Kicking Impostor Syndrome In The Head*
Impostor syndrome -- the persistent belief that any minute everyone around you is going to figure out you're not at all qualified -- happens to a majority of the tech industry; nobody talks about it, because nobody wants to be the first to admit it. This talk confronts that feeling head-on, and addresses ways to readjust your perceptions of your accomplishments to accurately reflect reality.
Impostor syndrome is the persistent internalized belief that no matter what your accomplishments might be, they don’t count enough to qualify you as a “real” [insert noun here], plus the corresponding fear that any minute, everybody’s going to figure out you’re totally faking it. It’s one of the leading reasons why users of open source software don’t become developers of open source software, and why many developers of open source software don’t step out of their comfort zone to try new things. (Plus, it makes you feel awful.)
In this session, we’ll address impostor syndrome from both a personal viewpoint — how you can help combat those feelings in yourself — and an affirmational viewpoint — how you can help others overcome their own impostor syndrome. We’ll also discuss ways open source contributors and projects can specifically fight impostor syndrome among their community contributors (and among people who would be contributors if they believed they were qualified enough to be). You’ll leave with a whole host of tips, tricks, and “mind hacks” to help get over the nagging fear somebody’s going to discover any minute that you’re a great big fraud.
impostor syndrome, hacking your brain, brainweasels
I've spoken several times at OSCON, O'Reilly's Web Expo, and Linux Conf Australia, among others. I delivered a shorter version of this talk at LCA in January (and people were so into it that my 20-minute talk slot turned into a 40-minute talk -- the person who'd been scheduled after me was a no-show and the miniconf organizer was going to give a placeholder talk, but asked me to just keep going instead!)
The video of this talk from LCA hasn't been posted yet, but you can see the video of the tutorial I gave here:
The slides from the shorter version of this talk can be found here:
Denise Paolucci is the co-founder of Dreamwidth Studios (www.dreamwidth.org), a blogging and community platform. She also serves on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative, a nonprofit working to improve the representation of women in “open stuff”. She’s been working in open source for fifteen years, and will talk your ear off about accessibility, disability, diversity, creativity, community, privacy, and knitting, although probably not all at the same time.
- Title: Kicking Impostor Syndrome In The Head
- Track: Culture
- Room: B302/303
- Time: 10:00 – 10:45am
Impostor syndrome — the persistent belief that any minute everyone around you is going to figure out you’re not at all qualified — happens to a majority of the tech industry; nobody talks about it, because nobody wants to be the first to admit it. This talk confronts that feeling head-on, and addresses ways to readjust your perceptions of your accomplishments to accurately reflect reality.
- Speakers: Denise Paolucci