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Ever felt you’re not good enough at your job? Welcome to Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough for the career you have? Do you have a nagging feeling that you’re winging it?

You’re not alone and with many people returning to office work post-pandemic those nagging doubts are ever-stronger. It’s no wonder so many people are dreading going back to work.

In fact, 77 per cent of the UK experience Imposter Syndrome, here are some of the signs:

· Doubting yourself

· Being unable to accurately assess your competence and skills

· Attributing your success to external factors

· Criticising your job performance

· Being afraid of disappointing

What’s more, the pandemic has made many people with imposter syndrome feel worse.

Interestingly, research has found that working from home can mitigate these feelings – according to the University of Nottingham, there was a 75 per cent decrease in feelings of Imposter Syndrome compared to the year before, when we were in the physical office.

Associate Professor Dr. Terri Simpkin at the University of Nottingham commented: “Imposter Phenomenon is related to context and so if the context changes so can experience of Imposterism…It’s socially constructed, so change the social circumstances and the experience may change too.”

This may not be the case for everyone, however, and some workers may have intensified feelings of self-doubt combined with feeling deflated and isolated when working from home. Remotely working for significant periods of time can impact company culture, social integration, and being in the general thrall of it all. You might feel out of the funk and start to doubt your skills when you’re out of the swing of things.

If you feel like your feelings of imposter syndrome have subsided, but you’re worried about them flaring up again upon return to the office following Boris Johnson’s roadmap to normality, here are some tips to get back into the swing of things.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Being so critical of your work performance, even when you do well, can make it hard for you to get some perspective. Here, we look at some steps you can take to overcome imposter syndrome when you get back to the office donning your smartest work suit – in fact, that in itself, can make you feel professional and good about yourself and work.

Facts over feelings

We can be prone to letting emotions override logic. Focusing on facts over feelings can apply well to many different areas of our lives, but particularly imposter syndrome. When you perform well, are given praise, or are generally getting things done, praise yourself for your achievements that you’ve worked hard for. Due to your competence, you’ve succeeded, not because of luck or a fluke. Occasionally there’ll be times where things don’t go to plan for everyone, and that can be disappointing. But when you perform well, don’t gloss over the moments or downplay it.

Try not to assume how other people feel about you. If you don’t know for sure that the boss is disappointed, don’t torture yourself. You are projecting your own misconceptions about yourself onto others.

We’ve all got to start somewhere

If you’re doing something new at work or are given a new responsibility, don’t put pressure on yourself to master it first time. Everyone has to start somewhere and learn.

Instead of feeling as though we need to prove our worth, we need to remember that we all have to start somewhere. We all try and fail before we succeed. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like you’re not learning fast enough.

Talk to colleagues

If you have friends you feel comfortable opening up to at work, confide in a colleague. If not, speak to your friends outside of work. Chances are, saying your thoughts out loud may help you realise how wrong you are when there’s no evidence of you underperforming at work. Plus, others may be going through the same thing – being honest and open about your feelings can have tremendous benefits on wellbeing.

Take a break from social media

Returning to the office? Cue an influx of LinkedIn posts as workers race to post optimistic and motivational memes about getting normality back. Like all social media, LinkedIn can be tough on us if we’re feeling down. But don’t forget that everyone posts their best and highest achievements rather than when they’ve failed or are struggling to keep up with their workload.

Avoid putting pressure on yourself and take a break from social media. Ease yourself back into it when you’ve settled into office life again.

Look at what you’ve accomplished so far and be grateful for all you’ve achieved. Recognise your successes. After all, you’ve kept your job during a pandemic, so continue working as hard as you are!

Pic: @makuph

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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