The stress of starting a new job

I recently started a new job. Time has blurred as the days have been long, the work has been ‘different’ and the people have been interesting. I compute that I have been there just on 5 weeks. I’ve read somewhere before that the first 6 months in a new job is one of the most stressful times in people’s lives. I can back up that by saying it’s certainly been a bumpy ride so far.

That’s why I thought I would – with all of my strength – try to come up with a list of what I am appreciative of in this new endeavour.

  • They have coffee machines on every floor that froth milk and automatically make your desired style of coffee (limited to a choice of about 4).

I’ve never had this luxury. Working in the city for 10 years I’d become one of the masses and developed the expensive habit of buying a coffee every day – it was my comfort thing. It used to make my day – I loved going to the coffee shop every day, and when getting to the front of the line, being asked how my day was and being handed my coffee before everyone else. They knew me and they knew just how I liked my coffee. They were also so god damn efficient! I miss that and the smiles.

Now I have a different type of efficiency – a machine that spits out my coffee – almost the way I like it. Plus I now don’t have to pay $4 per cup for it. I actually can’t pay $4 a day unless I stop by a drive-through coffee joint on the way to work (I no longer work in the city). The coffee machines are turning out to be GREAT for my purse strings but bad for my developing reliance on coffee.

  • I no longer work within walking distance of shops that sell clothes, make-up, shoes, dvd’s, cd’s, books, groceries…the list goes on.

There is a corner deli. That’s about it. No temptations. No ‘just ducking out to pick up some toilet paper and soap for home’ and coming back with a new suit. Nothing like that. I can drive about 7 minutes and end up at an old shopping mall – but the choice is just not there, nor is the quality. I may have become a snob? No. I just finally started investing in some decent quality clothes before I left my previous job – so going back to clothes that fall apart after a couple of washes is hard to do. Once again, it’s turning out to be GREAT for my purse strings!

  • I get to drive to and from work by myself.

For something like 5 years Denis and I drove to and from work together. Towards the end, Denis was stressing me out every day as he would get stressed out on the road, and he had developed a bit of a road rage problem – along with everyone else.

I now drive myself to and from work – which is weird! I can listen to whatever I like on the stereo, I can have the air con on as high or low as I want, and I get to work on time, arriving pretty stress free. The unforeseen bonus of this has been that Denis tells me he has been arriving at work less stressed. Hmmmm. One could read many things into that.

For years I avoided it like the plague, and when you work in project management, that is an awesome feat. Don’t get me wrong – I have used it. Its just that I find it annoying, cumbersome and ugly, and I see no point to it other than as another reporting tool that – in more cases than one – is used to display incorrect information in the name of adhering to ‘governance’ requirements.

So, I now need to deal with my nemesis. And really – it’s nowhere near as bad as I had thought.

  • I am also being forced to deal with numbers and finances.

I loathe numbers more than I loathe Microsoft Project and mushrooms. I truly struggle with them. I AM a words person. Its like there is something in my brain that forms a roadblocks every time it is confronted with a spreadsheet full of numbers and formulas.

I now have to deal with the hatred – or I could go as far as calling it a fear, for I have felt sick and stressed out all week due to the thought of having to deal with financial models involving millions of dollars.

I’m now trying to not become so anxious every time I open up a god damn spreadsheet. I actually felt relieved this morning when some concerns I had were validated. I was actually on the right track! So, on Monday morning I will tackle my fear in an attempt to overcome my issues with numbers once and for all.


Image via Wikipedia

  • I learnt this week that I have become stronger.

I had a confrontation with a colleague this week – yes, in week 5, of which I could have just sat there and took, being the new employee, passive and reluctant to get involved and speak up, wanting everyone to like me and to make a name for myself. But I opened my mouth and challenged what my colleague and I were being told to do.

I did succeed in making a name for myself. A few of my work colleagues have now started referring to me – ‘lovingly’ – as the troll who lives under the bridge. I sit just outside their office, so I take it I’m now their guardian who scares people away and prevents them from entering their office? Once upon a time I would have been upset at being called a troll. I now quite like it and joke that I’m going to start doing my hair in the style of those little troll dolls that used to be so popular!

