How to Conquer Self-Doubt at Your First Job
You ironed your outfit three days ago. You already packed your bag with a fresh notebook, two brand new pens and a pack of gum. Your shoes have that brand new smell and a polish so bright you can see your reflection. Your scent would make that Old Spice Guy jealous.
But something isn't right. You have a nagging feeling about what you’re about to do. Pangs of fear and nervousness are everywhere. Tomorrow you start your first day at THE JOB.
Here are seven common fears you may have and how to conquer them:
1. You’re not qualified
This is commonly referred to as imposter syndrome, and it plagues millions of people every day. It’s that incessant fear that they — your colleagues, your boss, the CEO — will find out you aren't talented as they thought. And when they discover this, you’ll be excommunicated.
But for what? You are qualified. You resume says so. Your interviewers believed it. The HR department wrote you a formal offer letter saying they wanted you to come work for them. Remember how bad the job market is? That means it’s likely you competed against a slew of candidates. They picked you from all of them for a reason.
Of course you won’t know anything on day one. That’s expected. But if you’re inquisitive, you’ll learn what you need to.
2. Everyone at the office will hate you
You have no statistical or physical evidence to support this claim. When you interviewed, you were vetted not only for your skills, but also for your ability to fit into the company culture and adapt to its nuances. Making friends is hard, but convincing yourself you aren't likeable will make it virtually impossible.
You’re going to have to do a little legwork.
Don't eat lunch at your desk every day. Go to company outings, even if they’re not your thing. Meet people for a drink after work. Schedule coffee with an executive. Join an intramural league with coworkers. Get out of your comfort zone, and watch what happens.
3. You might making mistakes
You most likely will make mistakes. Scratch that. You definitely will make mistakes. You will fail. You will have a project that may get the best of you.
But failure is not the worst thing. In fact, learning from failure is important for cultivating your personal and professional success. Instead of fearing mistakes, accept that they will happen and look for opportunities to learn from them.
4. You’ll hate this job and be stuck there forever
Sometimes getting a job may feel like putting on shackles instead of finding freedom. The 40-hour week many of our parents subscribed too doesn’t quite do it for many of us anymore. Before you get too wrapped up in feeling stuck in any job, remember these two simple truths:
- Every job is temporary.
- Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.
You’ll be working for a long time, but what you define as work -- and what makes you come alive -- is up to you. If your day job doesn't do it for you, start a side hustle. Volunteer. Travel. Do your best with what you have to leverage the opportunities around you. Someone will definitely take notice.
5. You don’t have a mentor to help guide you
Mentors and advocates are crucial to success in any field. Even CEOs have coaches. The trick is to find someone who will advocate on your behalf and with who you’ll form a meaningful and mutually beneficial bond.
Be proactive. You have just as much power in choosing a mentor as you do in being picked as a mentee. Where are you trying to go? How can a mentor help you get there? What do you want to ask them?
6. You won’t stand out among all the other new hires
Being exceptional at your job takes work, but it also takes strategy. Take time to reflect on your quirks, differences and personality. You need a plan to maximize your first six months in your job and prove your ability to leverage your resources.
Figure out what you’re evaluated on and find a way to demolish those metrics. Then go help others beat theirs. Leaders are not simply marked by personal achievement, but also by their ability to elevate everyone around them. Do that, and you’re sure to get recognized.
7. You’ll have no life outside of work
Fortunately, you haven’t been working long enough to declare yourself lifeless. Take a step back. What does your ideal "life" look like? Do you truly want balance, or simply time to do all the things you want in one day?
Most of us want to create actionable and measurable change that affects something. Getting to that point is not an easy journey. You can have a life, but you have to be willing to work to craft it. (Click here to Tweet this thought.)
Now shake out those doubts and walk into the office with your head held high. Your future is waiting.Jonathan Jackson is a 20-something social strategist, writer and thinker. You can find him neck-deep in his Twitter feed or matching top talent to opportunity.