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‘Impostor syndrome’: a gift or a curse?

0 2 years ago

After my first day on the breaking news desk at The Age two weeks ago, I left the office feeling like a fugitive on the lam.

And yet as I rushed home, I couldn’t shake the fear that I had somehow weaselled my way into the role, that any day now someone would run into the newsroom, point at me and shout, “she doesn’t belong here!”

If this nightmare sounds familiar, then you have officially joined the dreaded “impostor syndrome” club. Get comfortable, it can be hard to revoke your membership.

Impostor syndrome is the inability to accept that you have been offered a job or promotion because you truly were the best candidate. It’s the innate refusal to recognise your own professional merit and capabilities, that nagging voice in the back of your mind that tells you that you’re an unqualified fraud.

It’s not the best feeling.

Impostor syndrome can hit anyone, any time, anywhere – no matter which sector you work in. My sister is an award-winning teacher, yet she still regularly tells me she feels like she’s leagues behind her colleagues.

It’s easy to believe that you’re the only person feeling this way because so few people openly talk about it. We’re conscious of the identity we curate for ourselves, and we don’t want to tarnish our put-together facade.

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