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Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:56 PM

Has anyone else ever experienced imposter syndrome?

Six months ago, I started my new job and I was super nervous because I'd never been a supervisor before. I wasn't sure if I could do it, despite my employer snapping me up very quickly. The original arrangement was that I'd do mainly offline stuff and provide limited operational support. That went out the window pretty fast, and I got thrown to the wolves helping to run the day shift, which is chaotic and crazy busy at the best of times.

Six months on, I've finally settled in and feel competent, largely thanks to my mentor. She took me under her wing and taught me what I needed to know. Now I think she's being sent to manage another office, and all the signs point to my being the heir apparent. Senior management has said they need me to be the "new [name]" and my boss set up a meeting for Tuesday to "touch base." I strongly suspect the torch is being passed.

And I just don't know if I can do it. The very suggestion is a joke. She has 14x the experience I do, and has forgotten more than I'm ever likely to learn. I feel like I'm right back at square one, uncertain and scared and feeling like a fraud all over again. Has anyone else ever experienced this sort of thing? Any suggestions on what to do?

Edited to Add: I had the meeting with my boss and, sure enough, I'm the heir apparent. My boss didn't commit to a raise at this point, but is going to ask our CEO and let me know. Thanks to all those who responded with advice and kind words, I appreciate it. Right now I'm all panic and no disco even though I suspected it was coming.

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Reply Has anyone else ever experienced imposter syndrome? (Original post)
Jedi Guy Jan 14 OP
nykym Jan 14 #1
Jedi Guy Jan 14 #12
chowder66 Jan 14 #21
Aristus Jan 14 #2
Jedi Guy Jan 14 #5
Aristus Jan 14 #17
madwivoter Jan 14 #3
Jedi Guy Jan 14 #7
madwivoter Jan 14 #20
Wicked Blue Jan 14 #4
Jedi Guy Jan 14 #14
Lars39 Jan 14 #6
Jedi Guy Jan 14 #9
Lars39 Jan 14 #13
Bernardo de La Paz Jan 14 #8
qazplm135 Jan 14 #10
snowybirdie Jan 14 #11
Silent3 Jan 14 #15
FelineOverlord Jan 14 #16
MenloParque Jan 14 #18
BlueTsunami2018 Jan 14 #19
True Dough Jan 14 #22
JustABozoOnThisBus Jan 14 #23
budkin Jan 14 #24
XanaDUer2 Jan 14 #25
ProfessorGAC Jan 14 #26
Scrivener7 Jan 14 #27
Jedi Guy Tuesday #28
Tree Lady Tuesday #29
DavidDvorkin Tuesday #30
Totally Tunsie Tuesday #31
Emile Tuesday #32
Meowmee Tuesday #33
Meowmee Tuesday #34
JI7 Tuesday #35
Yandex Tuesday #36

Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:59 PM

1. Like the old saying

Fake it till you make it.
Good Luck I am sure you will do fine.

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Response to nykym (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:12 PM

12. Thanks for the kind words. :) N/T

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Response to Jedi Guy (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:33 PM

21. As long as you are willing to work hard and learn from any mistakes you should be fine.

Will your mentor make herself available to you as you ramp up in your new role?

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:00 PM

2. All the time.

I practice clinical medicine as a Physician Assistant. I've got a pretty good record for favorable clinical outcomes for my patients, and my patients seem to like and trust me.

But I still feel imposter syndrome a lot when I consider that patients are putting their lives in my hands and trusting me with their health.

I did all the training and studying, and passed all my board exams, and I'm licensed to practice clinical medicine.

But I still wonder sometimes who I'm fooling, and how I managed to convince people I was good at practicing medicine.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:05 PM

5. That must be utterly terrifying since you literally have lives in your hands.

If I screw something up no one's gonna die, so I have that consolation at least. They'll just get super cranky, lol.

Edited to add: Thanks for being on the frontline doing what you do throughout this Covid nightmare. Stay safe!

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Response to Jedi Guy (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:16 PM

17. Thank you.

Can't wait until this is all over for real.

I'd just like to be able to take my wife out for a nice dinner without worrying that demented anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are going to infect either of us.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:03 PM

3. Be confident in your skills

...and fake it 'til you make it

I've experienced a similar situation, I leaned on people that I could learn from and was always honest when I didn't know how to do something.

