Addressing anxiety in newly joined SDEs

I've been meaning to address the struggles a new SDE/SDE-intern goes through for a while now and I'm glad that i'm finally able to do it.

Personal experience as an SDE intern

I remember 3 years back, when i gave my interview at Amazon. I didn't feel like i've performed well and i had no hope of getting the internship. The next day, one of my friends started knocking hard on my door, i still remember the excitement in his eyes when he conveyed the good news!

Two months later, i started working as an intern at Amazon. Even though i was happy about everything, there was still a part of me which felt like i was not good enough, that i was here by luck and i started getting anxious about whether im raising the bar, whether my mentor/manager were really happy with my work. This, with the added fear of not getting a pre-placement offer made the whole experience stressful, even though both my mentor and manager were kind all along the way.

It was not until i started mentoring the new SDEs myself, that i realized this is a common experiece faced across most of the new joinees, especially if its their first company.

How to avoid feeling anxious

The main problem with being anxious constantly is it affects your mental health and the way you work which ends up impacting your productivity and personal life.

Here are few tips from my end which could help one deal with anxiety -

  1. Stop overthinking about things you cannot control - It is important to realize that not everything is in our control and thats perfectly fine. Try to focus on things you can control like your work quality or improving your skills, at a reasonable pace. Keep this up and you will do just fine!

  2. Have a physical activity routine - Having atleast some physical activity daily can go a long way in maintaining your mood and build confidence. This inturn gets reflected in the way you deal with people and stress. I would suggest a daily 10 minute jog in the morning or a 1 hour workout session!

  3. Join a good team - It is important to understand the difference between a healthy and a toxic workplace. If you think the work is not interesting or feel uncomfortable with the way your manager/team treats you or with work-load, make sure to call it out to your HR or manager in 1:1s. If that doesn't work, its time to move to a different team/company. Most of the newly joined engineers ignore this assuming that its normal and continue working in fear. This only makes things worse in the long run.

Mental health is important! So make sure to take good care of it :)