Coping with a working life as an imposter

  • Phil Factor

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 20115

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Coping with a working life as an imposter

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor
    Simple Talk

  • jlcarroll

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 126

    IT specialist are turning a consultant after a deepest knowledge about some database-related field. So, when the guy is inside an IT Team, he/she can argue that it's like:

    scio me nihil scire

  • skeleton567

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5115

    Two things regarding this article:

    First, yes, I have dealt with 'imposters' in the disguise of 'consultants'.  My take on consultants advice is: "I can't do it myself but I can tell you how".  They're much like the new term 'influencer'.  Most they know how to use Google pretty well.

    Second, been-there-done-that on the learning skills after an interview.  Once in an interview I was asked if I knew Fortran.  My honest answer was 'No I don't, but I can guarantee I will by the time I come to work for you'.   I was offered the position, resigned my old job, got a PC version of Fortran, and spent the next two weeks buried in learning a new skill.  It worked out well.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  skeleton567.

    Rick

    The only thing worse than being an influencer
    is believing one.

  • Wingenious

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1233

    In my 40+ years of IT experience, there are far more IT people demonstrating the Dunning-Kruger effect than Impostor syndrome. For one thing, Impostor syndrome seems to require a certain amount of actual self-awareness, sincere modesty, and ability to feel shame, all of which are obsolete in today's world.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Wingenious.
  • Phil Factor

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 20115

    @Wingenious

    Yes, the Dunning-Kruger syndrome is the more typical institutional mental illness of IT people.  Whereas Imposter syndrome is really a neurotic symptom, Dunning-Kruger and Imposture  is a psychosis.  These Dunning-Kruger people  are the imposters who, ostensibly, have deluded themselves into believing that they actually have the knowledge and expertise. Actually, I think this is less common than is claimed, because it is so easy to detect.

    The imposters might like you to believe that it is their lack of self-awareness that is the cause, but the deviousness and energy with which the average imposter conceals their real lack of expertise precludes the more charitable idea that they are complete dopes who have deluded themselves into believing that they have skills in IT.  I've come across many who know precisely what they are doing and why. They have no remorse at all at the havoc and extra work that they cause in IT teams.

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor
    Simple Talk

  • skeleton567

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5115

    Wingenious, love your handle.  It's very creative.  And congratulations on your 40+ years in IT.   I quit at 42 years myself.  Hope you can retire soon if you aren't already,  and have a good life after all I'm sure you have been through.  Life is great on the 'other side'.

    Rick

    The only thing worse than being an influencer
    is believing one.

  • david.edwards 76768

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1098

    Excellent article. Describes my hang-ups to a "T". I have read about this recently, but this articulates it in a very personal and relatable way.

    It's funny, at a VERY young age, when applying for a job I had no experience in, long before Google, I quoted Samuel Johnson:

    "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it"

    I got offered the job.

    I've used that quote to describe my attitude and aptitude for the rest of my 30 year working life so far. I have however become less certain about a lot of things as I have got older. I guess, if you know really know how to learn, and ask questions about everything, the more you learn, the more you realise you don't know.

    "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. When we enquire into any subject, the first thing we have to do is to know what books have treated of it. This leads us to look at catalogues, and at the backs of books in libraries."
    — Samuel Johnson

  • skeleton567

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5115

    Ten centuries, I never knew where that advice came from but I told my sons that:  "You don't need to know all the answers.  You just need to know how to find them."

    Rick

    The only thing worse than being an influencer
    is believing one.

  • david.edwards 76768

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1098

    skeleton567 wrote:

    Ten centuries, I never knew where that advice came from but I told my sons that:  "You don't need to know all the answers.  You just need to know how to find them."

    It was passed to me by my dad too.

    I'd previously used a similar principle in my A-levels, especially Physics, while others crammed their heads memorising constants and formulae, I preferred to learn and understand processes - the WHY.  We'd been told many times we would be provided a formulae and constant sheet for reference.  The attitude also helped when one of the questions was something we had not covered in the course, the "brainiacs" went into meltdown because the hadn't crammed it in their endless revision.

    One of the reasons I like this forum, helps to understand the WHY - once you know why, you don't need to endlessly watch YouTube videos and parrot step by step processes, you can work it out yourself most of the time, save your research time and brain for the facts and figures you don't need to remember.

    "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. When we enquire into any subject, the first thing we have to do is to know what books have treated of it. This leads us to look at catalogues, and at the backs of books in libraries."
    — Samuel Johnson

  • Brandon Forest

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1827

    I agree with Phil's thesis.  I've been in I.T. for 32+ years now.  In every position I always sell myself on my core competencies and then try to learn something new.  That almost always means getting in over my head.  I'll say "Sure, I can do that.", and then inside I'm going "Ah-Shit! What did I just do?!  I don't know squat about that!!!"  That's when the discovery process begins, which I love.  I check Google, my favorite websites (#1 SQLServerCentral.com), the various forums, my personal library (all ebooks now), and then of course my personal network of real people.  I've learned to be a quick study about almost anything, and I try to be honest and open about the learning process to those I've agreed to provide the services to.  It's worked well for me so far.  I can honestly say that I'm an expert with SQL Server, but not much else.  Everything else I have to learn as I go.

    Brandon Forest

    Senior SQL Server DBA

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