Imposter Syndrome Or Wrong Fit?

I recently wrote a story about Imposter Syndrome and how to overcome the internal perception that you don’t deserve the professional career you have.

But what if it isn’t Imposter Syndrome? What if that nagging feeling inside you, screaming “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!” is actually right?

I recently landed a position at an advertising and marketing agency I had been admiring since college. In essence, getting this job was the dream.

Day one was awkward as it always is for me anywhere that requires me to be surrounded by new people but overall, I was just excited to be there. Day two was the same as day one but I had a weird feeling “You don’t belong here”. I told this voice to shut it and reminded myself that I had earned this position.

As the days and weeks went on, though I tried to ignore it, I couldn’t shake the voice inside my head. I woke up dreading going to work and I had barely been there a month. I felt nervous all the time, I doubted myself and my ability to properly do my job and my performance suffered. Sitting at my desk brought on anxiety, meetings made me feel like I was invisible.

Full disclosure, I am no longer at this agency. Ironically, they said I wasn’t a fit. Ok. That’s fine.

Don’t feel bad for me though. I’ve had some time to reflect on my experience and while I wish things had been different I am happier now than I have been in a while. In the end, this experience taught me a few things…

Listen To Your Intuition It seems obvious to say this but listen to your intuition. If something feels off, it’s probably because it is. If you feel uncomfortable, think about why and if the reason genuinely does not involve yourself (i.e. knowledge, skill, ability) there’s something up.

Speak Up and Stand Up This goes hand in hand with the above. While at the agency I’ve described, I spoke up to multiple people on my team expressing how I was feeling about my new position. Mind you I was met with unsavory advice, I’ll expand on this shortly, but I made my voice heard. Keeping how you feel to yourself, only perpetuates your inner nasty feelings.

Take Off The Blinders It’s easy to only talk to the people you directly work with. If you’re feeling unhappy on the team you have been put on or with the people you work directly with, push yourself to meet and build relationships with other people in the workplace.

Don’t Be Afraid of HR Your HR person is there for a reason. They are not just there to hire and fire people — conflict resolution, guidance, counselling, these are the roles HR fills. If you are unhappy, please, go talk to your HR rep because they want to help you.

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