Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Impostor Syndrome


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Impostor Syndrome, or Impostor Phenomenon, sometimes called Fraud Syndrome, is not an officially recognized psychological disorder, but has been the subject of a number of books and articles by psychologists and educators. Individuals experiencing this syndrome seem unable to internalize their accomplishments. Regardless of what level of success they may have achieved in their chosen field of work or study, or what external proof they may have of their competence, they remain convinced internally that they do not deserve the success they have achieved and are really frauds. Proofs of success are dismissed as luck, timing, or otherwise having deceived others into thinking they were more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. This syndrome is thought to be particularly common among women who are successful in their given careers and is typically associated with academics.


I don't know what's going on, but my blog seems to have developed a life of its own. Regular visitors will concur that the tone of my blog has always been light-hearted, recently, however, it has become more confessional and that worries me. This new found garrulousity worries me, because in real life, i am one of the most unforthcoming, secretive people you'd ever come across...just because that's the way i like it. I'm the one who's the good listener who patiently listens to the woes of all and sundry and even dispenses sound wisdom as required. I just never feel the need to spill my own guts in return. Now, whether this is a reflection on the people around me (i.e. they do not inspire confidence) or whether it's just a fundamental 'flaw' in my make up, i do not know.

So, anyway, Impostor Syndrome. The above definition is completely me on any given day. Won't go into details except to set the scene by saying that to date, i've worked for one of the 'Big 4' accounting firms and the only person who seemed unimpressed by it was...you guessed it....ME! But that's not the issue here. The issue is that yesterday, i felt so much more like a fraud, as in a meeting, i was congratulated and praised for my dedication to my current job, whilst in my heart of hearts i knew the only reason i was still there was because i hadn't found anything else suitable. And believe me, i had been searching!!!!

Some background: In June last year, my boss left suddenly, under a cloud. I work in a team of three - said boss, moi and an assistant X. Assistant X soon followed boss' suit, leaving me on my lonesome. Oga kpata kpata brought in an Interim Director to do my ex-boss' job three days a week, and this arrangement continued until the beginning of this week when said Interim Director became a de facto employee. Now, this is not the time nor place to go into details of how much of an irritant this guy is... and now i'm stuck with him 5 days a week. Lord, hellep me!

Back to the meeting. My team's role requires that we be seen to be independent and objective, yada yada yada...therefore we report to a Committee rather than having direct reporting lines to the organisation's senior management, and at the meeting yesterday, the Chair of the Committee made a point of praising me for ...in his words '..believing in what they were trying to achieve and sticking by it through this period of change..'. I smiled and nodded my acknowledgement whilst inside i felt sickened. I wasn't there because i wanted to be! I was there because i have bills to pay! I don't know about anyone else, but ain't nothing going on but the rent over here, let me tell you something!

Yes, so it's official. I am an impostor...Sue me! The good thing is that i have recognised this and made amends and plans to get my life on to the path which will lead me to a career i feel passionate about. In October this year, i begin a one-year Foundation Course. It's scary, starting over in this new field. But no pain, no gain, hunh? Not since Secondary School have i actually enjoyed studying for the sake of studying and i know that i will experience this again because of my desire to increase in knowledge in this field i've chosen. It's something i have a natural aptitude for and which i know i will enjoy studying and subsequently doing for a living.

So, roll on October. Yippee!!! And in the interim, does anyone have any suggestions on how to refrain from strangulating an irritating Boss?

19 comments:

30+ said...

Good for you babe.

Is it going to be a 4 year course?

Nyemoni said...

On the suggestion on how to refrain from strangulating an irritating Boss...please hold yaself o! He's surely not worth it!

But aren't we all impostors? I am one myself....Pursued a career I had no interest in for the past 6 years, only just got back to my desired career a lil while ago...but it's sad really when we're on a path we do not like being on....

I'm glad that you have decided to go on to do things which interest you...here's wishinh you every success in your future endeavours!

UndaCovaSista said...

