I Feel Incompetent at My New Job | Causes, Coping Strategies and Tips to Regain Confidence

You have made my old memories come back to life again. I still remember this feeling when I started my first job as a content writer. I was very nervous, and afraid and had no idea how to approach my new job. Starting a new job can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. Despite being qualified for the role, it’s common to occasionally feel incompetent, especially in the beginning.

This is completely a common feeling and we all have experienced it at some point in our lives. Over time, you’ll feel more confident and comfortable in your new role. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make the transition easier and faster!

If you are experiencing the same feeling and want to know how to cope with it then you are just at the right place. In this article, I will explain why almost every new recruit feels incompetent at their job, as well as constructive tips and strategies to help you regain confidence in your abilities.

i feel incompetent at my new job
my new job

Common Reasons For Feeling Incompetent at a New Job

There are several understandable reasons why feelings of incompetency frequently emerge when starting a new position:

  1. Facing Unfamiliar Responsibilities and Skills

Even if your previous job was in a similar field, every company and role has unique processes and responsibilities to learn. Acclimating to different systems, vocabularies, and specialized skills can temporarily make capable employees feel out of their depth. Give yourself time to ramp up.

  1. Imposter Syndrome Emerging

High achievers often struggle with “imposter syndrome” – a persistent, false belief that your accomplishments are undeserved luck rather than skill. These irrational doubts plague even the most experienced. Remember that you earned this opportunity.

  1. Experiencing Information Overload

Absorbing large amounts of new information quickly while also managing a full workload can easily become overwhelming. Information overload causes stress and makes competency tougher. Take effective notes and allow your brain time to process.

  1. Lacking Confidence in New Surroundings

Humans inherently prefer familiarity. Adjusting to new coworkers and work culture while performing under scrutiny often negatively impacts confidence at first. Confirmation bias also leads us to magnify early mistakes and minimize achievements.

  1. Negativity Bias Distorts Self-Assessment

Humans evolved tendency to weigh negative feedback and memories. Our psyche emphasizes failures and filters out praise as we strive for perfection.

  1. Expectations Were Unrealistic

Media myths about instantly thriving in dream jobs mislead. In reality, mastery emerges through months of building capability. Be patient – compare against your own previous baseline instead of idealized portrayals.

If you employed recommended strategies but self-doubt still feels crippling after several months, also utilize the following coping methods or seek counseling assistance. The key is recognizing these factors mostly reflect the situation – not personal shortcomings. You were hired for good reasons. Now implement constructive strategies to regain competence.

Effective Ways to Overcome Feeling Incompetent

While some self-doubt is inevitable at first, employ these methods to reclaim confidence in your talents:

Step 1: Ask Questions Early and Often

Don’t hesitate to frequently ask clarifying questions, no matter how small. Research confirms seeking input early accelerates competency. Also proactively ask colleagues for constructive criticism to rapidly improve.

Step 2: Divide Your Task into Multiple sub-tasks and Make Priorities

If you can’t find where to start and are feeling overwhelmed, first figure out what to do first. Then, break down the project into smaller ones. You can seek help from your supervisor or a mentor if you need it. They can help you prioritize the sub-tasks as they understand the big picture better. Clearly understanding key expectations enables properly aligning efforts.

Step 3: Share Your Feelings with your Supervisor

The supervisor of your sector has already dealt with many of the same challenges you’re facing. So, tell them how you’re feeling and what you need to improve. They can support you by providing resources and guidance.

Step 4: Get Yourself Trained

If you don’t have sufficient knowledge about the task you have been assigned, or if you feel like you lack knowledge about a specific topic, it is always best to get yourself trained. Research about the topic and get yourself trained especially when you’re at home.

Step 5: Follow a Daily Organization System

Get structured to avoid feeling perpetually scattered. Implement an organized method for tracking tasks, notes, and calendar appointments. Regaining order often quickly restores competence.

Step 6: Celebrate Small Daily Wins

Note any positive indicators you are progressing, no matter how insignificant they seem. Record milestones met and tasks mastered via list or journal. Referring back to concrete achievements helps combat imposter syndrome.

