When I was about 5 or 6 years old my big sister was 13. I idolised her, but she hated my guts. Once in a while I got to sit in her room for a bit. Maybe she had forgotten I was there, or she tolerated my presence a moment. She’d be listening to music and I was afraid to even breathe. If I did the wrong move she’d notice me, get angry and kick me out.
Nowadays I get to hang out with my sister, but that feeling hasn’t left me. It resurfaces in work-related situations. Often when I get a job I hold my breath and wait to be kicked out again. I’ve never been fired, but many jobs have been short-term, or I was there to fill in for somebody else.
It didn’t matter that I knew it was for a shorter period of time, it was still disappointing having to leave. Even if I didn’t like the job I wondered, “Why don’t they want to keep me?”
The Imposter Syndrome
There is something called “the imposter syndrome”. I don’t know if it’s an actual term, but it means you are waiting to be found out. One day the boss will understand you lack the competence needed for your job, and he/she will kick you out.
Maybe everybody feels like this at times: either waiting to be kicked out, found out or both. During my favourite theatre projects in the 90’s I was sure I’d be asked to leave any day. Thankfully I got to stay.
Right now in my life I am trying to claim my space. I don’t have a job, but I hope to find or create one. Fear of failure is strong, but even stronger is the longing.
I long to find my place.
Somewhere I get to stay and thrive.
Somewhere, were I can feel at home.
Where my talents are sought after.
Oh God how I long for that place.
I know the feeling. I had that “Impostor feeling” every day for 3-4 years when I worked at an IT company. You know which one… I hated myself for doubting myself. But then one day I “woke up”, said/shouted angrily at myself: You have done this for several years now! Maybe you were an imposter in the beginning but now you know it! You do it every day! Stupid idiot! Stop it! And so, in a blink, the Impostor feeling was gone. I knew my job description. And I have never felt it since. I think it is very common to feel like that. You are not alone.
I haven’t really come to the imposter stage, because I’ve never got to stay long enough at a job 🙂 But I know it’s quite common. It was just an example of the weird things we tell ourselves.
I meant to say that my negative feeling has to do with never being allowed in. I haven’t had a steady job since 1991. That’s why I have asked myself, why not me? Even though I knew from the beginning I couldn’t stay I still hoped they’d ask…
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