I just went through attending my first “professional” event in 4 years. But to put this in context, I have been withdrawn and seeking professional help to come up with a good diagnosis and path to reintegrate back into a conforming life-style, and yes, I have been unemployed, if that is all that this means to you.
But I heard a phrase that just might have not registered until now, because it hit me hard… “Imposter Syndrome” which I plan to look up (I am not qualified to actually judge this) when I am done half-baking my linkedin profile to make sure those folks that look me up feel that I am good material for their enterprise.
ADHD moment: This linkedin thing came up because the good folks at linkedin must have baked in some AI that picked up on the increasing activity on my profile and it decided to try to get my attention with their digest emails — or so I would like to think when trying to rationalize those emails.
Nope, sorry, I will not update my linkedin profile.
For the first time in 4 years, I can genuinely say that I was having a panic episode just looking at the darn thing. I was only able to make sure I changed my volunteering to indicate that I had stopped (depression relapse) going for the past couple of years. I also did employers a service of changing my headline to indicate how horrible those things are, in fact I think those are just what one can pair nicely with a good case of Imposter Syndrome — darn if I just read about that I could probably argue for it.
Not sure what my final diagnosis is, I can still tell you that linkedin and all those conforming ways that we are all expected to navigate to land a job are the cause for mass extinction of someone like myself from the workplace, because I cannot spiral out of control due to how unfairly overloading it is to try to look good enough to get you to hire me that I will actually no longer be able to good enough to live with myself once I do.
So, in this society, I am an imposter, I am not using the tools that can land me the job, and I am stuck at home without one, and I see doctors to help me get one, but I refuse to conform to the norms that are expected to get me one, because if I do I will spiral, and then I will not be able to hold one.
I will fake my strengths and weaknesses so I can land a job and try to convince myself that I am doing it to change the system from within.
Wrapping my head around this non-starter quirk of my affliction has taken me 4 years. The first year I was trying really hard to update my profile. Later when I discovered the power of mindfulness, somehow my subconscious transitioned away from this façade of headlines and look good bs altogether, just so I can avoid they triggering effect they had on my mental wellbeing.
Eventually looking at job postings was not conducive to a healthy existence, as they all seemed to me as the farthest thing from what I would consider as genuine opportunities for employment. They simply become nothing more than distractions from my striving efforts to learn more about new technology, experimenting with implementations, and do all those things that make you an open source contributor who is really immersed into solving problems and trying to find a way to make their hard work beneficial to others.
Ironically, 6 years ago, I made the passing comment that my biggest fear is to end up being another software developer because I was convinced that programming would have lead to a depressing existence, and now I realize that it was the only thing that allowed me to positively deal with the now past dark years of my depression that happened while trying to avoid getting depressed by avoiding programming as a career move.
Moving forward… I want to make my experience helpful to others. I would not trade my struggles with the biggest paycheque or job title you would want to offer (assuming you did) so long as you are going along with this systematic prerequisite of me embellishing the worth of my contributions (because I will not). I will absolutely not do it if it simply makes you look good to hire those at some disadvantage — not sure what you are referring to but, honesty to me is an advantage.
I will not do that just so I can think that I somehow figured out how to navigate this chaotic façade and earned a job in which I will need to keep my head down (to keep looking good) so I can be clever and continue to count my blessings with every paycheque, only to be left dealing with the struggles of spiritually depositing them. If I was willing to compromise and embellish, I would feel like an imposter. More importantly, if they are willing to hire me, I can’t help but wonder if that does not simply mean that they too are imposters themselves.
Here is a good question to leave you with, how come “Imposter Syndrome” (without judging please) becomes something employers are aware of and help with while non-visible disabilities (like the ones I have) which are mentions in decades of academic research are not something they are willing to address and properly accommodate in their hiring strategies?
Reflection moment (while writing an email): This post is me trying to wrap my head around being asked why I have not been able to land that job, which I was hoping would not be a popular thing at such events… (sarcastically stated) but in reality I was not in a position to draft some rehearsed answer to this and other popular questions as I was dealing with the stresses of actually making it out there in the world for the first time in 4 years.