If you’ve ever feared being “found out” as a fraud at work, then you are no stranger to imposter syndrome. And you are certainly not alone.
Some estimates have suggested imposter syndrome affects a staggering 70 percent of people. Those struggling with it suffer from a nagging internal voice telling them “you’re not good enough for the job; you were lucky to get it; and you don’t actually deserve to be here.” Many fear they will be exposed as a fraud at any moment. While it can affect men and women, research suggests women are more likely to see it impact their career growth.
In global development, professionals often have to confront new challenges and uncertainty. It could be a posting to a new country, a last-minute change in scope of work, or responding to a crisis where the situation is changing day to day. These conditions can be ripe for breeding an imposter syndrome and can lead to fewer women pursuing work in areas such as disaster response.
“We’re all human beings and we all have a degree of self-doubt — until we feel like we mastered a particular task or role.”— Andrea Clarke, founder of Career CEO
ActionAid Deputy Humanitarian Director Sonya Ruparel is responsible for deploying surge staff in humanitarian disaster response. She says “men often have a lot more confidence to say, ‘well, I can do that’ and just give it a go. Whereas women feel that, unless they’ve had the training, and this and that … they don’t feel confident enough to do it.”