Having been a manager myself, my mantra is 'you don't know it until you know it'. Cut yourself slack and give yourself time to learn.

Good luck to you, you got this!

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Response to madwivoter (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:09 PM

7. That's been my experience thus far, yeah.

I defer to people who know more than I do and I'm not afraid to say, "I don't know, but I'll find out and get back to you."

Several times subordinates have stepped in publicly to correct me or answer a question (since it's mostly done in group chat). They often message me privately afterward to apologize for stepping on my toes. I tell them my ego is not at stake here, my toes are fine, and the important thing is that we succeed as a team before thanking them for their help.

Thanks for the advice.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:20 PM

20. That's a great attitude...

And likely at least part of the reason you're being tapped for the new role

I've experienced the call-outs in public forums and totally agree with how you're handling it, I have a similar style.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:03 PM

4. Yes

You can do it. You will do it. Go with the flow.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:12 PM

14. Thank you for the vote of confidence! :) N/T

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:08 PM

6. You need to have an in-depth brain picking.

If you have a good relationship, ask her if you can consult with her if you really get in a bind. Ideally the company would keep her handy for a while to make the transition go really smooth. Institutional knowledge is too easy to lose.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:10 PM

9. Yeah, we're friends as well as colleagues.

And she's made it very clear she'll always be there to support me if I get stuck. I just don't want to be constantly running to her for help since she'll have her own fish to fry.

I don't know yet what a transition period will look like since I only suspect what's going to happen, but she seems certain the torch will pass to me.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:12 PM

13. You're in good shape then!

Congratulations!

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:10 PM

8. Give it a try. Worst you can do is fail


Negotiate now and say that you'll take the promotion if you can go back to the old job (supervisor) if you fail. They'll agree, and everyone will be more comfortable. Especially you knowing you have a safety net.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:11 PM

10. Here's the irony

To feel it, you actually have to be smart enough.

Idiots never feel it, only smart people.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:12 PM

11. I did

every time I stood in front of a group and gave a speech or was interviewed by a reporter. Still felt like that very young, uneducated mom raising a passle of kids. Who would listen to me? As stated here fake it til you make it. You'll be fine

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:13 PM

15. Do you mean since this morning? 😄 n/t

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:16 PM

16. I think we all have felt that way

They have discussed this many times on Ask A Manager:

https://www.askamanager.org/search-results?q=imposter%20syndrome

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:17 PM

18. You got this!! For I am an ultimate imposter. I manage a Department of

20+ Data Scientists many of whom hold Phd’s. I admit I am nowhere qualified for the title I hold. For the last 30 years I just managed to fake most of what I do. I mostly just walk out of my office every 2 hours laughing, smiling, clapping while yelling You Rock Team!! Hit those Matrices! Then I go back to napping, jumping on my Peloton to get my cardio in, then creating mostly offensive memes for the rest of the day. Don’t worry about it! You Rock!

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:18 PM

19. My whole life is basically that.



I deserve an Oscar.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:34 PM

22. There's no substitute for experience and it sounds like you have big shoes to fill

That's intimidating for anyone.

But you have to remember that your mentor started somewhere. She was a relative novice at some point herself, but she put in the time and acquired the skills and know-how. That takes years.

Your employer obviously has faith in your abilities.

I'd say give it a try. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Here's the biggest thing for you to figure out, in my opinion: not whether you're capable of doing the job, but do you truly enjoy the duties and responsibilities, and is it worth it for the compensation you receive? Give it some time to figure that out. But if you dread putting in the hours every day, don't put yourself through that hell long-term. Life is too short.

But, maybe, it will turn out to be up your alley.

All the best!

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:34 PM

23. The higher you go, the job requires less and less of the skill that got you recognized.

Buy "Business Management for Dummies", or take some business / project management classes at a local community college. You may still not know what you're doing, but you'll speak the language. As a manager, I found that 1) I kept getting yelled at for things I don't control, and 2) at the end of a day, I didn't know if I had a good day or a bad day.

I managed to go back "down" to work that I understood and liked. It made the years more enjoyable until I was able to retire.

Best wishes in your new job.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:34 PM

24. Every single day from before I ever heard the phrase

It's a bitch

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:36 PM

25. Yes

Similar to you. I was forced to be a supervisor. I ended up supervising 3 different people due to high turnover. It was a nightmare inside a bigger nightmare. There was so much to know, I couldn't do it.

