Friday 28 May 2021

Imposter syndrome and the pitfalls of faking it ‘til you make it

Imposter syndrome, the feeling that you’re not good enough and that you’ve reached where you are by chance, is often experienced by people in the workplace. Perhaps you believe you’re a fraud and are afraid you’re going to be caught out and even lose your job. Maybe you’ve just started a new job or you’ve been given a promotion at your present place of work but you’re worried that you won’t be able to do the job properly.

Imposter syndrome can arouse a range of negative thoughts and emotions such as a lack of self-confidence, anxiety, stress and even depression if it isn’t nipped in the bud. These kinds of emotions can play havoc with your mental and physical wellbeing and can lead to more serious, long-term illness.

You’ve probably heard the term 'faking it ‘til you make it' which many people refer to when they are feeling out of their depth in their job. Although there are occasions when it’s good to remain positive, putting yourself through intense situations that you feel you’re unprepared for can be a detrimental tactic that will lead to trouble in the long run.

Why faking it is a poor option

If you constantly suffer in silence and pretend that you’re coping when you’re not, there’s a good chance you’ll start making mistakes at work. Not only can a lack of sleep due to severe stress and anxiety play a part in your downfall but you could end up destroying relationships with colleagues who might begin to resent you for not doing the job properly.

How to deal with imposter syndrome

There are ways, however, that you can overcome the debilitating effects of imposter syndrome and even become confident in your role.

It’s inevitable when starting a new job that there are going to be learning curves and it’s likely that your boss will be aware of this. Firstly, admit to yourself that you’re struggling before you admit this to your boss. What’s worse, having a slightly bruised ego or continuing along your present path of mental suffering? Before you speak to your boss, identify the main problems you’re having and try to think of a solution.

Maybe there’s one particular area that’s causing you the most stress so suggest to your boss that they give you extra training or sign you up for a course. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how your boss handles the situation and they might even suggest alternative solutions before you do. Management at work have a duty to look after their staff’s mental wellbeing so they should be approachable and understanding. Just imagine the weight that will be lifted once you get your concerns off your chest, and that alone could save you many sleepless nights and anxiety.

Once you’re in a better place emotionally and mentally, you’ll find that other tasks you were struggling with become a little easier because you feel more confident and are focusing more clearly.

According to studies by the American Psychological Association, seven out of ten people suffer from imposter syndrome. Remember that imposter syndrome is more common than you think, and you are not alone in believing that you’re a fake.

Friday 14 May 2021

Ways of coping with job insecurity

In light of Covid-19, there are millions of people across the globe who will have suffered from job insecurity. Although sometimes it can be comforting to know that others are going through something similar to us, it doesn’t always resolve these unpredictable types of situation.

Whether you’re self-employed and have lost essential clients or have been furloughed by your present employer, the fear of losing your job will undoubtedly be playing on your mind. Needless to say, this ongoing anxiety and stress can affect your mental and physical wellbeing in a manner of ways. Research by the Department of Psychology at the University of Oviedo looked at the relationship between job insecurity and mental health and found that: “coping strategies play a moderating role”.

It’s natural for us humans to want a sense of security, especially when we need money to pay the bills and put food on the table, but what can we do when we feel like the rug might be pulled from underneath us at any given moment?

Ways to deal with job insecurity

  1. Try to gain perspective and not overly worry before events occur. Although it’s easier said than done, by keeping a positive mindset, you will suffer less from anxiety and feel more prepared to deal with any eventuality.
  2. Take time to look at your situation and imagine the worst-case scenario then start to put plans into place. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have already dealt with any negative outcomes mentally and be in a better state of mind should it occur in reality.
  3. If you are still employed, up your game at work by taking on more responsibilities as this will not only make you more invaluable, but it will also keep you focused on the present moment.
  4. Whether you’re currently furloughed or in still in employment, try growing your skillset. As well as making yourself more desirable for a future role if you do face unemployment, it will add more strings to your bow and make you feel more confident.
  5. Don’t forget to take time out for pampering your mental and physical wellbeing. By practising activities such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness, you will significantly reduce your levels of stress and anxiety, which will help you cope with job insecurity.
  6. Even if you’re not yet in a position where you need to seek alternative work, update your CV and keep a look out for other opportunities. This will put you ahead of the game and you will feel less helpless and desperate should you suddenly face redundancy.