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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. 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
  2. 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).
  3. 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
  4. Okay, so …. What do all these vocab words have

    to do with Impostor Syndrome?
  5. 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...”
  6. Have you received this message? “We have reviewed your promotion

    packet, and you're not actually qualified for the position you have right now.”
  7. 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.
  8. “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
  9. 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 father/boyfriend/husband?”
  10. Everyone Raise Your Hand [Photo Credit: “Raising Hands to the

    Sky at Rally to Close the Gaps,” Fibonacci Blue, CC]
  11. 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 critique. • Comparing our worst to others' best.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. 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.