Further Helpful Tips for Feeling Competent Quickly

Implement these additional worthwhile tactics for getting up to speed:

  • Volunteer For Stretch Assignments: Proactively ask for minor extra assignments requiring skills just beyond your comfort zone. Stretch tasks expand competencies faster while showing initiative.
  • Request More Frequent Feedback: Arrange for your manager to provide early input about performance more regularly than standard, not just during formal evaluations. Request they highlight both working well and needing improvement to target efforts.
  • Explore Company Knowledge Resources: Search if the organization has established resources like internal wikis, online training modules, or databases with helpful background details for someone new to digest.
  • Formally Outline Your Learning Plan: Draft a personalized competency development plan listing priority skill gaps needing work, target dates to close them, and methods to refine them. Review with your manager and revise regularly.
  • Attend Internal Training Opportunities: Look for chances to join existing employee workshops or programs focused on high-value talents required in your role. Signaling eagerness by actively participating also makes a positive impression.

The better prepared and more proactive you are, the faster proficiency will come. Remain patient with yourself – significant competency gains sometimes emerge suddenly. Trust that the organization wants you to succeed.

Things You Should Avoid While Feeling Incompetent

When self-doubt creeps up in a new professional role, you may be tempted to respond in counterproductive ways that inadvertently exacerbate worries. Be cautious not to:

1. Do Not Compare Your Performance

Comparing your performance with others is not always the best way to assess your own performance. As your colleagues have more experience than you, they will obviously be better at the job than you. So, don’t be demotivated by comparing your performance with others, and always be yourself.

2. Endlessly Obsess Over Mistakes

Intensely fixating on a slip-up often amplifies feelings of inadequacy far exceeding the actual performance impact. Strike a balance between analyzing and moving forward constructively.

3. Descend Into Harmful Coping Mechanisms

Like emotional eating, drinking, or Netflix bingeing. While briefly soothing anxiety, these habits breed guilt and shame when overused, further lowering self-worth.

4. Give Up Prematurely

Resist just quitting because competency is not quickly achieved. Most skills require persistent practice over months or years to evenly progress. Stay the course utilizing helpful methods.

5. Excessively Vent Frustrations at Home

Protect personal relationships from turning into negative dumping grounds. Find other appropriate outlets like journals, understanding friends, or engagement online forums with those undergoing similar workplace woes for commiserating. Be careful managing perceptions among family members not privy to all the context around job transitions.

Other Related Questions

How Long Does It Take To Feel Competent At A New Job?

It’s normal to feel incompetent for at least 6 months when starting a new career. Mastery happens gradually through consistently gaining knowledge and experience. Be patient – avoid comparing against unrealistic standards.

Should I Tell My Boss I Feel Incompetent?

If worries impact performance for over a month despite proactive efforts, tactfully discuss them with your manager. Stress you really enjoy the work and team but want to create an action plan together to build skills faster if gaps exist.

Is It Normal To Cry About Feeling Incompetent?

Yes, occasional crying spells are an understandable reaction to extreme transition stress. Seek counseling if worrying significantly disrupts sleep or life balance beyond work. Support groups also help normalize doubts.

How Can I Reassure Colleagues While Feeling Incompetent?

Transparently share your aim to ramp up rapidly in mastery but still learn nuances. Ask them directly how you are currently adding value already, and request input about improving.

Should I Resign If I Still Feel Incompetent After 6 Months?

Not necessarily. Flagging managers early on about struggles is key before serious underperformance jeopardizes employment. Develop plans addressing skill deficiencies requiring more training time.

Final Thoughts

Feeling incompetent when starting demanding new roles is commonly experienced. Begin utilizing the provided techniques to regain confidence. Celebrate small milestones met and know that seasonal doubts will pass. Trust your abilities while actively working on deficiencies areas. You’ve got this! Hopefully, this overview helped provide reassurance and constructive strategies. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if any questions remain unanswered about coping with competency concerns during career transitions. Wishing you renewed passion and success on your professional journey ahead!

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