We were just talking about this at work

There are a three new people on my team at work. Two of them have a decade or more of experience in the field and one is in sort of an expanded intern program and is “drinking from a firehose” as she is coming up to speed. A week or two ago the newbie expressed some insecurities about her being able to contribute and one of the experienced guys reassured her and told her about “Imposter Syndrome” and said that he feels that and probably everyone does. Nearly everyone on the team jumped in to reassure the newbie that she is doing extremely well (she is) and had their own little stories about how they feel insecure about various aspects of their ability to do their job.

XKCD gives us another example:

Impostor Syndrome

9 thoughts on “We were just talking about this at work

  1. Truth. It is the story of my life. Seriously I don’t think I am actually that smart or capable and then people look at something I do and go “Holy Shit.” I’m just like it’s not that special, I’ve seen bigger more complicated things.

  2. How do you determine between when the expression of those insecurities is normal and healthy, and when it crosses the line into a weak person fishing for compliments?

    I find that I’m fairly tolerant of this the first time or two, but much beyond that – if my reassurances or attempts to provide assistance/remediation have been dismissed in favor of continued complaining – I become fairly disgusted and disinterested in assuring or helping that person any further. And it doesn’t seem to help them at that point anyway. The examples of this I’ve had to deal with are usually caused by deeply rooted problems like Daddy issues which I can’t fix as a leader in the work environment.

    • My threshold is a close match to yours. It also depends on the interval between the expressions and if there is some new data point that may have materially changed things.

  3. Sometimes it is less about how much you know and your ability to apply it but more of a matter of knowing enough that you realize how much you DON’T know.

  4. As my father used to say: “The more you know, you know you know; you know you know the less.” Being confident in your knowledge and skills is not a bad thing even though there is a lot of social pressure to level everyone to the lowest common denominator, hence a lot of the false humility and the active posturing to appear less than what you are. That said, there is much to be learned from many people and sometimes the greater learning and increase in skill and knowledge comes from sharing and teaching. A thoughtful question goes a long way to opening doors to increasing skills and knowledge. Thoughtless questions, statements and compliment fishing lead to little help and try the patience of even the saints.

  5. Yeah, at some point, after you sift through all the social issues, it has to boil down to honesty. If you have the discernment ability to see solutions to problems, then by extension you also have the discernment ability to see the fact that you see those solutions.

    Plenty of people are delusional, and so they think they have solutions that don’t actually have, but right there it has come to dishonesty. One can lie to one’s self, and even have one’s self convinced, but a lie is still a lie no matter how successful.

    What one WANTS to believe is the pivot point there, and on that matter we have been horribly deceived as a society. Let’s look at the wonderful lyrics of songs. Here is but one example, from decades ago, and which was fed to every child in America and many children around the world;

    When a star is born
    They possess a gift or two
    One of them is this
    They have the power to make a wish come true
    When you wish upon a star
    Makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires will come to you
    If your heart is in your dream
    No request is too extreme
    When you wish upon a star
    As dreamers do
    Fate is kind
    She brings to those who love
    The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
    Like a bolt out of the blue
    Fate steps in and sees you through
    When you wish upon a star
    Your dreams come true
    When you wish upon a star
    Makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires will come to you
    If your heart is in your dream
    No request is too extreme
    When you wish upon a star
    As dreamers do
    Fate is kind
    She brings to those who love
    The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
    Like a bolt out of the blue
    Fate steps in and sees you through
    When you wish upon a star
    Your dreams come true

    “Fate” in the persona of a woman, magic fulfillment of worldly desires, “no request is too extreme”, so long as the desire is strong enough, secret longings, and a touch of Pan theism thrown in. It’s Luciferian on all counts, it encourages the most pathological delusion, and we’ve been raised since childhood to think of it as beautiful and good. Our parents fed it to us as well, thinking it sweet and cute and good.

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