The New Job Blues

Photo by Saurav Mahto on Unsplash

Starting a new job is stressful. People talk in strange and new acronyms; they ask you to post information to shared drives whose location is a mystery to you. You barely know where the restrooms are. Once again, you have a total beginners mind.

I find all this quite unsettling, but it is also an opportunity to learn again. The neural learning pathways open and even old skills can be upgraded during this period.

In my first month in a new job, I produced a genuinely awful PowerPoint presentation, text-heavy, lots of bullet points. My beginner’s mind had lost its way among all the new things I was struggling to learn; I had forgotten that PowerPoint was just a visual aid to help me give an impactful talk.

Many people report a honeymoon period when they start a new job, a blissful period where they are delighted with their new-found position. However, this period can be short-lived, especially when trying to escape an aspect of their old job that caused them distress, such as an overly demanding boss or a toxic blame culture. If these stressors return, their pain and dissatisfaction can also return. Or else after being so relieved to escape their old demons, they find other aspects of their new job that cause them dissatisfaction. Keen to escape challenging aspects of their old job they had not considered the whole of the new position but merely focused on the stressors they were so keen to escape.

What are your experiences of starting a new job, honeymoons, legacies of old demons or the excitement of a new challenge?


Boyle, Elisabeth and Johnson, Christopher and Merritt, Stephanie and Niemann, Paul and Parsley, Sammie, Blinded by the Pain: A Grounded Theory of Myopia During Job Transition (September 15, 2019). Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Engaged Management Scholarship (2019).

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