Reflective Writing 2

Imposter syndrome is characterized by feelings of inadequacy and fear of being found out as a phony (https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud). There is also a strong connection to perfectionism. Any success is written off as the person tricking everyone and any failure only reinforces the thought pattern. Imposter syndrome can lead to anxiety and depression. According to VeryWellMind, it’s estimated that 70% of people will experience at least one episode of imposter syndrome in their life (https://www.verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469).

The article by Ethan Urie discusses tips for working through imposter syndrome in computer science. The tips range from mindset changes, to seeking reassurance from managers, to keeping track of accomplishments. I think the tips could be helpful but since my experience with imposter syndrome is so different I honestly don’t know. I do think adopting a growth mindset and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable are both good tips. From the outside, those tips seem like they would help change the negative thinking that causes imposter syndrome.

I also want to acknowledge that people of color and women were first found to have imposter syndrome but it’s hypothesized to be due to the structural discrimination in the workplace (https://hbr.org/2021/02/stop-telling-women-they-have-imposter-syndrome). If someone is getting constantly told by their coworkers that they’re inferior or less competent, of course that would take its toll. By making imposter syndrome a personal thing, we ignore the systemic issues that often cause it, putting the burden on women to fix something (else) society caused.

My experience with imposter syndrome was a little atypical but what helped me was reassurance from my friends. Perhaps that sort of validation and assurance from peers or another trusted person could help alleviate imposter syndrome. Changes to workplace culture could also help prevent imposter syndrome, but that isn’t something most people have control over.

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