Boosting Confidence at Your New Job


 While I’m working towards becoming an aspiring therapist in Canada, I did spend a couple of years working as a human resource professional for a few notable companies. During my brief stint, I was exposed to an entirely new world, where certain business processes were blended with psychological science research, such as in the areas of psychometric assessment, screening, and interviewing.

It’s your first day on the job, and with all the uncertainty permeating across these several months, you might have a shrinking fear that you’re secretly not the best candidate for the role.

I mean, you rarely know anyone from the office. You don’t know the so-called hidden rules that come with the package of being hired. You also don’t know who your potential allies are, and you don’t know how casual or professional you need to be.

You, my friend, may have imposter syndrome. Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, summarized imposter syndrome quite nicely:

“Every time I was called on in class, I was sure that I was about to embarrass myself. Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself — or even excelled — I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up … This phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt has a name — the impostor syndrome. Both men and women are susceptible to the impostor syndrome, but women tend to experience it more intensely and be more limited by it.”

As noted in the business research, imposter syndrome is an overarching sense of inadequacy, despite being pretty successful, especially to the onlooker. For example, you were able to find a job, while others could not find one. Despite this feat, you are now worried about being outed as a “fraud”. To compensate, you are now working twice as hard so that no will “catch you”.

A lot of times, we may feel like a fraud because we are worried about failing. Perhaps you are the perfectionist that gets everything done on time. Being in a new environment forces you to confront new problems, increasing your likelihood of failing.

However, if we never fail, we will never get to learn anything. Even if you do fail, the reality is that your hiring manager is also human. Perhaps they were once like you and wanted to empower future generations of themselves.

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Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash — Perhaps you will be like her one day.

You were selected for this role. The hiring manager saw some kind of worth in your abilities. Even if you made some rookie mistakes, most managers are aware that new employees usually have a learning curve.

You’re also not a phony. No one is perfect and sometimes, the previous employee who had your job didn’t do much better. You can do additional research outside of work, just to keep your bases are covered.

It’s also okay to not know everything, as long as you know how to access that information, whether it is through a quick Google search or through a detailed discussion with a subject level expert.

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash — It’s okay to research, I promise.

While we may have tendencies to externally attribute our successes as luck, you may need to re-examine your internal factors. For example, besides luck, what else contributed to your hiring?

Perhaps these other factors included your professional demeanor, your prior education, or a milestone that you achieved that no other prospective candidate accomplished. Perhaps you smiled at the receptionist during your interview and the receptionist told your manager.

Either way, consider the context for how you were hired and the kinds of activities that can keep you engaged during moments of uncertainty. Even if you’re worried about your time at the job, there will be many more opportunities ahead of you, especially with a growth mindset.