3 min

First day of work: how to deal with stress?

Image de présentation de l'article First day of work: how to deal with stress?

Whether it's a student job, a permanent contract or a work-study program, the first day of work is always scary, even for the most experienced. New environment, new colleagues, new tasks... It's a challenge that's as exciting as it is frightening! It's also something we all go through, and it's essential to learn how to manage stress.

When stress sets in

You've just gotten the job you've been looking for. Or you simply got a temporary job (student/fixed-term contract) to earn some money and/or experience. Or maybe you became an intern as part of your studies or whatever. Whatever the scenario, your first day of work is coming up and you're thinking about it several days in advance, with a lump in your stomach. You make scenarios in your head to prepare for any situation that may arise.

On the first day, the anxiety is at its peak: we are tense, nerveux.se. When you arrive at the workplace, you arrive in a completely unfamiliar environment, the groups have already been formed for a while and you have just arrived, understanding that you are going to have to learn the whole culture of this company. You start to doubt your abilities and wonder if, in the end, this job was really for you. Sound familiar?

Why so much stress?

If you're stressing so much, it's because you're afraid things will go wrong! Whether your colleagues are mean/cold, the premises don't suit you, your manager/boss is making life difficult for you, etc. And that's completely normal: when faced with the unknown, the mind tends to be very nervous and to plan for the worst in order to prevent it. So don't tell you that there's something wrong with you: we've all been there and we're all going to go through it for every new job/internship.

But then, how do you deal with stress? Although it's normal to feel it, it's never very pleasant, and it's very often of little use to the situation. To manage the stress of your first day, don't hesitate to follow these tips.

Managing the stress of day one: the steps to follow

Calm down

It sounds pretty obvious, and easier said than done, but it's the first step to managing stress! Breathe slowly, put things into perspective, in short, try to calm your heart rate and anxious thoughts. When you think about it, very few things in life are really serious. There's a good chance your first day will go just fine. And if something goes wrong... So what? Is it the end of the world? Every situation has its solution and panicking doesn't help! Advise when the time is right and take care of yourself the days before (sleep, healthy eating, meditation if desired, etc.).

Be prepared

There's nothing worse for stress than arriving late, sweaty on the first day of work. It's also the best way to make a bad impression before you've even shown up. So, the second step to follow is to be ready for that first day! Dress well, pack your bag the night before, leave home a little early. Don't hesitate to make a list, in the days before, of things to do/prepare for your first day. This way, you'll spend less time thinking, "I don't want to forget to do this!" and stressing out.

Be confident

As mentioned above, stress probably makes you feel like you don't deserve this job. You then experience imposter syndrome. This stress persuades you that you're not good enough and that the company should have taken someone else. Let me reassure you right away: you are here for a reason. In order to avoid the stress of the first day, remember that, out of all the candidates interviewed, you were taken for the job, and not the others! This means that you have all the necessary skills to carry out this job/internship. The recruiter saw something in you!

Observe and stay curieux.se

You're new and you have a lot to learn! Take note of what you are told. Remember that you'll likely have a lot of information to ingest and rules to enforce in the next few days. Being attentive, curious and observant will allow you to be better prepared for what awaits you (tasks, company culture, colleagues, habits, etc.) and thus, you will be less stressed.

Give yourself time

Once again, we remind you: you have just arrived! The goal is absolutely not to enter a competition and prove that you are the employee of the century! Take some time to get used to this new position. Be forgiving of your mistakes. Repeat that you are in the middle of a learning phase, even if you have a lot of experience in the field.

Stay positif.ve!

When you're too stressed, the people around you feel it. This will probably be the case for your new colleagues, and it could give you a (distorted) reputation. When you arrive: be positif.ve! Laugh, smile, be open to discussion, and show that you are approachable and full of good intentions. This way, relationships with your colleagues will start in the best way!


To manage the stress of the first day, in the end, you just need to have confidence in yourself and be prepared, both physically and mentally. If you've gotten to where you are, it's for a reason. Remember that!

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