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First Job Jitters: Useful Ways of Conquering Imposter Syndrome

Conquering Imposter Syndrome

The transition from the academic world to professional life can be a real struggle, especially for fresh graduates who are still trying to navigate adulthood.

It also brings forth a unique set of challenges that one needs to overcome. A hurdle that many individuals face when stepping into their first job is experiencing imposter syndrome. This insistent self-doubt in the early years of the career has the potential to mess with a person’s confidence as well as impede their ability to thrive in their new role. Therefore, conquering imposter syndrome is vital for a successful profession. 

In this article, we will explore the concept of imposter syndrome, and understand its impact on individuals. Furthermore, we will discuss strategies for overcoming it. 

Understanding Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a behavioral health phenomenon where a person has a persistent feeling of inadequacy. This also comes with the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Generally, these people think that they are undeserving of high esteem or achievements despite having concrete evidence of competence and success. 

This happens when a person has an internalized belief that every accomplishment is a result of luck or other external factors, rather than skills and ability. While imposter syndrome is not a diagnosable mental illness, having such thoughts can significantly impede one’s growth. In fact, imposter syndrome is common and up to 82% of individuals are likely to experience this at some point in their lives.  

For those who are just starting their first job, imposter syndrome can be particularly challenging. Having a job concurrently brings along increased responsibilities and changes. Aside from that, there are higher expectations, and problems you have not encountered before that you must now solve. 

This sudden shift, together with the fear of not measuring up to the standards, can make individuals doubt their new position altogether. True enough, this creates a significant barrier to achieving success. 

Moreover, conquering Imposter syndrome is important. Also, it can help you become

Common imposter patterns

Imposter syndrome can manifest in different ways. Consequently, the patterns reflect our unique personalities and the pressures we face. In conquering imposter syndrome, you must recognise the pattern of thoughts and behaviors you have when experiencing the phenomenon. To illustrate the patterns, Dr. Valerie Young, who is an expert on this matter, categorised imposter syndrome in five types. These types are: 

1. The Superhuman

There are people who believe that they landed a job because of pure luck. To cover up their insecurities and feelings of being a ‘faker’, they push themselves beyond what they can handle. This type of imposter syndrome is manifested by first time workers who are always trying to be the hardest worker. They also think that by putting in extra effort or taking on additional tasks, they can match the achievements of their colleagues. Moreover, they become dependent on external validation rather than on finding satisfaction in the work itself. 

To know if you are this type, assess yourself if you struggle with: 

  • Difficulty delegating tasks 
  • Neglecting your personal needs 
  • Always thinking of work outside of working hours 

2. The Soloist

We often hear people say that teamwork makes the dream work. However, there are people who struggle to come to terms with the fact that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Soloists perceive collaboration as a reflection of their own inadequacy. Consequently, they choose to work alone to conceal their insecurities and maintain a sense of “control” over their work. This fear of reaching out for help leads to a reluctance to ask questions and ultimately results in isolation. 

People experiencing this type of imposter phenomenon struggles with: 

  • Collaboration  
  • Fear of rejection 
  • Reluctance to seek support 

3. The Perfectionist

Success is satisfying especially when we take into account the hard work that came with it. With people experiencing the perfectionist imposter syndrome though, success is rarely satisfying. Individuals afflicted by this type constantly question whether they could have done something differently to improve the outcome. They set unreasonably high standards for themselves and are haunted by small factors, which are neither productive nor healthy. Also, they find it challenging to acknowledge their own capabilities and instead attribute their accomplishments to other factors.  

These individuals are used to: 

  • Self-criticise 
  • Have unreasonable fear of failure 
  • Setting unrealistic expectations 

4. The Expert

Individuals who exhibit the expert pattern of imposter syndrome tend to believe that they must possess complete knowledge before starting any task. In a professional context, it is characterised by an overwhelming need to be an all-knowing authority before undertaking any task. These individuals place an excessive emphasis on their own perceived level of expertise. This becomes the basis of their competence. 

The expert type of imposters has a problem in: 

  • Procrastination 
  • Analysis paralysis  
  • Taking on unfamiliar tasks 

5. The Natural Genius

In professional settings, it is not uncommon to find individuals with this type of imposter syndrome. Like the perfectionists, these people have exceptionally high standards for themselves. However, they perceive competence as an inherent trait. Because of this, they hold the misguided belief that completing tasks should come effortlessly. They push themselves to excel with minimal exertion on their first attempt. Furthermore, they associate hard work with incompetence. Consequently, when they fall short of their expectations, feelings of panic and shame overwhelm them. 

