How I’m dealing with Imposter Syndrome and Stress
I’ve been suffering from stress.
Stress that has been fuelled by imposter syndrome. It’s not something I’ve ever experienced, because on previous teams I’m the only analyst. Now that I’m on a team of 20+ analysts and developers I feel out of my depth. I used to live in ‘I don’t know what I don’t know’ world. Now I can see clearly what I don’t know and it’s overwhelming.
Here’s how I’m facing up to how I’m feeling, so I don’t one day run screaming from the building.
I don’t have to know everything, about everything.
Overthinking small mistakes and feeling lost in meetings because. Having to reluctantly ask for help after googling, lurking through databases and knowing that it must be something simple. And to make it worse, feeling like I’m falling farther and farther behind.
There is so much to learn about how things work now, and things are constantly changing. Instead of comparing myself to the seniors on my team I’m using these feelings as motivation to learn more from those around me.
Not every request is an emergency
Our team has a ticket queue, something new for me this year. While we don’t have SLAs on how quickly these are filled, the feeling they are piling up is stressful. I know I can’t whizz through and get everything ticked off in a day because I don’t have all the answers. They come in waves and it’s a challenge to balance project work and tickets without falling prey to multitasking.
After talking to my manager, I’m going to balance tickets with project work. Even though the ticket is assigned to me, I’m not necessarily the one to answer. There are plenty of subject matter experts on our team. I can’t expect to be an expert in all these areas too.
I don’t expect tickets I raise to be answered instantly, so why do I put pressure on myself to?
Leave work at work
I didn’t realise how much I was obsessing myself over my job until I had this conversation with my manager. On my walk to work, I was thinking about work. When I was walking home, I was thinking about work, even if nothing bad had happened. I would sit on the couch, working or reading about work. Then fall into bed dreaming about work. I was causing a lot of my own suffering, so have promised myself I won’t think about work, when I’m not at work.
Remember the good stuff
It’s a little braggy, but I’ve started a list of all the new things I’ve learned and the technologies I’m using. Now that I’ve put it on paper it reminds me that I am capable of picking up new things and that they are worth learning.
Our team celebrates success with a Monthly Awesome Award. Anyone can nominate someone who has gone above and beyond with some nice words and a funny gif on our team Confluence page. This puts things in perspective and lets us all reflect on the good work we do, and everyone loves a funny gif.
It never ends
Talking to my manager has been a huge help. Getting feedback that I am on the right track, setting goals and blocking out time for projects, tickets and training make the workload more manageable.
When I feel overwhelmed I know I can talk to my manager and my team. There’s a lot I don’t know yet, the same as everyone else.