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Dr Bashir’s amazing impostor syndrome treatment

April 9, 2012

Not long a ago a friend of mine landed a TT interview at a Fancy Pants University (FPU). The interesting coincidence is was the same FPU I went to as an undergrad. So of course we chatted a bit before she went off for her interview. Unfortunately I couldn’t really provide her much useful information. I was a student in a totally different department. I had no idea what it’s like for professors1, let alone professors in her area. The conversation did have an interesting sequence that I’ll paraphrase:

“Sally”: What advice can you give me. How do you deal with the FPU arrogance?

Bashir: They’re arrogant?

Sally: Sure. Look who’s in that department that will be at my talk, Famous Researcher #1, Famous Researcher #2, etc.

Bashir: You’re worried about tough questions from them?

Sally: no…they’re hot shit. What if they think I’m an idiot?

Bashir: {bleep} them. You’re smart. Just act like you belong there.

Ok, perhaps my advice isn’t so much amazing. It was at least succinct and to the point. Cultivate a little bit of irrational confidence to inoculate yourself from impostor syndrome. Try it for a month, and call me in the morning.

1. Other than the one day my physics professor took time to explain his (failed) tenure case to class. Awkward.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. GMP permalink
    April 9, 2012 3:31 pm

    This is good advice. I usually hear/offer it as “Fake it till you make it.”

  2. gigirose permalink
    April 9, 2012 5:25 pm

    ha. I was gonna say “fake it till you make it” as well. it’s my mantra.

  3. DrugMonkey permalink
    April 12, 2012 7:57 am

    I have the same advice to offer but I always am concerned it is inadequate. As in, if you can do the “fuck them” routine, you really don’t have Imposter Syndrome (that badly, anyway).


  1. Diversity in Science Carnival: IMPOSTER SYNDROME EDITION! | Neurotic Physiology

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