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Ask HN: Do you suffer from imposter syndrome?
3 points by teejayvanslyke on July 30, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments
I've been in the tech industry my entire adult life. My grandpa taught me to program when I was six years old (QuickBASIC!). I'm self-employed and do well for myself. I've worked remotely my entire life and have never had a month where I didn't have paid work.

But month after month, I continue to have this feeling that I'm not good enough. That the industry will inevitably leave me behind and that I'm doomed to eat dog food out of a can in my old age or something.

I'm 31 now, so I definitely have a slightly less euphoric view of the working world than I did when I was 21. I'm more experienced and less willing to take work I know won't be a good fit. But I also feel, well, "old".

How many of you suffer the same delusions? What do you do to cope?

I used to on a daily basis; nowadays it is mostly gone. I got to a point in life where I took over my own narrative from my insecurities a little before turned 40 (about 9 years ago). So empowering.

I have a friend from college who is a former therapist and now life coach who recently wrote a book about this very thing, taking back your narrative. I've been reading it and realize that this is more or less what i figured out how to do.

Her book is called "StoryJacking" and is available free on Amazon Kindle for the next few days. Maybe it will help, who knows?



The only comfort, so far, is learning that this seems to be very, very common among us tech types.

I have coworkers that ask me for help with infra/virtualization stuff that I know well, and they know the programming side of automation better than I do. I'm working to learn it, and deal with the inadequacy feelings all the time.

They tell me they couldn't get by without my knowledge, and to keep going on the automation coding, that I'll figure it out.

Sometimes, I say to myself, "They can say it until they're blue in the face; if I don't believe it, it doesn't matter. It's in one ear, and out the other."

I don't know if I'm really coping. Just continuing to try to learn, and move forward.

My apologies, if it's not the upbeat answer you may have been hoping for. Just trying to be real about it.

Ha! No no, if I were looking for upbeat answers it'd be a bunch of responses saying "Nah, I'm awesome. Every day I know it."

I think it's easy to forget how much knowledge we've gained over the years through our experience. And too, it's difficult to quantify your true potential. Am I part of the top ten percentile? Top fifty? It's pretty vague.

It's probably best to remember that everyone brings their own skills to a project, like you say.

Thanks for responding!

Kinda bummed that I'm the only one that responded to you, so far. I'm sure others are dealing with it, as well.

I'd figured others would be more willing to talk about it.

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