Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace
This past summer, I had the opportunity of interning at a law firm. The solicitors in the firm were predominantly male, and I was only one of the four girls working there. I instantly felt an overwhelming, odd sense of Imposter Syndrome – a psychological phenomenon of feeling undeserving in some aspect of our lives.
Most of the time, we feel like we do not belong, as if we are outsiders, and we constantly question if we are deserving of accolades, thus prompting a detriment in our self-esteem. We ask ourselves questions like, “Why am I here?” and “What gives me the right to be here?,” constantly downplaying and sabotaging our own successes.
This experience has also been known to be primarily focused on females, as gender inequality still very much exists and women are not as respected as males in their fields.
Women with Imposter Syndrome
Very successful women have also admitted to experiencing Imposter Syndrome, ranging from our former first lady Michelle Obama to Hollywood actress Emma Watson. In professional workplaces however, the notion of who is most accomplished is known for being culturally unreliable and biased.
There have been enduring systems of “the white man” being superior.
However, it’s still unclear what’s causing Imposter syndrome, but it’s an extremely widespread issue in cultures that, “value overworking and individualism.” In fact, those with the personality traits of perfectionism, low self-efficacy, and a higher level of anxiety, have a higher risk of feeling inadequate, especially in new environments with a lot of pressure to succeed.
Individuality & Independence
Solutions to this problem are not definite, but we can take baby steps to mitigate these effects. For example, we should not compare ourselves to others, otherwise, we will find ourselves spiraling into a dark hole of, “I am not good enough for this world.” Additionally, our use of social media truly plays a huge role, as many portray themselves on social media in ways that do not match who they actually are, covering up the hardships in their lives, which will make the audience believe they are inferior, exacerbating the feelings of being a fraud.
Most importantly, do not let our experience of Imposter Syndrome hinder us from achieving our true potential. This message has been repeated countlessly, but it is true. I sincerely urge you not to stop because you are where you are meant to be.
Female Empowerment in the Workplace
Company leaders and leaders in general must foster a supportive work culture so we can mitigate Imposter syndrome experiences and help girls channel self-doubt into motivation. If you feel like you do not feel competent enough, and that others feel the same way about you, even if you keep working hard, others will eventually uncover the truth about you.
Moreover, we must keep in mind that as females that feel like an imposter, this signifies that we have some degree of success in our lives to be feeling this way, and we should be grateful. Let others see the true you.
Click here to check out ways to stay positive and true to yourself. Don’t let work weigh you down!
Here’s some more information on Women in the Workplace.