This shows that this has always been an option, and they’re only giving it to you under pressure. 
  • If you accept their offer, now they know that you’re not as ‘loyal’ as they thought – and if you can’t voice your concerns about your role until you’re about to leave it, are you sure that it’s somewhere that you’d like to stay? 

There are a number of recruitment statistics surrounding counter offers – the most frequently-quoted being that 50% of employees who accept a counter offer will have left within twelve months. So after going through all the stresses of finding a new role and the worry of what choice to make, people may well go through the entire process again within the year.  

Ask yourself: What’s an Ideal Job for You?

whats an ideal job for you

Be honest: yes, most people think their dream job would be reviewing the beaches and hotels of various Caribbean islands. However, not everyone could put up with the loneliness, the constant travel, and all that sand! Take a good look at where your priorities lie. 

Do you want to work for a glamorous new start-up, or is stability more important? Do you value the autonomy of working from home and on the road, or would you miss the companionship of an office environment? Do you prefer the comfort of a big corporate, or making a difference to a small family company?  

And if you don’t precisely know what you want – don’t beat yourself up. It sometimes feels like everyone else knows what they want (and therefore “who they are”) and to compare yourself to that can be stressful. You’re not alone: there won’t be many little kids who said that they wanted to be accountants or business consultants, for example, but you can be happy in a role that you’ve fallen into.  

How to: Make Sure the New Job will be Worth It?

how to make sure new job will not be stressful

Finding a new role can take some time, and depending on your relationship with your current employer, taking time off for interviews can be stressful itself. Look back on that list of reasons you wanted to leave: this can be your manifesto to prevent you from losing your footing as you go.  

Today, many companies are so flooded with applicants that they ask for a lengthy application form or cover letter.

And it’s not as simple as merely submitting a CV and hoping for the best. However, one benefit of this is that you are automatically more selective with your applications – you need to drill down into what you want from your next position, and if this vacancy matches it.

Once you have decided to pursue these applications, it’s time to accept that there will be some unknowns ahead – which can be a source of stress. Remember that interviews are a two-way process to see whether you’re a good fit for each other.

Ask the questions that matter to you and that help you understand their values:  

  • Why did you – the interviewers – choose this company? What is your favorite thing about working for this company? 
  • Can you tell me a little bit about the culture within the company? 
  • If I was successful, what can you tell me about the team I’d be working in? 

Likewise, make sure you have all the documentation that you require to fully understand what is expected of you before you start work (or ideally, before you hand your notice in at your old place). At the very minimum you should have a job description and details of pay, as well as working hours and location. Any uncertainty is always going to be stressful, but if this is all clear you can concentrate on being smiley and relaxed when you start! 

How to: Get Ready for Your First Day at Work

how to prepare for the first day at your new job

First of all, don’t beat yourself up if your role doesn’t ‘click’ straight away: especially if the role is considerably different from something you’ve done before. You can’t expect to know everything right away. 

Even if it’s a very similar job , you might find that each organisation has their own way of doing things. And it’s only natural that you would take time to learn their way of doing things. 

If you’re struggling with certain aspects of the role, remember that you’ve undergone a selection process to be there. You’ve earned this job, and someone thinks that you’re worthy of it. Equally, you have chosen to be there. Remind yourself of why you applied for that role in the first place. 

  • Don’t be afraid to tell people that you’re new. It’s not an excuse, so much as a management of their expectations. Colleagues will be pre-disposed to help you, and clients and customers will understand that you might not know everything straight away. “That’s a great question, I want to be sure I have the right information so I’ll check and get back to you.” 
  • Ask for help. Everyone in the workforce has had the experience of starting a new job – they might have forgotten how stressful it was, but no one will expect you to know how the coffee machine works on the first day. 
  • Foster good relationships – with everyone. Don’t get drawn into gossip or slander, and don’t become it.  
  • Contribute where you can. And lay out your boundaries: if you have commitments outside of work, don’t offer to work late every night because that will become an expectation.  

What if: The New Job Just Doesn’t Work Out?

what if your new job isnt working at out imagined

It’s easy for us to get hung up on “what ifs” that stop us taking the leap into something new. But we need to take chances to progress, because stagnating in the same job without progress will ultimately be just as stressful as taking on a new role.  

There’s a reason why most companies have a three- or six- month probation period: as a rule of thumb, we need three months to get the hang of something, and three months to really excel at it. But because probationary periods are often considered in the terminology of an exam (you pass or fail), it’s easy to forget that instead it is a two-way process of getting to know each other.   

Imagine that you’re “dating” your job: there’s no shame in trying a new partner on for size and it not suiting you. As long as you can go into your next interview with what you LEARNED from each experience, even if it’s ‘what you don’t want’, then it’s not a waste of time.  

So: Is Starting a New Job Stressful? 

is starting a new job too stressful

In a nutshell, yes, starting a new job can be stressful. However, there are a number of steps we can take to address these anxieties.

Remember that the most basic steps reflected here are what works best for most people. Take the time to study the advice in this article and you’ll get a much more clearer picture about the what and how and why.

Change can be rewarding and gratifying! Related: 7 Ways to Reduce Stress in the Workplace

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