Building a career in support can be a daunting endeavor. Many companies don’t have a clear career path for their support teams and the industry is changing and growing constantly. So it’s easy to find yourself asking where do I even begin, when it comes to finding your path, goals, and next steps.
In such a quickly evolving industry, it is not unusual to find a little voice nagging you in your head making everything harder, too. You know the one… Imposter Syndrome!
Perhaps you’ve had doubts about your accomplishments or abilities. Maybe you have an amazing idea, but decide not to share it because you obviously are just missing something everyone else knows or has tried. Oh, or one of my own Imposter Syndrome thoughts! You get great feedback from others about your work and how well you are doing, but you’re just waiting for them to realize you don’t know as much as they think you do.
There are many examples of how it can trickle into your life, but it’s all the same Imposter Syndrome in the end and let me tell you, it’s holding you back from the career you want.
When it comes to building a career in support, it is up to us to create the roadmap and define what success looks like. In this growing industry, it is up to us to bring new ideas to the table and explore our interests and passions to move the industry forward.
But it’s hard to make progress if you let your Imposter Syndrome hold you back from sharing a big idea or applying for that amazing new role you saw.
So how do you quiet the voice and move forward? Personally I don’t think it ever goes away completely, but never fear, there are ways to push past it like:
- Remember your strengths. Easier said than done right? Once you’ve identified that Imposter Syndrome has presented itself you have to fight back. Keep a list of your accomplishments and positive feedback from others handy and reread it often! Build a network of peers within your company and in the industry you can turn to in moments of doubt to help gut check and cheer you on.
- Learn how to recognize it. This can be tough at first as it often presents itself in different ways for everyone. Your first tool should be asking yourself why more often. Why am I afraid to apply for this job? Why am I afraid to share this idea? Why am I talking negatively to myself or doubting my abilities? Recognize those moments of doubt and identify them early.
- If it scares you, trust yourself and try anyway. I’ve been reading a book Andrea Badgley recently recommended called Secrets of Six-Figure Women. There are a lot of things to learn from, regardless of your gender or if making six-figures is an intention in your life. In particular though, one of the chapters is about “Letting go of the Ledge.” Putting yourself out there is scary, particularly when you have that Imposter Syndrome voice in your head. But you have to let go and try things anyway if you want to move forward. I often find the things that scare me are the things I really need to do. I may fail, but that’s ok because there is always something to learn from mistakes.
So here’s my reminder to you all, don’t let Imposter Syndrome hold you back! You aren’t alone in your moments of self doubt, we all have them. But if you want a career in support it’s important you learn how to manage and work through those moments in order to move forward into the future.
I’ll be giving a talk and speaking on a panel at SD Expo Americas next week. To find my talks search “Kristen” in the event schedule, or you can come talk to me at the Automattic table. I hope to see you there!
Kristen Zuck is a Happiness Engineer Team Lead at Automattic who is passionate about illustrating the impact support teams can have on their companies beyond directly supporting customers. When she isn’t working you’ll find her baking, reading, or enjoying the Florida sun with her family.