The Impostor Syndrome and Self Destructive Behavior

Things are better on the job this week. A coworker who was not present during last week’s toxicity parade greeted me on Monday morning with cheer and warmth. I was able to get to the actual work, rather than orientation/HR stuff. There are a lot of good things there.

I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about why I drank wine last Friday. While there is a very simple truth at play (I like the numbness wine used to provide), I’ve been contemplating a deeper understanding of Why Now? What was the trigger?

I’m pretty sure it’s Self Destruction. As so many of us have written in our posts and comments, one of the major hopes in Not Drinking is to “have more energy to devote to my goals for my life ahead” (thanks Debbie) and that “not drinking gives me the space and capacity to address” how to be happier (thanks Lilly). 

While this job has come with unforeseen challenges, a much bigger issue for me is that this job really IS one of my goals. A career really IS the one of those things that I think will make me happier. … I got what I wished for and now, well, WTF.

I am afraid of failing at this job. I am afraid of being FOUND OUT as an impostor. While many women in the workplace wrestle with this “Impostor Syndrome“, my decision to leave the workforce for 10 years heightens this fear for me. Almost all of my new colleagues are in their late 20s/early 30s. So while I LOOK like I should have institutional knowledge and focus, they’re the actual rock stars. I’m the impostor trying to distract them with a tone of certitude and an air of wisdom, all the while desperately running to catch up.

I attributed getting this job to my sobriety. If I drink, I can attribute failing at this job to a lack of sobriety, rather than what I’m really afraid of: I just wasn’t up to the challenge.

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7 thoughts on “The Impostor Syndrome and Self Destructive Behavior

  1. Wow Sally, that is so insightful. It sounds like you are realizing so much and getting to know yourself well. You continue to inspire me.
    I too am in the “want to quit drinking because I have goals” camp. It’s very difficult– not backing down is the difficult part, but you sound very clear, like you know exactly what you want, and so brave. Thanks for sharing those links, I will check those out.

  2. Yay for smiling co-workers! Other people’s negativity is so energy-sapping… blerugh .. (I made that word up).. I’m rooting for you.. imposter syndrome is alive and well in my mind.. was all the way through my masters thesis (and still even now after getting my B+).. I feel like I was just ‘acting’ and ‘pretending’ to be an academic.. rather than authentically being one. Starting a new job is very unsettling because all the systems are new.. the language people speak isn’t familiar.. but all of that will soon become your normal .. and hopefully you’ll feel more at home in the environment and in your career skin. Sobriety will help bring you authenticity, wine never will. xxxx

    • I loved your AUTHENTICITY post a few weeks back, Mrs. D. It really resonated with me. …. I got a B+ on my Master’s Thesis, too. As you might expect, the interview process for this job did not include questions on my grades, but instead on what I actually learned, which was (thankfully!) quite a lot. … Hope you have gotten through the rainy week sans Mr. D. I’ve been thinking of you.

  3. You are brilliant. Read your blog from start to finish and I just want to keep reading. Lance Dodes, who writes books about addiction, is also helping me big time. Thank you so much for sharing.

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