Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Emotional maturity, Impostor syndrome, "Lean in" movement

My work and my relationship challenge me left, right and center every day. I read up on "emotional maturity" and find out (unsurprisingly) that I am pretty juvenile when it comes to EQ.

It seems to be a big topic that women are less likely to stay on track in their careers because they're more likely to feel like impostors. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, started a movement called "Lean In", asking women to stay confident, stay ambitious, keep moving up the ladder in the organization, even if they think they want to put more focus on family and children some day.

While I did often feel like an impostor (not good enough for my job), lately it's the other way around. I feel like I am not enough of an impostor to play the game of "fake it 'til you make it", and worse, "fake it after you make it, for the rest of your life".

Lately I get this strong feeling that my PhD supervisor (a woman), my current bosses and I suspect most leaders in all organization are all impostors. Even when they don't fully understand something they will behave and speak in a manner that make it seem like they are the expert on that subject. Basically whoever's the most ambitious and can act like they know things better than other people make it to the top. The actual knowledge matters less. The appearance matters more than the essence.

So, if I also direly wish to become a professor or a group leader, instead of improving my scientific knowledge, I should actually put more efforts into improving my self confidence, learning to speak and act like a leader. I should be more emotionally mature and not blow the cover of other impostor leaders, acknowledging that their "expert advice" sound totally helpful and I should give it a try, instead of pointing out that they have no idea what they are talking about and are just throwing out some random buzz words to show they are not completely oblivious to the topic at hand.

Except that's not what I want at all. I dislike being an impostor working closely among other impostors. I want to be in a position where I am actually good at what I do, and working among other inspiring people. I don't care if I "downshift" my career as long as I'm among the right people, but I don't know if there's such a community out there for me, or if the whole world is just full of impostors at high positions in governments, banks, businesses, and scientific institutions.

Maybe I'll think differently if I become more "emotionally mature", and right now I'm just ranting like a juvenile. Who knows.


  1. Hey I just came upon your blog, I love your honesty. INSPIRING really. This post is really great, you speak my mind.

    1. Thank you Let It Be :) I'm afraid my honesty/naivety make me pretty unpopular in real life. I'm hoping that by releasing my frustrations through blogging, I have some energy left to be more personable in my day-to-day life. That's my current struggle.