I guess everyone in the software development side of things is familiar with the imposter syndrome.
No matter how many times clients and peers say you did a great job, you are always afraid that sometime in the future someone will figure out you don’t really know that much and that most of what you’ve accomplished had an crazy amount of luck involved.
Yep, me too, from the day I started getting paid to work until now, this very moment while I’m witting this small text (see what I did there, small text, downplaying from the beginning, setting low expectations…)
For me it’s even worse, I’ve just reached Imposter Syndrome Ultra Special Hardcore level…
Being a developer, even when we feel we aren’t that good, we have deliverables, it’s an objective profession. We do deliver working products that respond to inputs and do stuff. Most of the times, we believe that the underlying code could be better, shorter, clearer, easier to reuse… you name it. But there is an artefact, we produced some amount of undeniable work.
When, as is common for many developers, we start shifting to a more managerial role, many of this measurable and objective way of defining work done, starts to evaporate and as consequence, the imposter steps in, stronger than ever…
Being in a constant context switching situation (I’m guessing this is something common for managers) makes me reach the end of the day, frequently, thinking to myself “I have accomplished absolutely zero today”.
But it gets even worse. My peers are developers and designers and those are the guys I look up to the most (and what a team of brilliant folks we have here), so my mind just runs to that dark place, what will the guys think of my work? I do almost no coding anymore…
So how do we battle this extreme version of imposter syndrome?
I guess there are different ways to do it, I try to do a couple of things:
- Plan my day in advance with all that I want to accomplish and do it in a checklist form.
This way I can reach the end of the day and look at what I was able to get done;
- Never lose touch with technology. As an example, here we have code reviews and one thing I try to do as frequently as possible is to be a part of the reviewers;
- Ask for feedback and let your peers review your performance.
This can be a little daunting, but don’t forget, you’re surrounded by extremely smart people (if you don’t just move away), they know your value (it doesn’t sound as I have Imposter syndrome but I really do!).
So imposter syndrome is common you will almost surely have to deal with it. My advice is don’t hide yourself, figure the best way to deal with it.