The text message from a long-time friend said, “Remember when we used to be afraid of first days?” I typed back, “No worries. I’ve got this covered. But I do remember the butterflies and sometimes full- blown panic.” That was just bravado.
She wanted me to visit her on St. Simons Island for a holiday that would include a few days of painting or sketching. “No, I can’t; not right away,” I said. “I start my new job and have no clue yet about my schedule.” She was appalled. She scoffed. Why would I give up my hard-earned freedom and flexible schedule to take a job?
Why indeed? It’s with the public health department, working as a community outreach representative. It’s a soft-money, COVID-related part-time position assisting people register to be vaccinated. I applied for the position after my second Moderna shot. It was, I thought, just the thing to emancipate me from my yearlong incarceration and give me the opportunity to act with purpose. I hadn’t considered that taking a job would interfere with other options that my vaccinations would allow.
As my first day of work approaches, I have a migraine headache and an upset tummy; I’m fidgeting so much that I can’t sit in my recliner and watch my shows. I’m not feeling remorse for missing out on a short holiday with my friend, as I’m sure we will manage to schedule another time once I have a work schedule. No, I am indeed afraid of my first day!I have the jitters of a schoolgirl, even though my seventy-ninth birthday is only a few months away.
I Googled “new job jitters.” About 5,080,000 results (0.89 seconds) populated my computer screen. According to LinkedIn data, 80% of professionals suffer, some for months. Most of the sites on the first couple of screens suggested making a to-do list to minimize the trauma. The one that appeared most often was have a lunch plan and keep a snack in your purse. Since my first day was just a two-hour morning orientation and submitting the twenty pages of documentation required for employment, I figured I didn’t need a lunch plan. However, even though I had made a trial run weeks ago, I put the office address in my iPhone, set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. to give me enough time for coffee and meditation—and use a curling iron, if necessary. Then I threw a protein bar into my purse, chose an outfit to wear, and hung it on the handle of the closet door.
Now I just have to get a good night’s sleep. Ha.