Impostor syndrome, Jealousy and the job market.
Impostor syndrome: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud.
Jealousy: an overwhelming feeling of insecurity about a potential loss or inequity in distribution of resources.
Okay, I believe there are two types of people in this world. At least in this my theory and what I’m about to write.
The first kind of person is someone who has watched motivational videos, listened to motivational speeches and has read self help books written by people who have faced all the worst things life could throw at them and has been able to take something from them and has been able to build their life and create a niche for themselves and it works.
The second person did exactly the same thing the first person did but instead of feeling incredibly motivated and ready to take on the world a second at a time, the second person feels drained, unmotivated and utterly useless. Often times than not, the second person has tried implementing these self help books and motivational speeches but just keeps digging themselves an early grave into the center of ‘I am worthless’ ville where impostor syndrome is the mayor and overthinking is the personal secretary.
I am the second person.
When I was in my final 3 years of high school( senior secondary school), my uncle bought me this book. He’d actually gotten me this book a really long time ago when I started secondary school( in my country, junior high and senior high are all mashed up into one big school) but I never read it. At the age of 9/10, I despised motivational books. He’d been trying for years to get me to read motivational books but they never stuck with me. The Warren Buffet one stuck though because it was in comic form.
Back to the story line, so there was this book I had, ‘17 Secrets Of High Flying Students by Fela Durotoye’. It had just been sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust and I only brought it out when my grades were sinking in my last year of junior high. And I followed it to the letter, did all the little exercises and basically, the book owned me because I wanted to get good grades and not repeat a class. Up until that point, I thought if I didn’t put in enough work like I did in primary school, I could still get awesome grades.
So I did get those awesome grades and when my dad walked through the doors for the midterm parent teacher meeting and saw my name on the board for top 15 of the entire set, he was happy happy. I was happy happy too and thought this book was my solid gold for senior year.
It was not.
Senior year was fine the first 2 years but the last year, I begun to struggle a whole lot and it was showing in my grades. A’s became D’s and whatnot and my very good friend depression entered the chat.
Needless to say, my failures then taught me a lot and I understood that going to university meant a lot of work.
My last 3 years of university have been ups and downs. I thought everything had to be academic until I started hearing things on the rumour train that if you don’t volunteer or get into an organisation then chances at a job or even masters after school were going to be zero.
In my second year, I volunteered twice for two different organisations and one of them I didn’t feel like that. I only volunteered because I didn’t want to feel useless while the whole school was in on it. That volunteering experience was the IfeMUN (model United Nations), it was more of the behind the scenes for me and because it was the first my school was hosting, positions were blurred and everybody helped out in whatever department they could and it was a hit. I was happy it turned out to be a success but still I had this empty feeling inside of me that this didn’t quite click with me even though it had been fun. I didn’t feel like it was for me but once again words down the rumour train said it’d look awesome on my CV/ resume.
My 3rd year was spent with me trying to salvage my CGPA because my second year tore it to shreds. I stayed away from anything volunteering and just put my all into academics because believe it or not universities still have their criteria on CGPA when you’re applying for masters.
The main show of this write up started in the first semester of my final year.
During the pandemic, I was useless. Felt it to my core and spent majority of my time crying, sleeping, using anime for therapy and was completely disconnected from my class’s WhatsApp group because I wasn’t the least bit interested in how well people might have been doing. Didn’t even want to talk to my friend group either. It got to the point that people thought I’d dropped out, died, or just plain travelled out. I wish for that last one.
For every graduation during the pandemic, I cried because my thought as I wished them congratulations was always ‘that could be me if my school just gave this online schooling a try’.
I came into languages( something I also once despised) around half way through 2020 and I fell in love. The way the program broke it all down for me and make me understand was amazing. A big thank you to the International Center for Language Resources (ICLR). I wouldn’t be right where I am in my language journey without them.
So languages were my thing and I felt amazing like I was fabulous and cool. I was so happy that I had my thing and any chance I got I’d speak my languages around the house even if people didn’t understand me. I was happy.
Then physical classes started up again.
Resuming school was good, I was happy. Everybody was on the same footing with trying to remember what studying is and what works for them without botching up the semester.
First semester ends and that’s when it sets in. What am I going to do with myself after school. I currently only have my languages and writing and nothing else.
Me: ‘Impostor syndrome and jealousy’ will you marry me?
Them: we’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. You’ve been too happy.
Yes. It only got worse when these two entered the chat, I started to look at all the networking my classmates must have done over the pandemic while I was drowning in sorrow and self pity and all the work( volunteer and non) that they’ve gotten done while I doing something else and I started to feel dread. I’m not a generally happy person, I’ve come to understand that I’m carrying way too much trauma and mental health issues to be that person so soon but I manage. I’m sort of like everybody’s mum, I make sure everybody’s comfortable and I’m everybody’s cheerleader and I want them to be happy.
So this dread and this insecurity just kept poking their head in my business no matter how many times I say I’m happy I have languages as my thing.
I started my languages on my IG because I was tired of waiting on the right time and because it felt right and made me very happy. It was something I looked forward to and for a long while I was satisfied with that.
IfeMUN started up again this year and something at the back of my mind just kept nudging me to apply and I downloaded the first set application and thought about it. I still didn’t feel drawn to it like I had been with my languages and I had made a resolution to myself that I would be as true and genuine to myself when it came to whatever I dealt with and I’d stuck with it so far and I intended to do the same with the IfeMUN so I didn’t apply. Even though everything in my mind was screaming for me to do so because it would look so good on my resume / CV, I didn’t do it.
To make up for feeling this way, I got a resume template on the Wonsulting website and tried to make a CV. Once I had everything typed out, I could see that with the combination of my 3 volunteering times and my languages and writing, it didn’t make such a bad resume. I wouldn’t hire me but I was convinced that at least someone would.
So, I went on LinkedIn and just started applying to jobs everywhere. Way out of my reach? Apply. I don’t qualify? Apply. To anything that fell under my ‘radar’, I applied and then I waited. While I was waiting, I came across an application to be part of the Foster writing community and even though I didn’t think I was going to get in, I did. I was happy that something was going to come out of my writing and that I’d have people to guide me should I Stray. I started panicking 5 minutes into the zoom interview and didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. Afterwards, I was sure that at least one of the LinkedIn jobs would fall through.
Fall through to the rejection pile? Yes, yes it did.
So I’ve come back to ‘I feel pretty useless’ ville because almost almost everyone on my contact list has something big going for them and I’m here thinking that my skills in languages and writing are useless. I tell myself in positive ways that they’re not and that they’ll work out for me, even if it’s not as early as other people’s own.
Then I remember that I’m 22 and I spiral all over again.
I’m in this constant state of denial over the little that I’ve achieved and the fact that there was some sort of comparison growing up when it came to academic achievements, doesn’t make it easy and doesn’t make it slide well to see other people moving while I feel like I’m stuck in one spot.
Do I still get jealous when I see these people around me do amazing things? Yes, but I don’t let it weigh on me and the truthfulness of my happiness for them.
Is this impostor syndrome of mine ever going to go away? I think it’s something I’m going to have to put a lot of work in for it to go away. The next couple of months or years? I don’t know.
Job market ? I don’t know what I have waiting for me, but I’m going to tell myself to calm down and take it moment by moment. Why? Because at the end of the very fine day when I’m dead and turning into plant food, I won’t remember all of this and what succeeded or not.