Landing a New Job Can Be…Stressful

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“You’re hired.”

For professionals who have been treading water in the unemployment pool, one would think those words would resonate as loudly as “you’ve just won the lottery.” For some people, however, finding a new job can be bittersweet. The pressures of exceeding new employers’ expectations, coupled with the fear of being laid off again, weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of some.

An article in the Wall Street Journal by Joann S. Lublin, spotlighted this growing phenomenon.
“Persistent ill effects [of being unemployed] include damaged self-esteem, fears about repeating job mistakes, concentration difficulties and insomnia,” writes Lublin.

The author cites the amount of time that many professionals are out of work as being a major factor to the new job jitters. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average duration of unemployment lasts nearly five months, and has since October, 2009 – “the highest level since the department commenced tracking it in 1967”, notes Lubin.

For Kathy Robinson, founder of TurningPoint, a career counseling service, anxiety associated with a new job is certainly not new. “Many people taking a new role do often feel an added pressure to perform well in their first few months, since the sting of being laid off previously may still feel fresh in their thinking”, says Robinson.

Given, the struggling economy, this pressure is exacerbated. And Robinson points to another factor that is contributing to employees’ new job stress: contract jobs outnumbering “permanent” opportunities. As the economy sputters to get back on track, workers are taking contract assignments, rather than waiting to land a direct position with a company.

“Many people who take contract jobs … worry that the contract will end, so they have the added stress of continuing to keep up their job search while performing their new job,” Robinson says.

Lubin’s Wall Street Journal article does offer some suggestions for dealing with this new employment anxiety.

• Remind yourself of what you can offer a company
• Recite your five biggest accomplishments in your career and allow yourself to relive those moments
• Steer yourself away from dwelling on your layoff and concentrate on what you can do for your new employer
• Create a 100-day plan of what you want to achieve in your job
• Investigate whether or not your new employer has a mentoring program

By employing these techniques, new employees can focus on the job at hand and celebrate being part of the workforce again.

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