I recently ran a workshop on the Imposter Phenomenon for the Cambridge Association for Women in Science and Engineering.
Dr Michèle Routley has kindly written a blog about the session, which can be found here: camawise.org.uk/blog-success-what-lies-behind-the-mask-an-exploration-of-the-imposter-syndrome/
We all know how important it is to have diversity in the workplace and to limit our own unconscious biases. In academic research it’s equally important to have diversity and try to avoid bias so that findings are generally valid. I’ve recently finished reading Caroline Criado-Perez’s book ‘Invisible Women’. This book contains stark messages of how data bias creeps into research, with sometimes devastating consequences. (E.g. Crash test dummies have male body weight, men and women have different heart attack symptoms but male symptoms are taught as typical, and many other examples.)
So it is with this in mind that I am trying to avoid data bias creeping in to my own research into the imposter phenomenon. To reduce any impact in the data from differing industry sectors, I’m focusing on the finance and insurance industries. But sadly an unwanted even narrower focus is creeping in to my data as far more women than men are coming forward to volunteer to take part in the study. I have interviewed some amazing people so far, but all of them, bar one, have been women.
So if you are male or non-binary and work in finance or insurance, would you consider taking part in my research? It consists of a 15 minute online questionnaire, which may be followed up by an optional interview that lasts no longer than an hour. More information about the study, and the online survey itself, can be found here: https://lnkd.in/dnteYYG, or you can contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are female, work in finance or insurance, and would like to take part, you are, of course, very welcome to take the survey – the bigger the sample size the more reliable the findings. Also, if you know someone else who would be interested, please feel free to forward the information about this study.
I was recently a guest on the ‘Gin and Topic’ podcast hosted by Sarah Cruise of Eloquential and her stepdaughter Áine. It involves remote tasting of a gin chosen by the guest, followed by discussion of an interesting topic, in this case the Imposter Phenomenon (billed, as ever, as a Syndrome). Surprisingly the podcast sounds reassuringly coherent, obviously not too much gin was tasted!
Topics covered included …
The difference between imposter syndrome and imposter phenomenon, and why imposter phenomenon shouldn’t really be referred to as a syndrome.
Reasons for experiencing it, and the very real difference between self-doubt and imposter doubt – self-doubt is normal if you don’t have evidence and experience of what you’re doing. Imposter doubt sneaks in and makes itself felt after you have plenty of evidence that you do, in fact, know how to do this thing.
Putting our successes down to something external (thinking people are just being kind, or nice), and not internalising our abilities and how good we are.
Reasoning our way out of something if it doesn’t fit with the world view we already have. If you’ve outgrown your expectations and done more than you ever believed you could, imposter chatter (we love this description of it!) can increase.
The things we expect to have an impact on us, conditioning and narratives we carry about ourselves, which we don’t even really know, and how idle comments from others can cut really deeply when they hit on these narratives.
I was recently a guest on Derek Arden’s Monday Night Live chat show. In this extract, Kate gives a brief overview of the nature and causes of Imposter Phenomenon chatter, together with some tips for overcoming the difficulties that can result. The video can be found on my video page.