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Impacting your career: how Imposter Syndrome could hold you back

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

Staying in the same job that you’re overqualified for because it’s comfortable, or keeping quiet during team meetings out of fear that someone else may ridicule your contribution, or not negotiating your salary with a potential employer because it raises expectations on your performance.

These are all common outcomes for those suffering from Imposter Syndrome.

“There’s no clear cause for Imposter Syndrome," said Relevé Counseling therapist, Meryll Cornejo. "It’s... several factors that become a combined trigger."

It can hit anyone at any time, including, Meryll.

“I worked for a local nursing facility and they were in the process of adjusting positions. I was currently the Assistant Psych Director at this facility. My director pushed me, ‘Hey, you already know how to do this. We’ve worked together. We’ve worked hard together and moving up. I think you’re capable of being a Director at this sister facility.’ I told her she was crazy.”

Meryll believed her supervisor’s abilities were beyond her own and had trouble viewing herself at that level. She took the promotion, but still struggled with her self-confidence.

“[I] got in there and thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ even though in the back of my mind I had all these tools in the back of my pocket because I had been doing it for numerous years.”

Meryll’s confidence grew the longer she was in her new role.

“Actually, going through it, like any other job it’s difficult to transition. But, if you do the proper steps to prepare and know in the back of your head that you’ve been doing this for a long time, you have the experience, you have the knowledge and kind of amp yourself up, I think you’re capable of doing it and completing a task.”

Studies show there is a correlation between those with crippling Imposter Syndrome and lower levels of career satisfaction. Identify your self-doubt and find out if it’s getting in the way unnecessarily:

  • Recognize when you're stressed, do so without being judgmental/overreacting

  • Be supportive and understanding of yourself

  • Remember everyone makes mistakes and experiences challenges at times

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