Dear Life Matters,
I recently accepted a job offer and will be starting next week. While I was initially excited about the opportunity, I am now completely terrified. I am sad to leave the comforts of my current job and the relationships I have built with my colleagues. This became especially apparent during the recent going-away party that was held at the office. I know that it is too late to change my mind, but I am not sure how to get over the feeling that I made a mistake to leave my current job.
Dear Moving Forward,
Accepting a new job can often be filled with a variety of emotions and feelings. On some level it is exciting that you’ll have a new opportunity to gain skills, expand your network and expertise, and the general energy that comes from something new. On the other hand it can be a time filled with anxiety over whether you made the right decision, whether you’ll be as successful at the new job as you have been in your current role, and whether the people you’ll work with are as nice as they seemed during the recruitment process.
This process tends to be especially difficult because you are comparing the known elements of your current position with the unknown elements of your next gig. It is the unknown that often creates fear and anxiety. The feelings you are having are completely normal and a number of professionals experience some level of anxiety as they prepare for something new. The important thing to consider is that you work on adjusting your outlook so you can start your new role relaxed, refocused and ready to accept whatever the next phase has in store.
Start by reflecting on what pushed you to apply for the job in the first place. It is likely that there was something about the company, job description, or environment that drew you to the position. Write down the positive aspects of the position, responsibilities, advancement opportunities, company and other attractive features of the new role. Compare each of these elements to what your current position offered, or did not offer.
While preparing for a departure can be a time-intensive process, it is different from the ongoing pressures of managing long-term projects and deliverables. Oftentimes the relief of knowing that you have just a few days or weeks in a position can free you from the feelings of stress of an intense job. In this case you may be thinking of how work feels in this state of relief instead of how work feels during periods of intense pressure and stress. This may be further extended by the celebrations happening within the workplace. Job departures often provide an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of a particular individual. It is likely that others are sharing comments about their positive experiences working with you, which can be a very gratifying experience.
Leaving a position on an emotional high of recognition and camaraderie can feel as though you are leaving a really good situation for something that is unknown. Think back to your first day in your current role and know that it is natural to feel a little nervous as you adjust to a new position, company and new people. However, over time you developed strong relationships with your colleagues, you succeeded at work and you eventually reached a point where you were ready for the next position. Trust that your hard work will continue to help you achieve great success in your new environment.
As you get ready for next week focus on your accomplishments. Use the comments that others have been sharing during parties and celebrations as acknowledgment for a job well done. These qualities and actions are exactly why the new company hired you. Trust that their hiring process selected the very best candidate for the position and that you will meet, if not exceed, their expectations. Walking in the first day with the confidence that you can do the job, and do it well, will help you start off on the right foot.
KATRINA DAVY, M.A., Ed.M, is a professional career counselor who has worked in university and private settings. She holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. Visit her online at www.kdcareer.com. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!