How to Overcome Feeling Lost in Your New Job

Feeling lost in your new job? Feeling overwhelmed in a new position or project? Feeling like you’re not ready for that step? Don’t have a clue on what to do to get your job done?

Don’t give up! If you give up, your confidence will decrease. If you get through it, your confidence will grow.

When I felt lost in a new job.

I was a young analyst and finally promoted into the job I wanted as a manager. I felt like a complete disaster.

I felt like a complete disaster.

I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know what my boss asked me to do. I didn’t understand the terminology, jargon, and product names. I felt like I was constantly bothering others to ask for help and guidance.

My new team distrusted me and yelled at me. I had no control over them. Loads of problems happened every week and I felt guilty. My team even did interventions to fix “their manager” and my boss knew all about it. Sometimes my team refused to do what I asked them.

My boss took me to meetings with clients and partner companies to negotiate and solve problems, and I didn’t know what to say. Often, I got a nastygram from suppliers and business partners on my poor handling of situations.

I kept thinking that my boss could fire me any day. I was really stressed but kept going anyway.

Here’s what I did to overcome the overwhelm.

Here’s something I did as all those problems happened.

I didn’t keep it to myself. I didn’t hide. I was in constant conversation with my boss about my challenges, even though I felt like I was exposing my weaknesses and that my boss regretted hiring me.

Not doing the job or constantly failing was an even worse choice. Quitting was not a choice for me until I gave the job at least one year.

  • When my team complained a lot about me, I told my boss what happened and how I handled the situation. Then he gave me tips.
  • When an employee refused to do the work, I told my boss, and he coached me on how to deal with it.
  • When people in the organization weren’t taking me seriously, I told my boss and he sent an email out to the team telling them that for certain topics, whatever I said was aligned with him and that they should take it seriously. He empowered me.

Those situations kept happening for at least 6 months. I had trouble, I did my best, but also kept in dialogue with my boss, and he helped me overcome each challenge.

Then something surprising happened.

One year later I was accepted into my dream master’s program, so I told my boss that was going to leave. I still thought I was a complete disaster. Problems were popping up left and right.

From that moment onwards my boss gave me a lot of public praise. I had no idea he had such high regards for me.

Because of his high praise, I realized that what seemed super messy for me was part of the job and that I was handling it well compared to other people.

But also, because I involved him in every major problem, he knew it wasn’t easy and that I was overcoming a lot of challenges.

Then, overtime as I learned about how to manage a team, it got a lot easier.

The bottom-line is this.

Anything new or challenging is going to feel overwhelming and uncomfortable at first. You may doubt yourself. You may feel like a disaster. But it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It means you are going through a steep learning curve. You are growing and developing fast.

Embrace that growth discomfort.

Embrace that growth discomfort.

And make sure you don’t hide or isolate yourself with your challenges. Use the resources, mentors, coaches, and colleagues around you to overcome those challenges, one at a time, even if those conversations are hard.

Soon, what seems hard today will feel like a breeze. You’ll keep the higher salary, title, and impact. More importantly, you’ll grow your inner confidence.

Recap

Feeling lost in a new job or new project is natural and temporary. Don’t quit! To get through it, enlist the support of someone who can help you. That can even be your boss. That way they’ll know exactly where you are and will be able to help you. Not only that, your boss will see your commitment and growth and will respect that. After a few months, you’ll overcome those challenges, find joy again, and feel more confident.

“Starting a new job is always scary… It’s like the first day of school.” — Sean Maher

About

Ivna is the founder of https://assertiveway.com. We empower ambitious professionals gain confidence at work, so they can get advocate for themselves to get the position, recognition, and respect they deserve. Find out your communication style here or get started with this free course.

Ivna Curi is the founder of AssertiveWay.com, empowering professionals at work. Don’t give up on your dream career until you learn this: bit.ly/getrecognized1