21 thoughts on “The stress of starting a new job

  1. So, I can be cute. (Did you expect anything else?)
    You can always alleviate the stress of a new job by staying with an old one that you hate and deal with that stress, instead (or, if it paid too little, with the stress of penury).
    And, are you sure it was the coffee that provided you with the stimulation or the interaction with the banter with the barrister (which may be worth the $ 4 to some people) or your fellow queue members in your coffee quest? (Social interaction is one of the key factors in alleviating stress.)
    Regarding your Microsoft Project and digital stressors, once you finally decide to master (or at least successfully employ the tools), your ability to monitor and analyze your projects will afford an elation to counter the stress of the education.

    To use a phrase from (the one) team sport I follow- Red means Go! Go, get ’em!

  2. Hi Janine, it’s great that you are keeping a positive attitude. Starting anything is difficult and it’s obvious that it has been challenging but at the same time you are discovering new things about yourself. Hang in there and I am sure things will soon be a piece of cake for you 🙂

  3. I like this.

    A year or so ago after I had orally generated a list of the unfortunate events in my life, a very close friend challenged me to produce a similar list of the good things. In fact, whenever I complain, she is quick to ask “anything good in your life?” Of course, there is. Boat loads. I’m normally good at staying upbeat, but a tug on my chain every so often never hurts.

    Stay positive. The good is always there. We just have to be willing to look.

  4. Love the appreciative attitude, Janine! I can totally identify with the “no temptations” factor. There’s not much to do in Huancayo, so I appreciate the million other things in life instead (that don’t require money to enjoy). =P

  5. Love this post. I work in city and dream about working close to home, driving myself but like you would miss the cafes and shops – pros and cons! Well done for standing up for yourself. I used to collect troll dolls when I was younger 🙂

  6. stress in the first six months of a job. Crikey, no wonder I’ve expereinced so much stress in my life when I think of all the jobs I’ve had LOL. The point is that the best way to grow is to live outside our comfort zones for a while. That’s an interesting testimony. BTW, I also struggle with conflict at work and I too am better at fighting back now than I used to be.

  7. Janine,

    First congrats on the new job! Starting out can be very stressful. Even for me when I pick up a new client I stress..did I forget this or that etc. Coffee…I’m so bad about purchasing coffee that I’m going to literally find a way to STOP and make here!

  8. It looks like you are settling in your new job. Well done! I find the first months really stressful. Good luck with Microsoft Project -I hate it!
    I work close to very nice shops and can totally understand what you are saying. I need to be more reasonable -easier said than done!

  9. Ok…This comes a little late for me :(..I just quit my “new” job.. But quitting made me happier and that is all that mattered!

    And I loved the number and finance point…I have that phobia myself!
    Good luck with the “stress”, your posts reflect the fighter within you, you will do just great!

  10. Hey Janine 🙂
    Great post. I could really relate to it. I told a friend of mine when she asked me about my new job ‘ I don’t know about the job but I love the fact that the office has coffee machines’. I too had (and still have a lil bit of)a phobia for the numbers. I love that you have maintained a positive attitude about the stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t have liked so much. Adjusting properly to a new place and the people requires us to do just that. I’m sure you’ve inspired a lot of people with this post..especially the ones who’ve just started a new job.

  11. Loved the way you described the ups and downs of this new job. Despite your upbeat tone, it does sound stressful, and to have a confrontation in the first weeks and be labeled a “troll” – though you took it very well – doesn’t help. However, on the flip side, I remember having a similar apprehension when confronted by numbers and spread sheets, but it was such a challenge to master them that I grew to love them. Same went for when we switched from written reports to Power Point presentations. Years ago when I had a stressful start to a job that gave me gastritis, I swore I’d leave after 3 months; instead, I ended up staying 18 years. So you never know. Good luck with the first six months.

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