Impostor Syndrome: Are Women Secretly Sabotaging Their Careers?

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  • woman-work-scaredIt is no secret that many women deal with insecurities when it comes to climbing the ladder of success at some point in their career. Many of these insecurities are steeped in the history of women not always being on equal-playing levels with men in corporate America. It also includes fewer opportunities for women and, equally as disturbing, less pay. These issues, despite many years of legal reform to combat it, tend to affect the psyche of women and minorities in the workplace and beyond.

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    Impostor Syndrome is defined as:

    The psychological experience of believing that one’s accomplishments came about not through genuine ability, but as a result of having been lucky, having worked harder than others or having manipulated other people’s impressions.

    According to a 2012 Huffington Post Article, several notable women such as Tina Fey, Maya Angelou and Sheryl Sandberg have admitted to dealing with Impostor Syndrome at some point in their careers.

    Why would such accomplished women belittle their careers by thinking their success is a product of luck and not ability and talent? Is it humility disguised as self-deprecation? Is it a survival skill utilized to stroke the egos of those who sign checks and retain employment? Or is it a culmination of years of being told you were less than, not quite enough, or not the best at what you do?

    I believe it is a little bit of all three, because I have been guilty of Impostor Syndrome as well on several jobs.

    One firm in particular, I was totally not myself. I showed up to work every day with the personality of “Helen.” Helen is a good girlfriend of mine who is smart, pretty, successful and just plain old nice. She has a kind word for everyone and every time I see her, she has a smile on her face.

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