Here's how to defeat the most common workplace fears | Ladders

It may be Halloween season, but you don't have to experience fear at work. Here's how to overcome the things that terrify you the most about your job.
Advice

Here’s how to defeat the most common workplace fears

It may be Halloween season, but you don’t have to be afraid of ghouls and goblins to experience fear at work. Here’s how to overcome the things that terrify you the most about your job.

Coming into work on Day 1

Sometimes, the hardest part of a position is starting it.

From pre-first-day jitters spent worrying if you’ll make it there on time, to how well you’ll fit in with your coworkers, it’s normal to feel uncertain about what’s ahead.

Plus, when you finally make it through the office door, your surroundings are new, you may not recognize anyone except the HR manager you interviewed with, and there’s a whole lot of new jargon to get used to.

Doing things like preparing as much as possible beforehand — from mapping out your commute, to picking out your clothes and learning about your new responsibilities, to remembering your accomplishments — can help you cope with first-day anxiety.

Giving that presentation to your team — plus your boss

In this case, practice really does make perfect.

There’s no way to predict what could happen during a presentation, or how receptive the group will be to your perspective, but being prepared by throughly knowing your presentation material and having multiple, quick solutions to potential technical problems can help keep a lid on your nerves.

Journalist, digital media consultant, and investor John Boitnott writes in Entrepreneur about how to “use activities” during a presentation.

“Sometimes a simple activity is enough to drive your point home. It could be something as simple as having your boss or team write down their goals and then having brainstorming session on how to accomplish those goals. You could also hand out quizzes and ask your audience to guess what your next slide is going to be. You can even split the group up by having 20 percent of them move to one side of the room to demonstrate what your goal of 20 percent growth will look like, instead of using a slide with a graph,” Boitnott writes.

Getting people out of their seats and out of their own minds may serve you well, depending on the nature of your presentation.

Worrying that everyone else will find out that you’re an impostor

Instead of brooding over looming thoughts that people will discover that you only got your job through luck — and that you have no real talent — remind yourself of all the success you’ve already had in your life to help you push through impostor syndrome.

Think about your accomplishments and cherish the fact that you had many good things going for you before this job came along, and you will still have them several positions into the future.

Also don’t strive for perfection — do the best you can with what you have. But balance this with look for ways to improve without getting too off track.

Asking for a raise

While you should never do something like threaten to quit if you don’t get a raise, there are key things you should do instead.

After writing about how you should be able to clearly talk about your accomplishments when asking for a raise in Fortune, Citi Cards CEO Jud Linville details how you should approach your supervisor during the meeting, among other points.

“Set up a meeting and present yourself with conviction, self-assurance, and professionalism. Deliver your opening statement, support it with your facts, and assertively request exactly what you want. Then, be quiet and await the response. Do not argue. You want to employ logic and reasoning while avoiding making your boss feel criticized or defensive. Keep the emotion out of it and try to employ ‘I’ statements to discuss your perspective and needs. Use phrasing such as, ‘When I consider my accomplishments so far and compare my salary to others in my field’” Linville writes.

You don’t have to be a newbie on the job to get nervous about parts of your work, but whatever you do, don’t forget to own what scares you the most.