This is the second and final installment in my series on managing impostor syndrome in a remote world. The first post can be viewed here.
“So, if you ever feel like you can’t handle something, maybe just think about what you’ve already done.” – Rebecca Pearson, This Is Us
I didn’t intend to start this blog with an open admission that I have been sucked into a prime-time drama, but there it is. One line from this week’s episode summed up everything I wanted to say. Almost everyone I know has felt overwhelmed at some point over the last year. That can manifest in any number of ways, and for impostors in a remote world that often means we feel like we haven’t accomplished much.
In my last post, I discussed what we have lost by going remote. We lost several things – but two of them really stood out to me. We lost both a physical presence and a separation of time and space that helped to separate work from our private lives. Those have led to many of us losing focus on the things that matter, and often can lead to a dangerous feedback loop where we constantly question everything.
So what can we do about it?
Focusing on what we have lost won’t help us accomplish anything. In Les Miserables, as the first day of the battle wanes, we hear from the defenders at the barricades. They break into the song, “Drink with Me,” and they reminisce of days gone by. Thinking of what was lost could not change the outcome. French soldiers would return the next day and the battle would ultimately be lost. Similarly, we cannot sit back and look at a past that we can never get back. I would encourage anyone who is living with impostor syndrome to consider a handful of actions to overcome the challenges posed by remote work.
Welcome back readers! I am revisiting my previous series on Impostor Syndrome and looking at how remote work has changed how we live with our insecurity. You can check out the original series here.
"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog gone it, people like me." -- Stuart Smalley
Yes, I know Stuart Smalley wasn’t a licensed therapist, but he did have a mirror and a way of reflecting on himself (even if he was just a character in an SNL skit). While I have never been on SNL, only occasionally get called a character, and am certainly not a licensed therapist – I am an impostor.
For those of you who are new to my blog, you may have missed my previous series on impostor syndrome. If this is your first time here, or if you are just starting to explore and understand impostor syndrome, let me introduce myself. My name is Sean Bulger. I am an IT Pro that works with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. We have all taken different paths to get where we are in life – and my path can definitely be described as different. Stops on my career have included being a paramedic, working as a plumber, a brief period in sales, and a few different stints working in information technology. While this range of careers has provided me a well-rounded skillset, it also leaves me questioning how I got here. Oftentimes I worry about what other people think about me and whether I am qualified to be where I am in my career.
That is the crux of Impostor Syndrome. If we boil it down to its most basic elements, we find that living with impostor syndrome means that we spend a lot of time feeling insecure about things we shouldn’t feel insecure about. When I say that, “I am an impostor,” it is not saying that I am pretending to be something I’m not. Saying those words is an open admission that I frequently feel like I don’t deserve to be at the level I am in my career. Those feelings often lead to a fear of being exposed and a belief that other people can see through me.
In my earlier series, I explored the phenomenon of impostor syndrome in depth. In that five-part series I covered everything from who experiences it, to how we can deal with it, and what it means for our careers. Perhaps the most important thing that I found, both through my research and from talking with others, was that none of us are alone in feeling like we may not be good enough. Blogging and engaging with the community were important in helping me to address my own fears. My journey should serve as proof that sharing your story with others, engaging with a community of like-minded individuals, and finding an outlet for personal development can help to overcome feelings of inadequacy.
My goals at the start of 2020 were high. Running towards those goals meant that I did not have time to worry about what other people thought of me. The positive side effects were obvious. Feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt were replaced by confidence and determination.
I failed to consider what would happen if the world changed in the blink of an eye. If we are being honest, most of us struggled through the first weeks of the pandemic. There will be countless biopics exploring the effects of 2020 on society, but I want to explore one simple question: What does a remote world mean for those of us who feel like impostors?
My name is Sean Bulger. I am an IT Pro that has worked in the Modern Endpoint Management work space since 2015. I have worked in various environment, ranging from mature enterprise all the way down to a fledgling IT organization looking to find their way in a cloud first world. Before rejoining the technology field in 2014 I had a wide range of careers - from plumber to paramedic - that have helped to shape my perspective on the world.