Hey everyone, hope all of y'all are doing well. 

This is an issue I've been having for quite a while now and I'm still not 100% sure how I'm meant to handle this. I seem to have some form of anxiety that flares up every so often, especially in situations where there are consequences to failure and the tasks I'm doing are unfamiliar to me. The most recent example comes from yesterday which was my first new day of a retail job. I received minimal training and was just put on the floor pretty quickly. For the most part everything was fine, a little slow but I can't expect myself to be quick just yet. My main issue came with working the cash register. Like I said, I didn't receive any training on how to work it and my co-workers were the ones helping me out there. They were all very nice and helpful but I still find myself anxious over going back today and still having a half-assed idea of how the thing works. This situation happened previously as well (last summer) when I started work in a research lab while still in university. Unfamiliarity with procedures, techniques, and equipment made it very difficult for me to will myself to go to the lab and it took a decent while before I didn't feel extremely anxious. Any advice or insights you guys might have to deal with this would be really appreciated. Thanks all.

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Can you accept the anxiety? Because you're describing situations a lot of us would be anxious in. And they're temporary situations. Is the anxiety debilitating?

Accepting the anxiety should reduce it somewhat -- you needn't be anxious about being anxious!

Is this enough?

Fear of failure can be debilitating, especially if you are a perfectionist.

You're going to rationally evaluate the facts...
1. They didn't give you adequate training, so they can't expect you to know everything.
2. Customer's may be impatient, but most will understand as they too have likely been the "new guy" in the past.
3. You have to cut yourself some slack as well and understand that in a very competitive retail environment, (where profit margins are likely thin and survival not guaranteed) very few companies can afford to invest in the appropriate level of employee training... especially when they see employees come and go after only a week or two on the job.

Stephen Covey advises people to concentrate on the things you can control and don't waste emotional energy fretting about things that you can't control.

So show up to work early, be willing to stay late, pick up extra shifts on short notice when you can and try to be a quick study learning the ropes. Be polite to the customers, especially the grumpy ones.

Your boss will notice and in a month you'll be an "old hand" and you can train the next new kid... possessing an extra dose of empathy.

Doing new things is scary. It´s the same for everybody, just keep doing it and the fear goes away.

Hey guys,

Thanks for the advice, I do have a habit of letting the uncontrollable get to me. I still haven't figured out how to let things that are beyond my control slide. I understand that I won't be able to do everything perfectly but I still react very anxiously when these types of situations apply. An update on the work, didn't really have any issues today either, everything went pretty smooth. Again, thanks for the insights.


Firstly I can tell you I was in a similar position as you, I was put into a kitchen and told to pick everything up in a week because one of my co-workers was going on holiday and I was set to pick up the slack. Needless to say I floundered and panicked and sh*t myself for about a week straight until he came back, but I didn't lose my head completely because I could fall back on the fact that I'd only had a week's training. It takes a certain amount of...callousness I could say to accept the fact that it's not your fault due to the management's decisions. You can't expect to know everything within the first week or three but it's the perseverance that keeps you in the job that shines through to the attention of the manager.

Anxiety in a new job is common but if left unchecked it can become a serious problem. If one were to "take it on the chin" as it were, one would adapt quicker than that of the other that panics at the first issue. Ask a lot of questions, bug your co-workers to give you the training that the management failed to provide. 

The anxiety with consequences to failure you mention can quite rightly be associated with evaluation apprehension which is the fear of being mocked or judged or ridiculed by your peers because of a failure, thereby causing increased anxiety towards situations that would create such an outcome. I like to think myself as a decent public speaker within my own head but put me in a situation that I have to speak in front of someone other than family I stutter and I stammer and break down and reduce myself to a quivering wreck. 

Overcoming your workplace anxiety is a process rather than an event, you could remedy it with counselling or your own mettle or in my case a metric sh*t ton or whiskey. 

Good luck!


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