Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 70 total)
  • Imposter Syndrome?
  • prezet
    Free Member

    Does anyone else suffer with this, and how do you combat it?

    I’m currently looking for a new job in the tech market.The market is heaving and recruiters are telling me I’ve got the ideal skill set for some well paid roles – but I can’t help but feeling like I’m not up to it, and will get found out if I was successful.

    For example, I’m in discussion about three roles, and I’m actively considering going for the lowest paid, as I think there’ll be less eyes on me to live up to whats on my CV.

    Kind of struggling on how to deal with it, as it might end up having a very real impact on my next step.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Yes, every day. It’s far more common than you think, and far healthier to have at least some of it than the opposite – people with no understanding of their fallibility / lack of ability (Dunning Kruger) – they’re terrifying.

    By a degree – I feel perfectly happy knowing I don’t know some things and to therefore ask/get advice when I don’t know. Use it as an advantage, be good at what you know and humble about what you don’t and you’ll be surprised how good you are and how much you do know.

    Confucius, paraphrased; ‘If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably mistaken. If you are the smartest person in the room – time to find another room’

    willard
    Full Member

    Yep, have had it, keep having it, permanently worried that I will be found out, and that is after doing this kind of thing since 2006 and repeatedly being told I know what I am doing. I still think that I am going to be found out one day.

    The best thing I can suggest is to keep pretending that you know what you are doing and be honest about areas that you need development in. Then learn that stuff too.

    mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    I’ve always felt like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult at work.

    I’ve tried taking the view that if people keep giving me stuff to do, they must in general think that I can do it, and historically that’s usually turned out to be (mostly) true. Sometimes stuff goes wrong, but them’s the brakes, sometimes stuff goes better than expected too.

    I’m not sure I suffer from Imposter Syndrome either. I might just be pretending. (sorry)

    yourguitarhero
    Free Member

    What I’ve found is that the world of linkedin/recruitment etc seems to be a world of everyone pushing some perfectionist ideal

    When you’re in a job it’s just normal folks. Sometimes they’re tired, sometimes they want a coffee, some of them aren’t that good but most folk are decent enough. Generally noone is “brilliant”. It’s nothing like what the job adverts or interviews describe it like.

    in my current job (IT contract, decent money) I constantly think “surely it can’t be this easy”. But everyone is really happy with what I’m doing. I know, I’ve asked them!

    As long as you aren’t totally thick or a total walloper, you’ll be fine.

    Take the one with the most money. They’re probably all the same job day-to-day so might as well get more money for it.

    stevie750
    Full Member

    Yep, have had it, keep having it, permanently worried that I will be found out, and that is after doing this kind of thing since 2006 and repeatedly being told I know what I am doing

    That is me , sometime I get really surprised when people actually listen to what I am saying

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    I’ve always felt like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult at work.

    100% this.

    I’ve been in my current position for 6 and a half years now. I was brought in from another industry partly based on a recommendation and had to learn a new product and how to be a manager at the same time. The first couple of years were bloody miserable! But I’ve got it now and they clearly thought that I could do it if I couldn’t.

    mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    in the tech market

    Just a thing… in the tech market, we often produce “stuff” which is, how to say, somewhat intangible.

    It’s not like we make bespoke fine furniture pieces and every day’s another chair or table or writing desk.

    e.g. myself these past six months and I’ve produced a few document updates and planned some other peoples coding work, done some reviews of the same, that kind of stuff, I haven’t actually even made much code let alone seen the end result of any of those projects… sometimes it feels a lot like your work just goes into a void.

    I’m not sure the intangibleness of it all helps.

    dereknova
    Free Member

    Yup.

    I’m an idiot who is paid medical consultant money to do what to me are simple tasks.

    I’ll get found out one day.

    toby1
    Full Member

    Yes, I suspect we all have unless we are delusional or sociapathic!

    Something I found useful was some prep I did for interviews where I detailed examples of when I had done the things I talked about on my CV, the actual examples. This helps to reassure me that what I am saying is valid and that I have an example to hand when some asks me to give an example of X.

    However, if your CV says something along the lines of ‘delivers projects to scope, time and budget’ then stop lying to everyone, you are infact an imposter ;P And also burn your CV it’s lies!

    andybrad
    Full Member

    I suffered from this for most of my adult life. I was never good enough for anything (not just work). Work i used to turn up every day expecting to be sacked. 30 years of that isnt good for anyone.

    Things changed when I had some management training. i didnt learn a lot about what i was supposed to be learning but it changed me as a person. Its become clear to me just how absolutely **** useless most people are. The issue is i dont care about anything anymore so its swung the other way.

