GNcareers, from Gulf News

The stress of starting a new job

Starting a new job can be stressful anywhere, and when it involves major life changes, the stress just compounds. For many people in the UAE, a new job may mean relocation — and all that comes with settling in a new place. From finding accommodation, transportation and schools to adjusting to the new workplace and culture, these efforts can take a toll even on the most resilient families.

With all of this going on, the job — which is the main reason for the relocation — can be compromised while a new hire is trying to juggle many critical personal decisions that involve money, convenience and adjustment. A major risk could be in terms of failing in maintaining a good impression, appearing to be overwhelmed with the new job or struggling to learn new tasks. It also could be a result of committing a major mistake that jeopardise the job.

With that in mind, it is important to have a plan on how to separate between the stress associated with getting up to speed with the job, and everything else that is required for settling into a new place. While both need to be done, the job should be always a priority. Remember first impressions last, and while supervisors and coworkers may cut you some slack initially. It won’t be long before they begin to expect you to perform and demonstrate your skills.

Here are few key points to keep in mind.


People form their impressions of a new co-worker based on many factors, including simply how this person is able to handle himself or herself in the first few days. If you are swamped with tasks that are unrelated to your work, you may appear to be tired, uninterested or less than motivated or excited about your new job.

To avoid this, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and rest, you’re dressed appropriately and you’re always striving to appear motivated and eager to excel at your new job. More than ever, it is important to avoid making any major mistakes. Ask questions and double check with others to ensure that you’re on top of how things are being done in the new company.


For a place like the UAE, it is common that newcomers will be showered with questions about their hunt for accommodation, how their children are settling in new schools, etc. Although it is nice to take these opportunities to get help from coworkers and others who have been through similar experiences, make sure that you’re not spending substantial amounts of time chatting or discussing personal matters. In addition, if you’re under stress, venting to coworkers may not be the best idea.

At this stage, you’ve hardly made friends, so keep your emotions and struggles outside the workplace. Instead, ask for practical advice when needed, and move on. Keep your conversations as professional as possible, because you should avoid creating an impression of someone who is struggling in any way.

Get organised

Instead of being stressed out about all the requirements of relocation at all times, try to assign time that is exclusive to these requirements. For example, find out if banks are open for part of the weekend and get accounts set up without impacting your work schedule. Similarly, schedule appointments with insurance providers, car dealerships and real estate rental agents after work or at the end of the work day to reduce the amount of time that you spent outside the office.

In addition, being organised and knowing what is pending as well as the time frame you have to accomplish these tasks will help you reduce your stress and focus on your job. In many cases, people are just overwhelmed with the new experience, and their perception of what they need to get started in a new destination is much more elaborate than what is actually needed.

Balancing work and a new place

• Make the best first impression

• Don’t overshare your stress and struggles

• Focus on being professional

• Be organised and realistic about what’s needed

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editorGN