I Don’t Have Impostor Syndrome, I’m Just Bad at My Job

Over the past year or so, there’s been an uptick in people talking about Impostor Syndrome, a condition defined by Google dot com as “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.”

Those who suffer from Impostor Syndrome can experience anxiety and depression in the workplace. They can be uncertain whether they belong in their position, or tell themselves they don’t deserve any accolades or attention, the lack of confidence in their abilities setting them up for failure.

This increase in awareness about Impostor Syndrome can be helpful to those who, despite all the evidence, believe they’re bad at their jobs…but what about those of us who are bad at our jobs?

It’s hard to see so many coworkers suddenly coming into their own and bursting with confidence after reading a Twitter thread that says they’re actually worth something. Last week I spent 45 minutes at work doing crossword puzzles on my computer, then 45 minutes doing crossword puzzles on my phone. Where’s my Twitter thread?

I know what you’re thinking: “Nora, you’re so beautiful; how can you be bad at your job? Are you sure that you don’t have Impostor Syndrome?”

Yes, I am sure. I am in one of the lowest positions at my job and that’s exactly where I belong.

Could I work harder and get promoted and receive praise and then agonize over whether I deserve said praise? Sure, I guess. But wouldn’t it be nicer to eat a clementine at my desk and listen to a true crime podcast without headphones on? You betcha.

It’s great that there’s representation for people with anxiety disorders like Impostor Syndrome, who can now show the world that mental illness doesn’t mean being incompetent. But those of us whose mental illness has nothing to do with the fact that we’re incompetent are still drastically underrepresented in today’s discourse.

So please, the next time you feel the need to talk about Impostor Syndrome, remember that there are people out there who would rather go our entire lives without getting promoted than respond to a single goddamn email.

Image: The Office

Nora Panahi
Author: Nora Panahi
Nora is an Iranian-American, Buddhist-Muslim, Boston-based stand-up comic with great hair and a 2011 white Toyota Yaris with crank windows. She has been called the c-word by at least three men and she totally deserved it.