Combating the impostor syndrome
The “impostor syndrome“… is when you’re pretty sure that all the other coders you work with are smarter, more talented and more skilled than you are. You live in fear that people will discover that you are really faking your smarts or skills or accomplishments.
Ever feel like this?
If you do, you’re not alone. But this feeling is not healthy and probably isn’t accurate.
I know people who are like this, and you probably do too. It tends to manifest itself when people feel that they need to work extra hours in order to provide a perceived amount of value that matches the amount of value provided by people working normal hours.
Why does this happen? I believe it’s because people are comparing themselves to others (unhealthy) instead of looking at the amount of value that they do provide (healthy).
Look, if someone gave you a job or put you in a position, they did it because they see value in you and they think that you can do the job. You already convinced them that you can do it!
Now that you are past that point, let’s focus on the value that you provide. I’m guessing that you can probably come up with a list of value you provide at work. For example, maybe you can say that you’re a solid developer, you like helping users, you have a lot of knowledge of system X in your company, and you’re good at using ORM tools.
Think about the last time that someone left your company or your team. It was pain replacing them, wasn’t it? (Well, in some cases maybe that person leaving was a good thing.) But if that guy who left wasn’t a problem, it probably was a lot of work training someone new, learning all of the things that person knew, and trying to make up for the value that walked out the door. (As someone who just took over for someone who left, trust me, I know the feeling!)
Instead of comparing yourself with others, focus on what you’re good at and how you can provide more value! Come up with a plan of something that you want to do to provide value. Write down the steps that you’re going to take to accomplish it. Then when you make it happen, look back and enjoy the good feeling that comes with accomplishing something and providing value.
That’s what matters! That’s what your company wants from you. They don’t want you to be another (insert name here). They want you to be the best version of you that you can be.