Work Smarter//

Get Rid of Your Most Common Work Fears Once and For All

You need to identify your fears about work and start overcoming them

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Fear is our body’s response to the unknown. When we’re not sure of the outcome of a certain situation, we’re afraid. For some people, every single day on the workplace is marked by anxiety and stress. Others experience stress occasionally, but no one is immune to it.

So what are the most common fears about work? How can you overcome them? We’ll share 5 tips that will make you a stronger and more self-confident worker.

1. Fear of Social Death

In organizational psychology, the fear of being ostracized is a real thing. You’re always afraid of being ignored and excluded from social activities in the office.

This explains our compliance to the organizational rules and common practices in the workplace.

How to Overcome It:

Even if you’re different from everyone else, the chances for them to exclude you from all social activities are minimal.

If you feel like you’re being ignored, don’t be overly sensitive or ashamed about it. Keep giving your best. When you’re professional about the way you’re doing your work, you’ll deserve everyone’s respect.

2. The Fear of Not Fitting In

Some people feel like they are constantly being watched and judged.

Jackie Roberts, Career Counselor from ResumesPlanet, explains: “Many people are constantly wondering if they are too talkative or too quiet. Are they too serious or are they making inappropriate jokes? When you worry too much about what other people think of you, you can’t focus on the work and give your best. It’s a real fear that blocks your performance.”

How to Overcome It:

The first thing you need to understand is that it is absolutely impossible to be liked by everyone. You do not have to try too hard to be likeable; just be yourself.

You don’t have to be part of every discussion but show you’re listening and you’re appreciating other people’s input.

If you’re extremely shy and you think you have social anxiety, you should work on that. Simple therapy can make you feel like a new person.

Don’t try too hard to be bubbly. A joke is fine now and then, but don’t try to act like something you’re not.

3. Fear of Not Making Progress

There are plenty of people who are tapping in one place. They started working on a position hoping they would get a promotion soon, but they remained there forever. Are you afraid this will happen to you?

How to Overcome It:

Do you know who remains on the same spot forever? Those who don’t try to move out their comfort zone. Those who make peace with their current achievements and don’t find the strength to move forward. You’re not one of those people. You will try. When you’re persistent enough to grow, you’ll get where you’re headed to.

4. Fear to Speak Up

All good leaders give their employees a chance to speak up. They want to listen, so they can improve the working conditions in the organization. A successful business is based on happy employees.

However, as research from Harvard Business School showed, most of the employees are still silenced by fear. They are afraid to speak about important issues because they fear negative perception and unpleasant personal and professional consequences.

How to Overcome It:

If you’re sure you can make a point, make it. Speak up! Your boss expects you to talk about the issues that concern the entire workplace.

Do not be arrogant or self-centered when you decide to speak up. Do it in a calm, convincing tone. Listen to what the other side has to say.

Remember: nothing bad will happen even if the others don’t accept your remarks. Keep working.

5. Fear of Losing the Job

A survey from the University of Oxford showed that 7% of workers thought it was very likely for them to lose their jobs in the following year, and 25% thought there was some risk of losing the job.

The economy is not stable and it takes you to the point of surviving instead of thriving.

How to Overcome It:

Is your organization healthy? If things are going well despite the challenges imposed by the economy, you can relax. If you’re doing your job well, then you’re at no risk of being fired.

If, however, there are problems within the organization, it’s time to put yourself in survival mode. Keep doing your job, but start searching for another position in the meantime. Have your options open, so you won’t have to be afraid of losing the job.

It’s only natural to be afraid of the unknown. However, it’s not natural for that fear to block you. You need to identify your fears about work and start overcoming them. Hopefully, the tips above will help.  

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