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Impostor Syndrome Workshop 2016.05.25

Impostor Syndrome Workshop 2016.05.25

Impostor Syndrome is the feeling that you aren’t really qualified for the work you are doing and will be discovered as a fraud. Many women, People of Color, QUILTBAG persons, and others from marginalized groups experience Impostor Syndrome, especially when they’ve (we've) been socialized to value others' opinions of work above their (our) own. People developing new skills are also prime sufferers, and this is something we geeks are familiar with! Want help overcoming your Impostor Syndrome and decreasing its incidence in your community? This workshop is for you.


May 25, 2016

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  1. Impostor Syndrome Workshop
    Crystal Huff
    Executive Director, Inclusion Through Innovation
    [email protected]
    CC-BY-SA Workshop

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  2. Format of the Workshop

    25 minute introduction

    Split into groups for
    – 15 minute “take a compliment” exercise
    – 15 minute values exercise
    – 15 minute exercise on expertise
    (short discussion after each exercise)

    Wrap up

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  3. Some Definitions

    Impostor Syndrome: psychological
    phenomenon in which people can't internalize
    their own accomplishments, claiming they're just
    “lucky” instead.

    Intersectional: overlapping/intersecting social
    identities (visible & invisible) relating to social
    systems of oppression & discrimination.

    Kyriarchy: social system keeping intersecting
    dominations & oppressions in place; comes from
    “kyrios” (master) & “archein” (rule).

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  4. More Definitions

    Cisgender: a person's gender is the same as
    the gender a person were assigned at birth

    Trans* or Transgender: a person's gender is
    different than that assigned at birth (may or may
    not be a binary gender identity)

    Non-binary or Genderqueer: “male” or “female”
    doesn't describe a person's gender accurately

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  5. Okay, so ….
    What do all these vocab words have to do with
    Impostor Syndrome?

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  6. Let's get through the downers ...
    Have you received this message?
    “I'm sorry, we've discovered that there's been a
    mistake. We didn't intend to accept your short
    story for publication, or your application for the
    open position at this company, or your
    membership to our professional organization...”

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  7. Have you received this message?
    “We have reviewed your promotion packet, and
    you're not actually qualified for the position you
    have right now.”

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  8. Success is totally an iceberg.
    [Photo Credit: “Iceberg of Success,” Sylvia Duckworth, CC 2.0]

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  9. Impostor Syndrome is so common...
    “I can't do this. I haven't done enough experiments.
    I haven't got enough data. I can't write the paper
    well enough yet or give the talk.”
    Cherry Murray, Dean of Harvard University's
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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  10. “In every job I’ve had in the last 25 years, I’ve been
    the first woman to hold my position—head of
    computer science and Dean of Science at the
    University of British Columbia, Dean of Engineering
    at Princeton, and now President of Harvey Mudd
    College. As my career progressed, so did the
    intensity of my feelings of failure.”
    Maria Klawe, Harvey Mudd President

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  11. Additional Negative Messages
    “It's so brave of you to go to [insert event here]!”
    “Well, I see we have our token [insert identity
    descriptors here] on the panel.”
    “Are you here with your

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  12. Everyone Raise Your Hand
    [Photo Credit: “Raising Hands to the Sky at Rally to Close the Gaps,” Fibonacci Blue, CC]

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  13. Why has this culture developed?

    Kyriarchy rife in society.

    We're not “supposed” to be good at this.

    Internalized criticisms.

    Public reveal of projects causes public

    Comparing our worst to others' best.

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  14. What are the results?

    We have lower satisfaction in life.

    We are less effective collaborators.

    We ask for less money, fewer promotions,
    and less challenges.

    We apply for new jobs and try new things
    far less often than others do.

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  15. How do we get inoculated?

    Talk with trusted friends.

    Work explicitly on this issue (like now!).

    Watch your words.

    Teach others.

    Ask questions.

    Document your accomplishments. Own it!

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  16. [Photo Credit: “Compare,” Sylvia Duckworth, CC 2.0]

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  17. How do we help others?

    Be encouraging, in general!

    Make mentorship a first class activity, not
    unpaid emotional labor.

    Teach others, and be open to learning.

    Document how others can contribute.

    Critique with kindness.

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  18. Exercises!
    (Break into groups of about six people.)

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  19. Take a Compliment
    [Photo Credit: “Untitled,” Sumana Harihareswara, CC-by-SA]

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  20. Values Exercise
    [Photo Credit:”Values,” Roy Berwyn, CC]

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  21. Expertise in Our Fields
    [Photo Credit: “Expert,” GotCredit, CC-by-SA]

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  22. What's Next?



    Thank you!

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