今日推薦英文原文：《Getting over the impostor syndrome》
今日推薦英文原文：《Getting over the impostor syndrome》作者：Angad Singh
Getting over the impostor syndromeYou study for long hours when all your friends are out, and you don』t just put in the time, you study in depth. You make sure no stone is left unturned. You research the company that you are applying for and practice all possible scenarios. On the day of the interview, you wake up early, clear your head and get there on time. You nail the interview and wait for their answer. You finally get it — it』s a yes. You put in the hours and negotiated well, so you also are getting the salary that you asked for. You rush to say yes to the HR representative. It』s the job you were waiting for. In a lot of ways, it』s your dream job and you are surprised you were able to get it so early in your career. You can』t believe your luck, it』s almost too good to be true. You should be over the moon but instead you ponder, 「Do I deserve it?」.
Stop yourself right there. Not only will that thinking stop you from enjoying champagne, it will also block you from truly actualizing your dreams in life.
Why am I feeling this way?No two people are the same. And no two people process their emotions the same way. The reason why you』re feeling this way might not be why another person is also having this similar feeling of being an impostor. The impostor syndrome however has become a common condition, so much so that there are hundreds of hours of YouTube videos about it. I am no psychologist but especially, while working in tech (where the impostor syndrome is quite common) and mentoring other people who are studying computer science, I have noticed that there are certain patterns of thinking that are quite common. You may benefit by reading the following reasons, as you may have also followed a similar thinking pattern, or a combination of a few.
One reason for having an impostor syndrome is just a lack of experience. You are good at what you do, all your colleagues are just a bit older than you and thus are more experienced. They know about all the bureaucracies and have the tacit knowledge that only comes after decades in that industry. When they talk they have certainty behind their words. When you talk, you have ideas, which one of them is the best; you don』t know yet because you have not experienced all the scenarios your older grey-haired colleagues have yet. Does this make them better? No, absolutely not; and you shouldn’t be harsh on yourself for literally working harder and reaching that role/position quicker.
Another reason for an impostor syndrome is a low sense of self worth in general. If you tend to be too self-critical, you can be quick to give others credit for their achievements but simply attribute your achievements to luck. Did you not work hard to get where you are? Did you not pass all the tests? Academic, and otherwise. Someone clearly thinks you are the right person for the job but you think you』re not worth it. And trust me, when a company hires someone, they try to be as critical as they can be. So why do you put yourself down all the time and have a low sense of self worth? reasons for this can vary from having had bad/mentally abusive relationships in the past to bad/dismissive parenting by your parents or simply high neuroticism traits (OCEAN personality theory).
「The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don』t know.」 – Albert EinsteinFamously said by Albert Einstein, the above quote sums up this paradox very well. In tech especially, I have met a lot of people suffering from impostor syndrome. And I assume this is true for many other fields that have a huge variety of subdomains. It is impossible to know everything about tech/software engineering. The subdomains are simply too many; Web, iOS, Android, VR, Desktop Applications, Machine Learning, AI, Data Science and the list keeps growing. Chances are that if you』re reading this article, you』re also a knowledge worker, working in a domain where the number and variety of subdomains one can specialize in are a lot. The only sane course of action here would be to accept that you will never know everything and should stop competing with every Tom, Dick and Harry and instead focus on your niche that you are good for, that you got hired for.
Or maybe it』s not you, it』s the company?My previous job had processes with many points of contacts and many moving pieces. To get the correct information about a certain task/requirement, it was vital to contact somebody since not everything was well documented. And since I didn』t know that this is how things worked, it took me longer than others initially to find out what the task consisted of. This was frustrating since my office was located in a different city than the company』s headquarter, where most engineers and designers were. Over time as I got acquainted with more people, they learnt my name on slack and remembered my face from meeting me in company events. They were then quicker to reply to my messages and I felt more comfortable pestering them with questions. I learnt that no matter how basic the questions may seem, if you』re new at a job, the best thing to do is just ask someone for help when you』re stuck rather than try to figure it out yourself. Especially when the issue was not direct help with the task but knowing tacit knowledge which a newbie at a company just does not know and doesn』t know how to extract this information since they are not familiar with team dynamics and the organizational structure.
Why having a bit of an impostor syndrome is kind of healthyAs long as your impostor syndrome is not totally overbearing you and disabling you from working; having a bit of an impostor syndrome will ensure you never feel too comfortable and are always striving to learn more. In a world full of arrogant people (especially developers) who think they know everything, it is sometimes good to be humble and open to others』 ideas.
Having an impostor syndrome can also be because you are too young for the job and most of your colleagues are older than you. This means you』re ahead of them in life and need to be less harsh on yourself for not having experienced all the little nuanced cases in the industry. If anything, you should be happy that you have given yourself a head start and can use this time to cover more ground.
Thoughts moving forwardTime to tame your monkey mind. But sustained calmness is a lot like meditation, it sounds easy but is hard to practice consistently. You partly would have to rationalize to yourself that you will continue to feel these feelings for some time as you gain more experience. They will come in waves and eventually die out.
Or it could be a sign that you』re slightly under qualified for the role. This is great because you never want to feel completely stagnant at a job. You have now been given the opportunity to grow faster and grow into a job role. You should always be aiming to get a job that is slightly above your reach, to push yourself out of your comfort zone and to learn new things. This is the only way to grow. The only thing you can do now? Keep grinding.