Managing imposter syndrome
If you’re taking your first steps into development you may have a nagging feeling like you don’t belong. Or that you’re failing because you don’t know ‘enough’ in your chosen field. You’re not alone.
Here’s how to recognise what you’re feeling, that it’s normal, and some strategies to feel better.
You don’t need to know everything, about everything
You may be overthinking small mistakes. Feeling lost in meetings because there are terms and tools you’ve not heard before. Maybe you feel guilty for having to reluctantly ask for help after spending time googling, knowing that it must be something simple. And to make it worse, feeling like you’re falling farther and farther behind as the tech world moves on.
There is so much to learn about how things work in tech now, and things are constantly changing. Instead of comparing yourself to the seniors on your team use it as motivation to learn more from those around you.
Not every request is an emergency
Even if you don’t have deadlines to meet, facing your team’s ticket queue or backlog of projects can seem overwhelming. You may not be managing the workflow but watching them piling up is stressful. You know you can’t whizz through and get everything ticked off in a day because you don’t have all the answers.
Even though the ticket is assigned to you, it’s not completely up to you to complete it. Your team are there to help you with a code review at the very least, but in most teams, it’s a collaborative effort and not all tasks are an emergency.
Leave work at work
You may not realise it but it’s easy to let anxious feelings about work follow you home. On your walk to work, walking home, even sitting on the couch after dinner. You may even fall into bed thinking about work, even if nothing bad has happened. Take time to disconnect from your work-life each day and do something else that refreshes your mind and makes you happy. Leaving work at work and focussing on all the other great things you have going on will keep things in perspective.
Remember the good stuff
All too often we put pressure on ourselves to learn the next new thing on our wishlist of tools and technologies. But how often do you celebrate what you’ve learned so far?
Start a list of all the new things you’ve learned and the technologies you’re using. When you put that on paper it reminds you that you are capable of learning new tools and how far you’ve come.
You’re doing great
At some stage, everyone feels a little like an imposter. But you don’t need to be overwhelmed by it. When you feel overwhelmed know you can talk to your manager and your team. They’ve been right where you are too, and may still feel like an imposter sometimes themselves.
The important thing is to give yourself a break, you’re doing great.