@ 30+ - Thank you jare. It's been a long time coming! Yes it's 4 years including the foundation..

@nyemoni - Lol! The funny thing is that he had just pee'd me off again just before i read your comment...GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Yes, life is too short to waste being miserable about things that can be changed...hope you're bearing up?

Jaycee said...

I've been learning to appreciate my accomplishments (whether I feel like I shd not have them or not; whether I accomplished them by mistake or not)...because at the end of the day God causes us to go thru certain things for a reason.

So welcome to the world of not giving extra reasons why "I may not have been here if not for.... (lol)

Aren't we all impostors?, like Nyemoni said.

Lolll...just say "Goooooooseeeeefrabaaaaaa!!!!" and u'll end up not strangulating ur boss! :)

Bitchy said...

Undercover Lady,

Thanks a lot for the comment on my blog the other day. I'm trying to get back into blogging - it's so hard! But I blogged again today so we'll see.

Don't beat yourself up about feeling like a fraud, a lot of these bosses know that only 2% of their employees intend to dedicate their lives to them, because the work they dish out often sucks and is boring. Just Thank God you've been able to see the light earlier than most. I'm in the same position, though unlike you I decided to jump for the unknown rather than even begin the job I knew I was going to hate before I'd even started. Now I'm unemployed and broke, but at least I'm happy. Some people think I'm a fool, and others envy me like crazy.

You'll be the one laughing at the end of the day. Xxx

Arewa said...

Sweetie ur blog belongs to you and only u which entitles you to switch into whatever mode u want and our jobs as fellow bloggers is to keep tabs on you and contribute where necessary espaecilly where we feel that you might be going loco...lol
You wil be fine hon....no can get u where u want to be aprt from yourself(and BABA GOD of course)....so go get whats yours!!

Naapali said...

Life undacova finally catches up on u hence the desire to spill your guts.

So what is this new career path you are embarking on? do you get a double O license at the end of it?

re not strangling your boss; keep your hands in your pocket in his presence. It is a scientific fact that no one has strangled another whilst keeping their hands in their pockets.

UndaCovaSista said...

@Jaycee - I do appreciate what i've been through because if i hadnt experienced discontent, i probably wouldnt have looked deeper within to find out what i was really passionate about...

Right, and should i say it out loud or in my mind...or should i sneak up behind him and yell it in his ears (i know which one i'd rather do):)

@bitchy - glad to see you're back and blogging..i do enjoy reading about your travels and escapades :)

Re: People's reaction to your leaving your job, i know exactly what you mean. I got the same reaction when i quit the job i make reference to in the post. No, i tell a lie..EVERYONE thought i was crazy! I'm happy you realised it before getting sucked into the rat race. Stick to your guns and the best will come...

@Arewa - I'M GOING! I'M GOING!...You've got me all fired up now. Lol!..Seriously,thanks...

@Naapali - but i like being Superwoman :)

Well i suppose you could say i get a licence to dig into people's minds - It's a Psychotherapy and Counselling course

Sound advice about the hands, but i dont know...they seem to develop a life of their own when i'm around this guy. The other day i walked up behind him as he was sitting at his desk and of their own volition my hands stretched out towards his scrawny neck. Just as i was about to grip it, he turned round, and i had to pretend i'd been reaching for a book on the shelf above him. See..?

Carlang said...

In alotofways i suppose we all are imposters.
lol.
I'm kinda going through the same thing.
I am about to revamp my life.
I want to do things i want to do.
Work at places i am intersted in.
Vist those blog sites that i hold dear...

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Abeg oh, keep your hands off your boss, oh! Please!

lol! Take care!


NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE...

UndaCovaSista said...

@carlang - that is my message to the youth of today - BE AUTHENTIC! If that is the goal then there will be no need to impost or impose...or whatever the verb form of imposter is ...

@Solomondsydelle - My sister, e go hard o..!

Naijachic said...

