How to overcome Imposter Syndrome
April 18, 2013
I guess pretty much all researchers must suffer from Imposter Syndrome every now and then — the sense of not really belonging, not knowing enough, not getting enough done to justify our position. I particularly remember feeling this after being awarded my Ph.D: the sense that I couldn’t possibly know enough about enough to be worthy of it. Even now, several years down the line, I sometimes look at my papers and think, pfft, there’s nothing to them, anyone could have done that.
I thought of this tonight because of a a tweet I just saw from M. J. Suhonos, Digital Technologies Development Librarian at Ryerson University:
And the advice I gave in response:
The reason I say this is because a few days ago I did a phone interview for a news piece, and was sort of surprised to find myself talking confidently and fluently, just like someone who knows what he’s talking about. Until I realised that’s what always happens when I do an interview. And that’s because, well, heck, I do know my subject (otherwise why would they even be talking to me?)
And I bet you know your subject, too. You just need to see your own knowledge against the backdrop of what a normal person knows.
Meanwhile, as a contribution to John Conway’s superb “grumpy Hypsilophodon” meme, I give you: this.