    You are not along and its horrible.

    ctk
    Full Member

    Isn’t this just low self esteem?

    edhornby
    Full Member

    I follow John Amaechi on twitter and he’s a brilliant management coach, he talks about impostor syndrome and has some insight about how it works. Paraphrasing here but he says ‘it’s that voice in your head saying you can’t but you have to remember that the voice isn’t informed, isn’t rational and isn’t kind’

    also remember that no-one expects you to be brilliant straight away at a job, you need time in all new jobs to get to know the processes, the people etc

    Good luck 🙂

    alpin
    Free Member

    At times I used to think that I winging it given I’ve never completed any formal training for what I do.

    Most of what I can do is through learning by doing.

    The more I work alongside others the more confident I am in my skill set and capabilities.

    ji
    Free Member

    As others have said this is very common. Have a look at the TED talk by AMy Cuddy ‘Fake it til you make it’.

    I have worked with top level people in a range of industries who all owned up to feeling like this sometimes, and these are people at the top of their industry on 6 figure salaries (and in one case seven). Confidence is a good thing, but so is reflecting on the reality of your abilities. Just don’t overdo either of these!

    wzzzz
    Free Member

    Confucius, paraphrased; ‘If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably mistaken. If you are the smartest person in the room – time to find another room’

    If you feel like the least smart person in the room, just remember those smart people have chosen you to be in the room, so you must be the right person as they would be smart enough to kick you out if you weren’t up to it.

    amedias
    Free Member

    I’ve always felt like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult

    FTFM

    One day people are going to realise I’m a 13 year old boy in a 39 year old man shaped suit, until then I’m going to keep stealing cookies and hope I can make it through another day.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    I’ve always felt like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult at work.

    100%. Occasionally I’m talking at a meeting or doing a presentation and I think “That sounded quite good, like I know what I’m talking about”, then I go back to expecting to get rumbled as winging it.

    And LinkedIn, I hate it with a passion. I’m reluctantly on it as perhaps one day someone will get in touch to offer me a highly paid job with little responsibility, but the ‘inspiring’ self promotion guff people post makes me want to poke them in the eyes.

    uponthedowns
    Free Member

    It helps if you are ever in a position to interview job applicants. Then you see how bloody useless most of them are and you’ll realise just how rare a commodity you are even if you are just competent in your role.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    One day people are going to realise I’m a 13 year old boy in a 39 year old man shaped suit, until then I’m going to keep stealing cookies and hope I can make it through another day.

    My wife often reminds me that this is basically true for me

    andrewh
    Free Member

    I’m pretty useless at my job, he says posting on the Internet when he should be working, but TBH I’m only doing it for the money.
    I feel I am reasonably competent at most other stuff I do so that doesn’t bother me, I’ll just keep doing it as long as they want to pay me for muddling through. I suspect most other people just make it up as they go along too

    barrysh1tpeas
    Full Member

    I’ve always felt like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult at work.

    Yep 100%. Confirmed by sneakily looking at toys (bikes, SUPs etc) all day. It’s pretty cool being a kid with grown up money though.

    Also, totally get imposter syndrome, badly. It’s definitley hindered my career tbh.

    tonyd
    Full Member

    You’re definitely not alone! I get this all the time, I think it’s a good indication that you are pushing yourself. Personally I’m comfortable outside of my comfort zone and sometimes a bit of imposter syndrome actually helps me measure where I am – too much confidence and I’m coasting, nervousness is good and means I’m in the right “zone”, abject terror is bad and means I need to pull back a little.

    Different strokes for different folks of course and your boundaries will be very different to mine. One thing I would say though:

    there’ll be less eyes on me to live up to whats on my CV.

    If you’re not relatively confident you can do whats on your CV then it probably shouldn’t be on there! If you overcook it too much you are misleading your (prospective) employer, and setting yourself up to fail from the start.

    duncancallum
    Full Member

    It’s normal right?

    Coyote
    Free Member

    Isn’t this just low self esteem?

    No. Next question.

    I suffer massively from imposter syndrome however the quote above “If you feel like the least smart person in the room, just remember those smart people have chosen you to be in the room, so you must be the right person as they would be smart enough to kick you out if you weren’t up to it” is a big help.

    matt303uk
    Full Member

    For around 10 years I worked in video games as a coder and would suffer bouts of this, you need to be careful that you don’t get stressed by it. I’ve found it improves as you get older and you get more perspective about people and what’s important and not.

    jamj1974
    Full Member

    I have been reasonably successful – operated in many senior roles reporting directly to exec boards – and I feel it all the time!

    My experiences have shown me:
    – People are not necessarily better skilled the more senior they are – but it is great when that is the case!
    – Most ‘normal’ people have some degree of this.
    – People who believe their own ‘hype’ are awful to work with/for.

