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Yuck 'N Yum #4


Being a n00b, I wondered "how did I (a person who still can't really cook well enough to be called self-dependent) end up here (in a reputable arts collective), doing this? (undertaking work that requires a modicum of responsibility)". And in that brief space of mental quietness that happens when I consider things like that, I heard Impostor syndrome calling out "Aleeeex, Aaaaleeeex".

Impostor syndrome is not that syndrome that involves delusionally - unless you actually are married to a hat - mistaking your wife for a hat. Actually, it's a mild kind of affect that Wikipedia describes like this: "Impostor syndrome, in which competent people find it impossible to believe in their own competence, can be viewed as complementary to the Dunning–Kruger effect, in which incompetent people find it impossible to believe in their own incompetence."

Impostor syndrome is finding yourself participating in quite respectable, grown-up situations, and fearing being exposed as the unqualified blaggard that (to your own mind) you are. The most noticeable example of Impostor syndrome is when you leave home for the first time and have to pretend to be an adult (for some reason I find it most discomfiting to keep up this pretence when I'm at the supermarket).

I imagine that everyone who has any sort of responsibility applied to them gets Impostor syndrome about 90-100% of the time. Personally, I get it whenever I have to cook for myself, become a member of Yuck 'n Yum, guest-blog on design websites, or go out and buy milk.

Thankfully, Wikipedia's definition (whilst acknowledgeably containing "insufficient inline citations") is quite a comforting validation. Only competent people get Impostor syndrome. It's a comfy catch-22. If you find it hard to believe in your competence: don't worry! That means you are competent! Maybe you could even join us in Yuck 'n Yum one day (The only really terrible people are people who think they're good at things - see "Dunning-Kruger effect").