Thursday, May 29, 2008

Imposter Syndrome

The past few weeks I have been given a few extra projects at work. There once was a time when I would have craved more responsibility. Those days are long gone! I have so many other priorities outside work that just the idea of added work overwhelms me. With an existent full plate, more responsibility goes hand in hand with more anxiety.

Needless to say, it's been really difficult to stay afloat.

I've also noticed that with added responsibility I've started to mess up a bit. In my hast to get things done in a timely fashion some pretty crucial steps have been missed. Each mistake is worse and worse, and they are starting to reflect badly on not only myself but my department. I haven't been written up or scolded, but for someone who is their own worst critic, I may as well have been. Each morning on my way in, I am asking myself "how I can possibly screw up today?"...

It's as if a grey cloud follows me to work in the morning, pestering me every step of the way. Today I learned what that grey cloud is. I have Imposter Syndrome; the internal experience of one who has a secret sense they were not as capable as others thought.

I feel as though my supervisor thinks very highly of me. He's made it clear since I was interviewed for my position that he knows I will not be in the role long. I've been given a "promotion" and a pay increase already and I haven't even been here a year. He obviously has some level of faith in my capabilities...and while that is very reassuring, I (unfortunately) don't feel the same way. So every time I mess something up I am consumed with the thought that this is screw up where he'll realize I am just not as smart as he thought (or worse as smart as the girl who had the position before me).

Now that I have a concrete definition for this fear, I've realized that it is with me all the time. The syndrome plagues me. Not just at work but in my personal life, in my entrepreneurial endeavors, in every aspect of my life. It's a huge question mark looming over my head. When is that day coming? The day every one will stop laughing when I tell a joke, stop praising me for my bright ideas, stop thanking me for my advice. The day they'll all think "wow, she really isn't all that great is she?".

So what now? They say the first step is admitting there is a problem. I've admitted it...


MoneyTalksDebtWalks said...

Honestly I think many people have this issue...but don't realize it. I think its great you know...its something you can learn from rather than avoid it and play it off.
I think when you make "mistakes" you should do your best to learn from it and move on.
I do it all the time, I've learn that you just have know how the mistake came about and of course always ask for help!!

Ms. S said...

I DEFINITELY have this syndrome... even worst, the main reason why I want to leave my job now is that my boss FORCES this syndrome upon me... hyping me up so that if I don't produce a miracle, I end up looking like shit (i.e. the RR career fair).

Just take a deep breath and slow down a bit... you'll be good to go! =)