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    It helps if you are ever in a position to interview job applicants. Then you see how bloody useless most of them are and you’ll realise just how rare a commodity you are even if you are just competent in your role

    This is very true – I had to interview people for a server admin role a few years back, it surprised me (having filtered the chaff down to 6 decent CVs) that they all knew very little. I’m not saying that as I think I’m some sort of genius, far from it as I have impostor syndrome to, but it was actually a nice affirmation I must have actually learnt some stuff over the years.

    reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    Had it for as long as I can remember despite being in a few different jobs now where my appraisals have always said I’m good to very good. It does mean I’m always trying to do my best at whatever I do but it also means that when things go wrong, even when completely out of my control, it’s easy to think it’s because you’re not good enough! It does effect my social life terribly though as I always worry and think that I was only invited along out of courtousy or something, never because people want to actually spend time in my company.

    Isn’t this just low self esteem?

    No, completely different feelings for each but they can be triggered by similar issues. Same as anxiety and depression are similar but also completely different, one does not mean the other will be there but they do tend to come in pairs. Hard to explain unless you’ve been down that road.

    dazh
    Full Member

    I’ve always had imposter syndrome to various degrees. Over the past 20 odd years I’ve learnt one central truth about work. This is that there are very few genuinely good, intelligent, and competent people, and almost everyone else is massively winging it. What I’ve never worked out is which of those groups I belong to. 😄

    rossburton
    Free Member

    Started a new job last year. It’s in tech, and is literally what I’ve been doing for the last five years but for a different company. Still had imposter syndrome, there’s a huge amount of company-specific knowledge that I just didn’t have and am still learning.

    Then the annual review happened and the summary was basically “did great, hit the ground running at speed”.

    If you read the job spec and think “I can do that”, and the interview goes well, then you’re up to it. Yes, there’ll be things you don’t know and things you need to learn, but if there wasn’t the job wouldn’t be as interesting. Treat water in safety, or push yourself and advance.

    gingerflash
    Full Member

    “I’ve always felt like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult at work.”

    This is totally me.

    I’m a solicitor, been doing it for just over 20 years. Never felt as good as other people, although, objectively and rationally I know I’m pretty good at it. It doesn’t feel that way though, most of the time.

    More recently, I have been pushed into management of the firm, something I know nothing about and for which my experience and training haven’t prepared me at all. So now I’m back to feeling totally inadequate, waiting to be found out.

    I do sometimes feel jealous of really confident people, but you wonder whether that is just a front, whether they feel the same inside.

    binners
    Full Member

    I get a derivative of imposter syndrome in that I struggle to believe that what I do is actually technically a job. I just keep trying to keep the felt tips inside the lines and hope nobody notices

    Another derivative of this is a mate who works at a senior level in IT who said “I’m not entirely sure what it is that I do”

    prezet
    Free Member

    Thanks all – helps to know I’m not the only one who gets this.

    If you’re not relatively confident you can do whats on your CV then it probably shouldn’t be on there!

    I get that, but everything on my CV I can (and have done) … it’s just part of me doesn’t believe me. If that makes sense. My peers seem to think I’m pretty good at my job too – and I’m typically one of the go-to people if there is a problem/bug/question.

    If you read the job spec and think “I can do that”, and the interview goes well, then you’re up to it.

    Thats the thing, I’m pretty such I can do it… the spec reads just like my current day job. But they’re offering a substantial increase in salary, and it makes me paranoid that either I’m underpaid in my current role, or that the prospective role has much higher standards to warrant the additional money.

    Caher
    Full Member

    I do with my super clued up German colleagues but I handed my notice in the other day and they’re pooing themselves.
    You sometimes know more than you think.

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    It’s normal right?

    Judging from the replies thus far, yup, totally normal.

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    haha, brilliant thread. I’m glad im not alone in this.

    I always get to the end of a week surprised that they havent realised i dont know what i am doing!!

    As many have said tho, we must be doing something right to be given roles, responsibilities etc etc.

    I say enjoy the ride 😀

    convert
    Full Member

    Knowing enough to know what you don’t know is an asset in itself.

    <ageist> Some yoof seem to be in desperate need of learning a little of this alongside a touch of humility. It seems to be rather unfashionable in Gen Z </ageist>

    rossburton
    Free Member

    Thats the thing, I’m pretty such I can do it… the spec reads just like my current day job. But they’re offering a substantial increase in salary, and it makes me paranoid that either I’m underpaid in my current role, or that the prospective role has much higher standards to warrant the additional money.

    Most likely the former: bigger companies have more money to attract the best people.

    I used to work for a small consultancy, we got acquired by a multinational and our pay literally doubled overnight. Ten years later I wanted a change, but the local jobs in smaller companies involved easily a 50% pay cut. Some companies just pay more.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    Also worth pointing out that there is imposter syndrome, and then there are imposters.

    One of my old bosses who worked at Director level basically fessed up to me at his retirement party that he had got away with it for 45 years but most of the time didn’t have a clue what he was doing. Genuinely, no clue.

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