Frazzled: one month in
Tired, tired, tired. Yep you’ve guessed it, it’s tiring being new. You are soaking up a new environment, new people, new commute, new everything… Where’s the toilet? What do you do for lunch? And don’t forget that little thing of what do I have to do in this job?! Hey guys, does anyone want to be my friend? Is it any wonder you end up frazzled?
I’ve always made friends at the places that I’ve worked, so I am sure this place will be the same, but you can’t force things to happen… You can’t rush through this experience. You have to wait and things will sort themselves out.
With my first week under my belt, I set out on my first full week. My first week thoughts can be found here.
Sleep is key
I continued to be ‘on edge’ and haven’t slept that well during the week, mainly through thinking / processing the new information. This isn’t the best strategy as then you become even more tired. I’ve been drinking cherry juice, a herbal tea and also have This Works Sleep spray (and stress rollerball) – but it’s really hard to stop yourself from stirring at 3am I feel! Though these products definitely help me. Thankfully I’ve been making up for lost sleep at the weekend (generally).
Don’t be so hard on yourself
I feel that I under-estimated how hard changing to a new environment would be. There’s nothing negative about the company or team or role in this, but literally that for me, I don’t like change and I tend to soak everything up and therefore have been thoroughly drained.
I know that I wanted to change, but equally I think you forget how you’ve been through phases like this in the past and ‘only’ remember the bit once you know what you are doing.
I actually feel lucky to be working where I am, it’s a unique place and everyone seems lovely there. In fact, I sometimes think I’m excited as I see lots of opportunities… but rather wish my mind would stay quiet and let me rest… I’m not keen on 3am. Irrational thoughts abound.
I’ve been fixating on silly things really, like now I shower in the morning (like seriously – who cares!?). I’ve found that if I leave just before seven I generally have a good commute, and I’ve also mainly been leaving early. There are times when motorways are busier, or blocked because of an accident.
Of course now I have less free time and I have been used to having lots of time to do things in the last nine months. Now I’ve got the evenings and weekends (but I also have to consider recovery time in this for a while). I think it takes time to get into a new routine.
The other day there was an accident on the motorway and that prompted me to get off and drive through various villages – courtesy of the Waze app. This made my commute an hour that morning. Even though I got to work at 8am, it felt typical that this had happened on the day I was due to present to the whole department. I’d planned to get in early and do my prep before heading to the meeting. However, it made me realise that some things aren’t in your control and there’s no point getting het up about it and I now feel more relaxed as I know that I can get to work. It might take me longer that way but on the plus side, at least once I know where I am going it takes in some beautiful villages. Though fingers crossed for a flowing motorway!
Tidy house, tidy mind?
I’ve felt like tidying things at the weekends, which must be my way of taking control of the uncertainty. I like routine and feeling organised, which at work is someway off still – and that is natural – no one (apart from me!) is expecting me to be fully up to speed in the five weeks I’ve been there.
Going out after work
I’ve returned to some semblance of ‘normality’ because I went to a gig in London during the week in January. Not that I like to go on a ‘school night’ normally, I’d rather go at the weekend, but I had no option for this particular gig. I had worked myself up about going somewhat, but (of course!) it all worked out fine and I got home at a decent time. And actually slept better that night.
I’ve started to arrange to meet up with friends, which again helps you to be rational and not put all your energy into the new role. There is life outside of work. My friend who has also returned to work (after a long time off) and her partner have noticed how doing things differently gives you a fresh perspective. A change in routine can make you think differently. Though she has also been both frazzled and tired. So that made me feel better.
I’ve found that I have felt the stirrings of ambition again, which is probably caused by being in a new environment. You realise how much you know from your previous experience – although there are definite peaks and troughs where you conversely worry that you don’t know enough.
I’ve had to go to a couple of health appointments too in my first month, which makes you realise that health is the most important thing and that you need to be kind to yourself, and give yourself time to settle into the new environment.
You are bound to make mistakes, it’s part of learning. Week 5 felt like lots of things were going wrong – though I’m not sure they were necessarily down to my mistakes. It just felt like things were compounding and you can then get irrational (and in my case I got a bit irritable because things weren’t going right – and I was tired of course).
I’ve started to get tasks with deadlines, so this causes a level of anxiety in me. However, I also need to think that I pretty much have always delivered. No one will die if I don’t deliver either. Worst case a meeting will be rearranged. I’ve also put steps in place to get help from a colleague first thing. So here’s to a successful sixth week.
I found an article in Indeed about ‘How to Succeed in Your New Job’. It looks at what to do in the first week, first month and first ninety days in a new job.
The bonus tip at the end is to ‘be gentle with yourself’ which I will take as a reminder to myself as I sign off and get some rest.