“It seems that you have the imposter syndrome” told me a good friend of mine when I was talking about my new job, which I didn’t think I would get. I had never heard about it before, and it was until Grace Hopper 2008 that I heard about it again.
I was very surprised to see the room full, even with people standing for the Imposter Panel. My initial thought was: Do all of these women share my feelings? And it was confirmed when the moderator started the panel with the question: “Who has felt as an impostor in her life?” And everyone raised their hands. I was even more surprised to hear that these feelings were very common in WISE women.
The panellist were successful, recognized women in industry and academia. One by one, the panellists completed the sentence: “I feel an imposter when...”
These are some of their answers:
- I am in new situations (new school, new job, etc.).
- I don’t understand what people are talking about.
- I get asked to do things I don’t feel qualified for.
- I do something that successful people do.
- I do something that women don’t often do.
One of the panellists shared that she used to feel an impostor attending a math conference (1975), giving a talk (1980) or meeting Nobel laureates (2000) but she does not feel like that anymore in those circumstances. However, has attended lots of conferences and given many talks without that feeling. However, she still feels and impostor meeting philanthropists and asking for large amounts of funding for her University.
If you have ever felt as an imposter, you know by now that you’re not the only one. Is there a “cure” for this syndrome? In the next post I will tell you what the panellists have done to deal with it.
Keep tuned and share your “imposter” stories!