Political reporter Jerry has long flirted with joining The Great Resignation until his feelings of self doubt and being an "impostor" in a local newsroom keeps him from joining foreign agencies. It's a cycle that needs to stop.
Jerry is finishing his master's degree and has been writing about the government and corruption for the past three of his six years in media. Until now, he said he feels "undeserving" of his role despite getting acknowledgments from his bosses, and merit increases in his pay.
"I don't think I was chosen for this role because they saw me as someone who's a good match for it but only because the one who was supposed to be here resigned and moved to a better job," he told reportr. "It's like I was only considered and chosen because there was nobody else available."
It's a feeling that might be all too familiar to many, particularly to Gen Zs and millennials starting out in their careers or moving up the corporate ladder.
When the fear of being discovered as a fake or fraud persists despite the education, experience, and even accolades that one has received, it might be a case of impostor syndrome.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
Impostor syndrome is that feeling of self-doubt about one's competence to perform a certain role despite having the education and experience to back it up, said life and career coach Pat Mallari.
"Impostor syndrome is having that feeling that what you're projecting is not you...as a result you feel bad about yourself," she told reportr.
"You feel like you don't deserve what you have, you feel like a fake, or you feel like a fake and you don't know it," she said.
Anyone can fall victim to impostor syndrome but perfectionists and those who have an "extreme" fear of failure can be more prone to it according to Mallari.
For many, Mallari said the COVID-19 pandemic has enunciated feelings of impostor syndrome since stay-at-home orders made it easier for people to "hide" and "perform" in front of Zoom meetings, and in e-mail correspondences.
When impostor syndrome is hindering career growth or the possibility of it, like in the case of Jerry, Mallari said it's important to recognize that business opportunities arise because there's a need for it, and that there's no perfect person.
"Cut yourself some slack and embrace that somebody took a chance on you and trusted you," she said, noting that it's more important to focus on actually performing the job instead of overthinking whether you're deserving of it.
"The moment that you accept that you can possibly have work ons, flaws, it's just a better way to embrace yourself so that fear of 'what if I get found out' is not gonna be there anymore or would be lessened at least," she said.
Taking on a new role or a new job isn't a miracle pill too for impostor syndrome until one fully accepts internal flaws.
"Until you get to accept yourself, embrace yourself both the good and the bad you will really have a hard time to move to other places, other jobs, other careers kasi andoon pa rin yun sa sistema mo," Mallari said.
How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome
For those who feel like a fraud or fluke in their careers, career coach Mallari shares the following tips on how to overcome impostor syndrome:
1. Acknowledge the feeling.
Ask yourself: "Bakit ako may ganitong pakiramdam?"
The more that one tries to avoid acknowledging feelings of self-doubt would make it more difficult to actually recognize and deal with such emotions.
2. Challenge your own thoughts.
A person may think that he's a fraud in his job but his performance evaluation and his bosses think otherwise. So whenever a person feels like he's not good enough for a certain role, challenge such thoughts.
"Challenge yourself. Challenge your own thoughts. Yes, your feelings are true but they're not factual," Mallari said.
3. Think of healthy labels you can tell yourself.
People tend to be too hard on themselves, so hard that they won't even dare tell other people the criticisms they subject their own selves too, Mallari said. In cases when people tend to overcriticize themselves, try thinking of kinder labels you can place on yourself.
"Sometimes, harsh tayo sa mga sarili natin. Hindi natin masasabi sa ibang tao pero sa mga sarili natin sometimes, we'll self-flagellate and self-sabotage our way," she said.
Once in a while, Mallari said it's important to acknowledge the fact that as you move forward, you'll always be changing.
"We're still evolving hanggang sa tumanda tayo at mamatay tayo," she said.
And when feelings of self-doubt become too overpowering, Mallari said ask yourself this first before overthinking everything: "Will you tell that same story, label, or judgment to others?"