How To Differentiate New Job Jitters From Serious Red Flags

Being tired at a new job is normal, but dreading it every day is not.

How To Differentiate New Job Jitters From Serious Red Flags
[Photo: Wavebreakmedia/iStock]

Starting a new job can be overwhelming. You’re meeting tons of people, soaking up lots of new information, and figuring out where to eat lunch every day. Not to mention trying to wow your new boss. No pressure.


It’s totally normal to feel a little off balance as you’re getting settled in. But how do you know if that unsettled feeling is just new job jitters or something more? While you’re the only person who can truly determine if your new position’s right for you, here are a few examples of what’s totally normal and what’s a blazing red flag.

Related: Here’s What To Wear To Your New Job 

You’re Exhausted…Totally Normal

You can barely keep your eyes open at the end of the day. You fall asleep as soon as your plop down on the couch, and you’re drinking all the coffee just to get through each day.

Don’t sweat it–that’s totally normal. When you’re in a new job, you’re “on” all day long. Attending trainings, making great first impressions, and soaking up as much information as possible. That is sure to wear you out. Hang in there, you’ll be feeling like your old self again in a few weeks.

You Dread Going to Work…Red Flag

Your case of the Sunday Scaries has spread to Monday through Saturday, and you have major anxiety when you wake up. Once you force yourself into the office, you watch the clock all day, and you hide out at lunch, hoping to avoid interacting with your new coworkers.


If these feelings of anxiety linger beyond your first week, this may be a problem. Something isn’t quite right, and your gut is letting you know it. Spend some time reflecting on what isn’t working for you, and remember that it’s OK if it’s not a a perfect fit.

Related: Should You Quit Your Job? When To Leave And When To Stick It Out 

You Don’t Have Any Friends…Totally Normal

At your last company, you knew everyone and really enjoyed socializing with your team. But at this new job, you haven’t clicked with anybody yet, and you’re feeling kind of lonely.

While I know this sucks, I also know this is perfectly normal. Forming relationships takes time, so try to be patient. Why not put those networking skills to good use and ask a few coworkers out for a cup of coffee?

No One’s Willing to Help You…Red Flag

Not your manager, not your office mate, not HR. You’re basically floating around on your own, with no direction. When you ask your boss for some guidance, she blows you off. When you email HR, they’re nowhere to be found. And your teammates? Radio silence.


This is so not normal. Sure, there will be times when you hit a roadblock and must wait patiently for your manager to come to your rescue, but if you’re getting no training, no direction, and no attention, something’s definitely wrong. Your new employer should be invested in setting you up for success–not ignoring you.

Related: Your New Job Is A Nightmare But You Can Still Quit And Save Your Career 

You Feel Like You Have No Idea What You’re Doing…Totally Normal

What was the name of that database again? And when is the next staff meeting? Does your manager really think you can handle that giant new project all on your own? You’re not so sure that you’ve got a handle on this new job–sometimes you even question whether you’re qualified at all.

This is completely normal. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of a new job– especially if you’ve made a pivot or switched industries. Remember that you were hired because your new employer has faith in your abilities, so you should, too! You’ll get into a groove soon.

The Job You Were Hired to Do and the Job You’re Actually Doing are Completely Different…Red Flag

You thought you’d been hired to manage your company’s new marketing initiatives, but now you’re being asked to make a bunch of sales calls and meet a crazy quota. This is definitely not the role you interviewed for.


This is a serious red flag. If the job you’d been hired to do is not the job you’re being asked to do, you may have been catfished. It may be worth having a conversation with your manager, but if the disconnect is so big that it feels like a true bait-and-switch, chances are this won’t be the right place for you and you should start thinking about your next move.

Feeling anxious or a little insecure as you’re starting a new job is perfectly normal–you’re going through a major life change! But if you’re feeling something deeper than new job jitters, you’ll want to figure out why.

Ask yourself: Is this likely temporary or is it something deeper? If you’re simply adjusting to a new environment, you’ll feel more comfortable in a couple of weeks. But, if you’re noticing some serious red flags, it might be time to reevaluate this job.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Muse and is adapted with permission. 

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