i’m afraid, you’re afraid

On fear, anxiety, and imposter syndrome in libraries

When the #GLAMBlogClub theme for this month was announced as ‘Fear’ I was delighted. There’s so much I could talk about, the hardest part would be picking just one. What followed over the next 18 days was perhaps indicative of the topic at hand — a fear that whatever I wrote would be bad, that I’d say the wrong thing, and the ever-present nagging that this wasn’t a “professional blog” but a diary of someone who also happened to work in a library.

My journey in libraries has felt like waging a battle within myself of imposter syndrome. Here I was, someone who had long convinced herself that she wasn’t smart enough for university, surrounded by some very smart people. It wasn’t hard to feel inadequate and like I didn’t belong.

This year I’ve had a promotion at work and I was very excited, but I had this nagging fear that once I did the job someone would realise that I wasn’t good enough or wonder why they’d given it to me in the first place. Every day has been a lesson in recognising and appreciating myself and the hard work I’ve done to get here, and trying to stop being so afraid.

Being in a profession of very intelligent, learned people who are doing amazing and innovative things can be inspiring and intimidating all at once. I want to learn all I can and be challenged. I knock my fear down, because I have something to say and contribute.

There’s that old adage that nobody is thinking and worrying about you as much as you are. I like to come back to that when thoughts cross my mind of people wondering why I’m doing this job, because the only one thinking that is me. We’re all plodding along, and I doubt I’m the only one battling fear.

I may have been afraid to start this blog post, and I’m not going to lie and say I’m not afraid of it being read. But I did click ‘publish’, and that’s the first step.

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