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Fake it ‘Till You Make It: We’re eating our young in the Workplace

So, you go to college, get a good job, and start working as a young professional. However, you show up everyday feeling like you’re winging it, just doing things to get by, or not performing at the level of your peers. Well, whether you know it or not, this is called Imposter Syndrome. It is […]

So, you go to college, get a good job, and start working as a young professional. However, you show up everyday feeling like you’re winging it, just doing things to get by, or not performing at the level of your peers. Well, whether you know it or not, this is called Imposter Syndrome. It is defined as the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills. Basically, it means you don’t believe your success is due to hard work, but rather luck. It turns out, this is a condition that tends to widely affect the young workforce. 

Well, the percentage of people who say they don’t know what it is and have not experienced it, is the same! For men and women, 76% say they did not know what Imposter Syndrome was. The same percentage, for both genders, also say they have not experienced it before. Well, just a thought, maybe you don’t feel like you’ve experienced it, because you didn’t know what it was. However, 60% of people did say they felt others viewed them as more competent than they actually were. So, it turns out, more people are actually experiencing this! 

For both men and women, 1 in 5 say they feel more pressure to work longer and harder to keep up with their peers. A great deal of people feel as though they are underperforming at work, regardless of their consistent success at work. If you constantly have that feeling that you are not doing enough, working long enough, contributing to the team enough you most likely are suffering from Imposter Syndrome. 

Here’s a reassuring point: you were hired for a reason! For most, you either went to school or have work experience that makes you an expert in your field. Own it! You bring something to the table, that your company or organization needs. 

Now back to the facts! For young professionals, Imposter Syndrome is especially daunting. In fact, another survey conducted by Accountemps shows that workers under age 34 are the most overtaxed group of all. 64% of millennials report feeling overwhelmed at work daily. After graduating from school or entering the workforce, people are going into jobs as the “young and naive” kids who are just starting out.

Older workers may say things like “Oh you millennials think you know everything”, “You haven’t put in the time.”, “I’ve been in this industry for 30 years!”. These comments don’t make feeling adequate any easier, but young professionals have to push past this. 

If you’re wondering “How?”, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Here are a few ways you can combat Imposter Syndrome and feel more confident in your workplace. 

  • Redefine competence and success for yourself: First, you must remind yourself, that you’re never going to be perfect. If you equate success with perfection or not failing, then you will prevent yourself from learning and growing. To make this shift happen, you have to change your self-talk. When you feel overwhelmed by a task, tell yourself “Wow, I’m going to learn a lot!” or “I can’t wait to add something new to my skill set!”. This will help you approach tasks with more confidence. 
  • Validate your skills: Write down a list of your accomplishments. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what you’ve done and who you are. Your education, internships, previous job/career are all accomplishments. It’s time to have a sassy “Do you know who I am?” moment. It’s okay to be proud of yourself!
  • Exude confidence: Even if you are nervous, you can’t physically show it. Depending on the person, this can take a lot of practice, but it’s necessary to exude confidence through your body language. People can sense when you are anxious or tense. This in is itself can raise questions about your abilities. 

Even if you have previously or are currently experiencing Imposter Syndrome, look at this as a fresh start. You can approach your career with a new attitude, and begin to thoroughly enjoy your current position. Despite your belief or others, you have worked hard to get here! Now, it’s time to believe that.

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