Best of luck

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 05:19 PM

26. On The "Fake It 'Til You Make It" Advice

That is a good plan for any first time supervisor or manager. As long as......
You openly acknowledge your limitations. That way subordinates will spend more time focusing on your knowledge, skills & abilities within your grasp instead of the gaps.
As long as they know you're winging it until you get better at some things, they'll respect the humility.
If you want suggestions because you're unsure as to the best steps, ask for it. Better than making a poor decision none of them will ever forget.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 05:52 PM

27. I love what qazplm said in post 10. It's very true. You have analyzed this job enough to

understand what is involved and you have an idea where you don't have the same knowledge your mentor has. That's a lot of the battle. You are smart enough to know what you don't know, and you have done so well in your current job that they have faith in you.

Do your best. You will think it is not enough. You will make mistakes, but I suspect you will be fine. You sound like the kind of person who most needs to watch out that he is giving himself enough credit and not worrying himself sick.

I bet you do fine. Take it and try to have fun with it.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 07:26 PM

28. Edited with the outcome...

Thanks again to all who responded, I appreciate it.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 07:44 PM

29. I watched my daughter go through that

She worked up to being a junior manager and employer found major mistake manager caused costing thousands and fired her on the spot leaving my daughter to take over not having learned everything.

I watched her confidence go up and up over the years until now she doesn't think twice about any of it.

I remember first time she had to fire someone. First time for reports she wasn't shown how to do, etc.

What she did was try her hardest, found ways to learn what was needed, from asking other managers, to taking a few classes, to hiring specialized training for herself when needed and going to some. She worked hard, put in extra hours with support from whole family she demanded raises over and over through the years from owner who tried to pay less because she was younger.

Now she is very well paid and has bought into part of large business as her retirement for the future.

And yes mom is very proud of her

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 08:24 PM

30. I had it from the first day on my first job until I retired

Being retired is the only "job" I've ever felt properly qualified to do.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 08:31 PM

31. Your company must see something in you that you don't yet see yourself.

Give it a chance, and grow into it. If you weren't trusted, they wouldn't have made you the offer.

Congratulations! I hope there's a sizeable increase in your future!

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 08:45 PM

32. As an old retired man I can declare the business world is full of

phony people blowing smoke up people rear ends! They manage to make a good living doing just that. You on the other hand seem to be trying your hardest to do a good job. Relax, you are going to do just fine!

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Response to Emile (Reply #32)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 08:51 PM

33. True

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 08:51 PM

34. You got this

At least you care about what you are doing and will do the best job you can. There is always a learning curve.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 08:56 PM

35. Try it and if you still don't feel comfortable

and don't feel like much improvement is being made just ask to go back into previous position.

You should try staying there for a year and at least 6 months though.

They must think you are fit for it based on how you picked up the job during previous changes.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Original post)

Tue Jan 18, 2022, 10:10 PM

36. How many people will you be supervising?

 

Would you be a front-line supervisor, or will there be someone between you and the work force?

My first job as a supervisor I had about 12-15 workers under me as things would fluctuate. Then I moved up to supervise the people who had my old supervisor job. That meant I would have about 100 people under me! Man I was freaked out! I was panicked. It is a scary thing.

Then I realized that all I really had to do was manager/supervise the 7-8 front line supervisors directly under me. I just made sure that they did their job and they made sure the people under them did their jobs. Occasionally I had to deal with problems, had to fire people, fill in here and there, etc. Longer hours, more responsibility. I really couldn't go out and party it up at night. I needed to be alert in the morning. A mid-level supervisor or above is really a supervisor 24/7. You may get calls off hours, you have to be available to your people and maybe help them solve their work problems. Being one level removed from the actual work does help to lessen the emotional involvement with your workplace.

I came to LOVE being a supervisor and wished I had taken on all that responsibility sooner in my life. I wasn't actually doing the work or producing the product. I was just supervising the people that were.

I often wonder how a president feels on his/her first day....2 million federal employees under him! They must be freaked out! BUT they have a number of levels under them, and all the president has to do is manage his/her 12-15 cabinet secretaries for the most part.

Take the job! You'll be fine, more than fine! You will grow to love it. Lots of hours and responsibility but that's good for you. Your feelings of "imposterism" are valid, we all get that....unless someone is a sociopath of course...so...you're human!

GO FOR IT!!

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