Listen: Imposter Syndrome with UX Designers Amy Silvers and Lori Cavallucci
"Imposter syndrome. Let us know a bit more. About what made you want to do that. Talk at the summit. And what the title responses you got from that for me. It's something that I've grappled with for years. It's just been something. I never knew what it was until I started started reading about it. And I'm like wow that's me there's actually something for what I've been experiencing and amy and I've talked a a lot about it over the years. She happens to have been she. She cringes when I say this but she happens to have been my my mentor. Who helped push me? I needed someone to push me. I was holding myself back and So it's just it's it started off basically as a self study like anything in psychology allergy research. So it's The interest came from my own Difficulties suffering with it through the years. Yeah I think Laurie and I we're had both been going through some career bumps and I had maybe done a little bit more Applying for jobs than and she had because she'd been a freelancer for a long time and she was. She was sort of looking around for things to apply to but she kept kept saying things like well. I don't have I don't I haven't used Jack sure. And they want actor. I don't use this software tool and they wanted I don. I kept telling her you know nobody meets all of the qualifications for job. Just push yourself and go ahead and apply for things even if they're a little above your level and we talked about how much we both felt like frauds like complete frogs doing that kind of thing like we weren't really qualified to be applying for any you X.. Jobs in spite of both having at that point you know several years experience at least east in the field and it kind of grew from there. Exactly actually James. Was the one talking to me James About doing this. Show show about imposter syndrome for over a year now. I think he's probably close to two years. But even even before you mentioned it to me the first time and I actually didn't know there was a name for it because is when you described it and I realized Oh my God I feel that all the time. I didn't know there was a name for it. I mean I I remember I mean occasionally you get those for me anywhere. Ah Kitchen you get those moments where people come out and say. I remember one situation where I was working at a clients and we're having a conversation Near the coffee machine and and somebody just brought up the fact that they were feeling nervous about doing a particular task in this project and the conversation then snowball pretty quickly and everyone is four. I think four of his run this coffee machine all of US basically end up saying to each other. Well I think we all feel so you like that a lot of the time I feel like we. We were not good enough to do these jobs or not qualified to do them. Or we're not going to be a deliver what's expected of us and you get those moments where you realize that Well I think probably everyone has their moments of feeling like an impostor and a fraud. Yeah so what's what's what's really going on. Here I mean is this special for the field of U. X. because it seems like the US especially as a field where there are so many new things like you were saying saying that there are so many tools we need to know about. There's so many things. Do I know about search engine optimization analytics as well we need to care about that how much do I Actually need to know to be a good designer and that sort of of course contribute to that feeling of being an impostor not having that holistic view of just just everything that you need to know about but has imposter syndrome been around always and as soon as something. We've been afraid to talk about. Yeah I we can talk a little bit about the origin of the term. Laurie cover that. It was originally identified as a phenomenon among women women in academia. PhD's tenured professors. Who at some fundamental level just doubted? They were even intelligent much less qualified to do the work they were doing. But I think that was mostly putting a name to do something that that certainly every professional experiences and probably every human experiences or most humans experience. It's actually the ones who don't experience it. But you have to worry about And there's a name for that syndrome to it's called the denning in Kruger Affect people who actually overestimate their qualifications and their own intelligence but but imposter syndrome. I think is very common among people who are high achieving I can talk a little bit about whether it's whether it's particularly prevalent in you X.. And and hypothesize about why But I'll let Lori give a little background on on the original the whole the origin of the syndrome and the naming of it. It was first diagnosed in high achieving women by two women. They realized that it's something that high-achieving women in this university where feeling and they did the study now. What we know now is that it's not just women that suffer from limit it's women and men it's It tends to be people who who really are high achievers and and have high expectations of of themselves and have achieved a lot that tend to feel it the most and This was in the late seventies and that was the first diagnosis and it was called called impostor phenomenon and it it really was It wasn't well known it wasn't publicized and I think As amy I work exploring this. We found so many articles people were just starting to come out about it and talk about it because it's something that they had been feeling and I realize that it's not just them. It's other people's well. Yeah and we actually did. A survey nonscientific survey of people in the US community and the percentages of of people. Who agreed with all or part of the statements that we posed About feeling like an impostor in particular situations Not only feeling like like you're not qualified but also feeling like you're going to be discovered at any minute you're going to fall on your face and everyone who's going to figure out you know what the you've been getting away with Faking it all the time And we discovered that almost everybody is it's seventy and eighty percent on almost all the responses agreed with the statements and I it's a huge percentage jagger and and it it almost made me feel like you know if if everyone has imposter syndrome. How important is like is it something we should just sort of acknowledge and get on with our lives and just sort of tried to ignore it as best we can but I think they're also there are things that we can do to actively combat at that are probably a little healthier but it does it it makes you wonder a little you know everybody has it? Is that even really a syndrome or is it is part of being human part of being a relatively relatively successful human but I do think I think you X. poses kind of some unique challenges challenges for people who are prone to feeling like imposters. Because not only do we have all these different skills that were expected to have but nobody obt defines what that skill set is in the same way. No two people much less To companies or to hiring managers defined it did anything like the same way and we have all these sort of standards that were held to all the time. But the standards keep shifting and nebulous. And there's no way to say like in the talk. I give the example of architecture physical architecture I can look at a building that that frank gehry designed and say. That's a frank gehry building. But I can't look at Frank Juries website and say oh seven seven designed that website or for his digital presence or whatever I can't I can't point to anything there because there aren't really standards words or objective criteria there. We don't share our work that actively a lot of the time. So it's it's just kind of nebulous and again shifting all the time I remember I I think it's the guy who's behind future Web Design Conference series. WHO posted three or four years ago? He tweeted about you. Rex designed being a bullshit dot job title designer. and Oh okay then guess. I'll pack up my things and go home because you know my Dr is bullshit and we get stuff like that all the time you know you have to know how to do. You should never code All this stuff telling us how we should be. And if you're not doing this you're not really a UI designer and that makes it very hard into feel any sort of sense that you you have mastery over your your skills over your job."