Impostor Syndrome

Windy day
Credit: DeviantArt / ZoranPhoto

I’ve rejected a number of posts for today, because I worry that whatever comes next will be taken in the context of this. Because today is a day where the schedule says, write about women, and I think, I should write something positive. And there is so little positive to say about women in tech. The data is bad. The numbers are going down. I got nothing.

And then, I had a conversation with a fabulous woman about shoes. I’m at a tech conference right now, and I’d been feeling slightly out of place. Since I sat on the train and didn’t manage to make conversation. Compounded by walking up a hill in heels and getting left behind, which felt like something of a metaphor.

And then we talked about shoes. Because to be honest, that is my metric for a good tech conference. I meet another woman and we have a conversation about something else entirely. And I talked to other people, had good conversations, made good connections.

Had something of a heart to heart, in the way that you occasionally do as a blogger. When you discover someone and find that you have read some of their writing, and they have read some of yours. And this was notable for me, because I was having this conversation with a dude.

Honestly my network is probably quite dude-lite, considering I work in the tech industry. I meet a lot, but I rarely have such open conversations with them.

I said, thinking I was revealing a terrible secret, that I worry sometimes that I’m less good than I used to be. And he said he felt the same, but that he thought it was normal.

Imagine, my dark secret, normal.

In the tech industry, we talk a lot about the impostor syndrome. But almost as a matter of pride, like, wow, it’s so incredible that we, such clearly brilliant people, sometimes… question our brilliance. That surrounded by other brilliant people we sometimes… feel a little inadequate.

But then when we feel like that, we stop feeling like that and go and be awesome instead.

Thinking about it, a great day’s programming, is when you get a week’s worth of work done in a matter of hours. But a bad week’s programming, is when work that shouldn’t even exist (because you screwed up) takes all week.

This is what makes it addicting. The high highs, the low lows. The unpredictable reward. So we’re probably all having low points on a pretty regular basis (and they last longer than the highs).

Meanwhile, I’ll try and stop feeling inadequate about feeling inadequate… and go and have an awesome time, instead.

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