Ever feel like an impostor? Like you're going to wake up one day and everyone's suddenly going to see you for the phony piece of shit you are and fire your fraudulent ass?
I'll never forget the day I first learned about the Impostor Syndrome. It was 1983. A chronic procrastinator, I was in my fourth year of a doctoral program. Like a lot of graduate students, my status was what was commonly referred to as "A-B-D," meaning I'd completed "all but the dissertation." I was sitting in class one day when another student rose to present the findings of a study conducted by psychology professor Pauline Clance and psychologist Suzanne Imes called 'The Impostor Phenomenon Among High Achieving Women' (1978).
Hey, so guess what? This lady teaches workshops now in how to battle "impostor syndrome." Not a bad gig if you can bullshit your way into it, eh?
By which I mean, maybe she sort of was an impostor? I mean, isn't that the whole point of graduate school? To stave off the trappings of the real world and bury your head in the writings of keener, more inventive minds than your own because you're not ready to face the meager limits of your own potential? Didn't Marx say something about that? Fuck if I know! I dropped out of college!
Anyway, for all you folks out there suffering from "impostor syndrome," really, this is a very easy issue to deal with and it starts by accepting that yeah, you sure as hell are an impostor. You think you deserve what you have? Tell that to pretty much anyone on the supply chain that led to your last chicken nugget!
Secondly, having accepted that you are an impostor, you have to start telling everyone. Ask your supervisor the dumb questions! Ask his supervisor the even dumber follow-ups!
Thirdly, and this is the best part, chances are, they won't know! Now who's the one who ought to be fired? Him! And it may well be a him, because that's the news on "impostor syndrome." Apparently it's not just for women!
You're Not Fooling Anyone [Chronicle]