Thotful post, for me I think its my niger background where conservative reigns most and for fear of winches et al, we are raised not to appreciate/receive priases/commendations....i was like that chic, but am learning to appreciate myself and receive praises for whatever my name is mentioned-whether i did the deed directly or not!

as for strangling: get some ropes first, tehn we'll gist, in private, wink...

Atutupoyoyo said...

Undacova baby you are armed forthwith - with a chainsaw. Up until this point in your horror movie you have been battling these zombies with little more than your wits and tiny lil fists - ducking and diving when you can but never really confronting them directly.

You see, we are, many of us, living in our own private horror movie. We start out on the road trip of our life with the aim of reaching our grand destination in one piece. Sadly we break down along the way and get stuck in some small town somehwere with some creepy inhabitants. They act kinda strange and do shit really different from you. You tell yourself you are just passing through and that you will eventually move on and get to your final stop. Slowly the locals start turning against you and you have to fend for yourself, all the while trying to escape this godforsaken town.

Some people never leave this cursed town. They run and hide all their lives, never reaching their final destinations. They pray for intervention - a dagger, a shotgun, a chainsaw. Anything that will allow them to start fighing back and facilitate escape.

Undacova baby, in registering for a course that is tailored to your life interests, you have finally found that damn chainsaw. You will soon escape your small town. No more will you have to deal with the mindless zombies. The bright lights of your final destination, and salvation, beckon.

A life where one does not activel pursue one's passions is no life at all.

30+ said...

4 years!!! Much respect o.

Lemme go and do another round of evaluation.

J Adamthwaite said...

I related to this a lot. Not that I'm in any way successful, but on a smaller scale, I get this.

Like you, I'm the listener, and I've been surprised by the emotional honesty of my own blog posts. Perhaps it is our listener-ness that gives us the desire to blog. Certainly I have always kept diaries, which meant I never felt much need to off-load on anyone else... or maybe it happened the other way round. It's the chicken and the egg thing.

UndaCovaSista said...

@naijachic - Ropes, enhn? Me i'm not there o..! :)

@Atutu - I love this analogy!!! V. nicely done, chuck. Can i borrow it (lol)?

You've said it all...i fought the inhabitants for years and years, but i'm taking my life back..NOW!

@30+ - It's 3hrs a week for the foundation course and then 1 full day per week, so don't let fear catch you, m'dear :)

@J - I wouldn't describe myself as successful either (yet),but what is success really? I think it's one of those relative terms...

It's always nice to find a kindred spirit! I've kept diaries on and off, over the years and have always found writing in them to be therapeutic...When you figure out which came first - the chicken or the egg, let me know 'cos i'm none the wiser too :)

Afrobabe said...

My only advice to refrain from killing the man is to pischore him naked and imagine what a tiny thing he has..my new boss used to be my friend till we both got promoted..he became boss I took over from him...the fool changed over night...I keep pischoring how tiny his dick must be for him to be gay...

thats the only way I remain smiling...

guerreiranigeriana said...

um, wow...atutupoyoyo is what's up!!!...my God!!!...well said...your comments as of late have been really intriguing...you stir things within me with your words...*remembering that she is on undacovasista's blog...clears her throat*...

...great post!!!...you are probably better than most who don't realize that they are impostors...how much worse for them...i'm an impostor too!!...i really want to lead a leisurely artist's life (as a writer and freelance photographer) who does community work (health related)with my excess money...in the meantime i feign excitement about the prospect of working a 9-5 traditional job (to gain experience and credibility or something like that)...i pretend to be an innocent, sweet tame girl while i know deep down that had i not been raised mormon by nigerian parents, i would have been something else and very sexually, er, experienced...

...welcome...i'll send your card so you can get into the impostor mixer in a few weeks...:)

Florida of Free Spirit said...

my dear, no be only u o. well, maybe my job is nothing impressive, but my boss is also very irritating. d woman choses days speak 2 me, those to shout at me, & those to play with me. she is so unpredictable (& not at all in a nice way). well, am gone 4rm her now, thank God! just follow ur heart & do d thing u know u'd b happy with. Life is too short to live 4 bills