Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Impostor Syndrome in tech

Impostor Syndrome in tech

Talking at #HumanOps about impostor syndrome in operations (and security).

Bea Hughes

June 30, 2016

More Decks by Bea Hughes

Other Decks in Technology


  1. Impostor Syndrome in tech (someone can do this talk better

    than me) @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 1
  2. Who's this clown? 2 » Infrastructure security at Etsy. »

    Operations engineer at Puppet. » Worked at some startups and some not so startups. » Owns a lot of black t-shirts. 2 https://twitter.com/skullmandible/status/411281851131523072 @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 2
  3. I work at Etsy Antisocial Construct Zine by EricSobelArt @benjammingh

    for HumanOps SF 3
  4. Impostor syndrome! @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 4

  5. Impostor syndrome is when high- achieving individuals are marked by

    an inability to internalise their accomplishments & a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud" — clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance & Suzanne A. Imes @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 5
  6. Am I even qualified to give this talk? — Me,

    earlier today, proving that I probably am. @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 6
  7. "But everyone has this, no?" @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 7

  8. OCD vs. Actually liking things to be tidy @benjammingh for

    HumanOps SF 8
  9. Exemplum! @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 9

  10. <Etsy story goes here, so slides are useless> @benjammingh for

    HumanOps SF 10
  11. "I am going to be discovered and fired..." — Me,

    then. @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 11
  12. THIS IS FUCKING DEPRESSING @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 12

  13. It makes it real hard to do good work @benjammingh

    for HumanOps SF 13
  14. Which then just perpetuates itself @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 14

  15. Which leads to burnout... @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 15

  16. @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 16

  17. Reality vs. Perception of others From https://billwatt.org/the-imposter-syndrome/ @benjammingh for HumanOps

    SF 17
  18. STORY TIME @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 18

  19. @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 19


  21. (Best (worst) stock photo ever?) @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 21

  22. Impostor syndrome can be a sign that you're about to

    learn awesome things. @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 22
  23. It can be a sign you have a lot of

    knowledge to share too! @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 23
  24. Straw poll How many people have you heard of getting

    fired due to knowing nothing? How many people have you heard of having impostor syndrome? @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 24
  25. So why do our brains make this trade off? @benjammingh

    for HumanOps SF 25
  26. Ego? @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 26

  27. Did I mention I work in security? @benjammingh for HumanOps

    SF 27
  28. "well don't think of yourself as an imposter, think of

    yourself as not a psychopath." — Scott Roberts @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 28
  29. "One of the best things I've done for myself lately:

    created a doc where I copy-paste compliments I've gotten. Great for low days. Try it." — Molly Clare @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 29
  30. What can you do as an organisation? @benjammingh for HumanOps

    SF 30
  31. Acknowledge it! @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 31

  32. It's okay to say what's okay @benjammingh for HumanOps SF

  33. Obligatory reference to blameless postmortems as I'm contractually bound to

    by Etsy @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 33
  34. Praise others, because they may feel this too. @benjammingh for

    HumanOps SF 34
  35. Tip for praise: Don't personalize. For the same reason you

    wouldn't say "You're a dumbass," don't just say "You're a genius." — @candor 5 5 Blameless praise! from Slack's great article on giving feedback @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 35
  36. Stop the nerd snipe, even if it's good intentioned @benjammingh

    for HumanOps SF 36
  37. Your culture often affects people in seemingly invisible ways @benjammingh

    for HumanOps SF 37
  38. Just don't go too far (; Dunning–Kruger effect @benjammingh for

    HumanOps SF 38
  39. Let's hope I'm on track for time! » be understand

    to people, this is hard. » be kind to yourself, even if you're a jerk like me. » seek help if you can (friends, therapists, coworkers) » Query Annotations (Hi Jenni!) (: @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 39
  40. This affects people differently » Confidence sadly often comes with

    privilege. » As does arrogance. @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 40
  41. Mess of links that will be useful when I tweet

    the URL to this slidedeck » Impostor Syndrome in DFIR - Scott Roberts fantastic piece on the topic. » Allowed To Apply - blog on telling yourself you can do this. » How to get a promotion » Blue Hackers - site on mental health in the tech community and how to help. » Tall Poppy Syndrome - wikipedia page on cutting people down @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 41
  42. Ta » My blog post on the subject » Twidder:

    @benjammingh » LinkedIn: lnkdin.me/p/benyeah » SpeakerDeck: speakerdeck.com/barnbarn » Etsy: Careers <--- CodeAsCraft <--- our blog @benjammingh for HumanOps SF 42