Everyone knows it. You are an impostor. You only got your job out of luck and your colleagues are all better qualified than you. So you work overtime to try to stay afloat, but it is only a matter of time before someone discovers the big fraud. Does this sound familiar?
If so, you could also suffer from the so-called “imposter syndrome”, a concept that has never been as popular as it is now.
According to a recent article by The Guardian, Imposter syndrome was originally defined in 1978 as the situation where “despite outstanding accomplishments, women [persist] in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise”. This isn’t news. While the topic is important, it has been slowly introduced into public discourse. What is so significant about it?
Well, as something that more often than not affects women – a recent study showed that 66% of women had experienced it, compared with just over half of men – perhaps it isn’t surprising it isn’t taken particularly seriously.
In her now famously best seller book “Lean In” Sheryl Sandberg writes about a very real wage-gap problem and immeasurable obstacles that women face at the workplace and in life. Women also contend with their interiorized preconceived notions of what they may or may not be able to accomplish, often not believing they could because they weren’t expected to. Here’s an interview about it with Oprah.
In a world dominated by men, it is not uncommon for women to feel underappreciated and cornered in work and life. Historically, certain realms have remained prevalently male-dominated, but things are changing too.
From Hollywood to the workplace, women are trying more and more to get to managerial positions, and not just supporting roles. Studies have shown that companies perform better with more women in decision-making positions.
Even in traditionally male-dominated industries, we are starting to see a big influx of women. For instance, in the booming gaming industry, which is 8th in the world, Canadian Casino online is definitely on the rise where 54% of all players are actually women.
Regardless of the field of occupation, it is necessary to start thinking that no line of work, passion or sport should be classifiable as only designed for men. It is time to shake history and bring about change in our work, home, and personal space. It is time to claim this space and stop doubting about oneself and beat the imposter syndrome once and for all by doing what Sanberg brilliantly calls “sitting at the table”.
According to well-known studies also reported in The Atlantic, despite the obvious competency of women in the workplace, “ men around us have continued to get promoted faster and be paid more”.
If this is clearly indicative of an endemic system, it is also true that there is a way to combat this.
When Sheryl Sandberg refers to “sitting at the table” she means it both in a metaphorical and physical way. At board meetings, men will not have an issue taking up space and voicing their opinions regardless of competency. Women, on the other hand, will doubt themselves more before speaking and will often participate and sit marginally, at the sides of the table.
Sheryl Sandberg encourages us all to “sit at the table”, seek those challenges, and take risks and fiercely pursue our goals. The first way to combat imposter syndrome is recognizing our own pattern of behavior and believing that we deserve that sit.