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?