Knowing if you are Natural Genius, try to evaluate yourself if you: 

  • Fear mistakes 
  • Avoid challenges 
  • Downplay accomplishments 

Imposter syndrome can manifest in different ways, reflecting our unique personalities and the pressures we face.

Consequently, conquering Imposter syndrome is important.

Impact of Imposter Syndrome on Professional Growth

Conquering Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome can have detrimental effects on both personal well-being and professional development. Here are some ways it affects individuals in their first job: 

1. Undermined Confidence

Imposter syndrome erodes a person’s confidence, which generally causes them to doubt their abilities and worthiness for the job. Because of this, they find it difficult to make decisions. Some even become unwilling to upskill, ultimately impeding their professional growth. 

2. Burnout

The constant need for validation inevitably leads to exhaustion and burnout. Individuals grappling with imposter syndrome often feel compelled to constantly prove themselves. This becomes the reason for overworking and neglecting self-care altogether. This cycle can also lead to physical and mental exhaustion. Furthermore, it compromises their overall well-being and job performance. 

3. Strained Relationships

Imposter syndrome can surely strain relationships within the workplace. The fear of being exposed as a fraud can result in social withdrawal. This makes it challenging for individuals to establish effective working relationships with colleagues and superiors. Also, this isolation can hinder collaboration and the overall productivity of the team. 

Conquering Imposter Syndrome

Addressing and conquering imposter syndrome is not easy. It requires self-awareness, positive mindset shifts, and practical strategies. But there are ways to beat the imposter within and thrive in your first job. These are some methods you can try 

Acknowledge and accept

Acknowledge that you are feeling the imposter phenomenon. Accept that you are experiencing self-doubt just like the 62% of knowledge workers who are evidently facing unfamiliar situations. Then, understand that these thoughts do not diminish your accomplishments. Try reading online to know that even seasoned professionals have moments of uncertainty. 

Document your wins

Keep a record of your accomplishments, no matter how small they are. Dedicate a part of your journal and put your insights to reflect on your professional journey accordingly. You can also use your phone and upload or keep it to yourself. Doing this will help you reinforce a positive self-image This also lessens the thoughts of being a fraud. 

Set realistic expectations

You are still a newbie, remember that. Do not expect yourself to know everything, particularly when you are in the early stages of your career. Be patient with yourself and understand that it is okay not to have all the answers immediately. Additionally, you can feel your accomplishments better by break down your grand goals into smaller, achievable tasks.  

Practice with your colleagues

If you are having a hard time, try to divert your attention and engage in activities that will boost your self-confidence instead of being frustrated. A great strategy is to practice with your peers, as they can offer a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Ask a close colleague so you can freely ask for assistance and receive constructive feedback.

Focus on the process, not the outcome

Shift your focus from achieving perfection to embracing the process of learning and improvement. However, be open to mistakes and setbacks. View challenges as opportunities for growth rather than as indicators of inadequacy. Proactively seek out learning experiences, training, as well as professional development opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. 

Starting your career is challenging. Imposter syndrome, though common, should not hinder your professional growth.

By understanding the various patterns associated with imposter syndrome and implementing these proactive steps, newbies in the corporate world can navigate the first job blues with confidence and resilience. 

Grow professionally with a dynamic team

Aside from conquering imposter syndrome, a great workplace can significantly help you grow your career. By working with a group of professionals that can provide mentorship and guidance, you can gain valuable insights as well as skills that will propel your career forward.  

DBA has a supportive work environment that fosters collaboration and encourages continuous learning by all means. This allows our people to expand their knowledge and expertise in their respective field. With our state-of-the-art technology and adherence to industry best practices, we can help you conquer the skies. 

At DBA, we understand that overcoming challenges is, without a doubt, not limited to defeating imposter syndrome. We are committed to helping you triumph over any obstacle that may come your way, ensuring that you can build a fulfilling and successful career. 

Picture of Aureen Kyle Mandap, DMP

Aureen Kyle Mandap, DMP

Aureen is a Content Writer for DBA, and a technical and creative writing expert. She is a Certified Digital Marketing Professional with a strong background in SEO copywriting, content marketing, and social media management. Also, Aureen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and has experience in various Human Resource tasks and clinical setting duties.
Picture of Aureen Kyle Mandap, DMP

Aureen Kyle Mandap, DMP

Aureen is a Content Writer for DBA, and a technical and creative writing expert. She is a Certified Digital Marketing Professional with a strong background in SEO copywriting, content marketing, and social media management. Also, Aureen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and has experience in various Human Resource tasks and clinical setting duties.

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