Hello Korio
22. 02. 2016

So I think I have a serious case of imposter syndrome. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but I can’t be arsed to go look because I’m not impostering someone who makes efforts with her blog. I’m not even going to pretend on that front, sorry.

Anyway, I find myself doing things with the motivation of making people think I’m the kind of person who will do those things. Like at work. We have had a lot of turnover recently. Actually, turnover would imply that spaces have been filled with new people, but not so much. We’ve just had turn, I guess. A little lacking on the over part.

So I get called pretty regularly to come in to work to fill in for someone who called off or who quit or otherwise just isn’t there for who knows what reason. Our roster is pretty thin, so in a lot of cases I know if I say no, someone is going to be working all alone, or trying to get through the peak time with too few people. And logically I know that’s not my problem. A lot of times when I get called, the idea that if I say no, they’re going to be kind of screwed pops into my head, and I feel obligated to go, or else it will be my fault that they’re understaffed. But it really wouldn’t be. I only get one – or two, nonconsecutive – days off per week, and there’s NOTHING wrong with me having plans on those days, even if they’re just plans to sit at home and do nothing, which, to be honest, they usually are. And that the person calling me is just doing his job of trying to fill in the holes in the schedule, and if I say no, it’s his job to continue trying to fill it in or make do without. Still, though. Guilt.

More often than not, I do say yes. Sometimes it’s because, like last night, the person calling me SOUNDS SO SAD facing a night of working himself and having to close up himself. And in that case, I knew it would be the second day in a row he’d be in that position, because I was working in another location on Saturday and he came in there to tell me they had a call off, and could I… ? But I couldn’t, because I’m limited on how many hours a day I can work and I was already bumping against it, and even if I did stay to help out, I couldn’t close, so. Anyway, you don’t care about all of this. So I did go in last night when they called because of reasons.

Other times, though, when I have gotten a call at five fucking forty five in the morning asking me to come in and cover the coffee shop for the day, I have hauled up out of bed and been there within 15 minutes, and it’s because I want the people I work with and the manager to think I’m the type of person who would do that kind of thing. That I’m an employee they can depend on to help out, etc. So they call and I think, if I go in, they will think I am a good employee. And I go, and I think I have them fooled into thinking I’m a good employee.

But by going in at all, aren’t I a good employee that they can depend on? I think of all the times I’ve been called in in the three months I’ve been employed, I turned them down maybe two or three times. Actually, one time I had to turn them down twice in one day, because both shops needed coverage and the manager insisted I be called again, just to see. That was a rough day on my guilt-feelings, because I couldn’t go. But I almost always go. The calls have even begun to start with, “Hi, I am so sorry to do this to you… ” because while they try to schedule me at least two days off a week – which is tough because I work in two shops with different schedules – they know that with the number of times I get called in, I rarely get those two days. Sometimes one. Occasionally none. If they end up calling me in so that I work a lot of days in a row, they do try to juggle other people around to cover my shift on another day so I can get a day off and I do appreciate that.

When they call, I usually go, and I think that they will think I am a responsible and helpful and dependable person to have me around, and maybe they do think that. I think they think that. My manager makes an effort to regularly tell me how much she appreciates me, and honestly, why don’t more bosses do that more often? It has to be the cheapest, easiest, least efforty way to boost employee morale. But at the same time that I am coming in and helping them out and making them appreciate me, I still feel like I’m tricking them.

“Ha ha ha, you think you can depend on me because I always come when you call. I’ve totally pulled the sheep over your eyes, you suckers.”

EXCEPT, by coming in when they call, aren’t I that type of person? Not tricking them into thinking it, but actually just the kind of person who will come in to help out whenever I can? They seem to believe it, so why don’t I? By taking all the actions a good, dependable employee would take, doesn’t that by default make me a good and dependable employee? Somehow I don’t think so. And it’s not like I have some secret non-dependable, crappy employee habits. I come in and do my work and I do it right so everyone will think I am the kind of person who will come in and work hard and do things right and can be trusted on all those fronts. What I don’t understand is why I am doing all this so they will think it, as if it’s not actually true.

It must be true, right? If I’m doing all the things, regardless of my weird motivation, I am that type of person. So where is the mental disconnect here? I do things for my friends so they will think I am nice and a good friend. I do things at work so my coworkers and managers will think I’m a valuable employee and pleasant to work with. So why do I think I’m doing all these things to convince other people, rather than just knowing these things about myself and accepting them?

I don’t really have a conclusion, as usual. Just throwing it out there so you can tell me all the ways you act toward other people so they will think something about you that you apparently don’t believe of yourself, but must actually be true, right?


10 responses to “Fooling people with the truth.”

  1. Deborah Timmers says:

    Because you care !

  2. Jesabes says:

    So this is what I do: Someone will ask me to do something and I’ll think, meh, I don’t really want to. But I worry if I don’t they’ll think I’m not helpful/dependable/etc. So I decide I’ll do it THIS time, make them THINK I’m helpful/dependable/etc, and then NEXT time I’ll say oh I’m so sorry I really can’t (even if I could have and didn’t want to) and they’ll BELIEVE ME. “She’s so helpful/dependable/etc! She must be saying no for a good reason!” HAHA SUCKER.

    The thing is, I’m also always worried the time after THAT I’ll actually not be able to help, for a real reason other than I don’t want to. And that would make it two times in a row. Maybe I shouldn’t risk it. Maybe I should just help out right now so my ‘get out of jail free card’ is still available.

    And that’s how I end up helping out every time, while also thinking each time that the NEXT time I’m totally going to say no.

  3. Liz says:

    I think everyone does the same thing, or maybe that’s just me thinking everyone thinks like me. In my job, not only would I be putting my employers out, I’m also risking patient care, so I get a double dose of guilt. My parents don’t like that I say yes when I get a call. They tell me I should say no, put my foot down, etc. I try to think about it from their perspective and all I come up with is that they are soon to retire, they’ve paid their dues, built up their reputation and have the right to say no. I on the other hand am still trying to climb the latter. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you ARE a good employee.

  4. Lawyerish says:

    So you definitely ARE a good, dependable employee. They think that you are that way, AND you are actually being that way. But that’s what impostor syndrome does: it tells you that you aren’t competent or dependable or good at your job, regardless of how you’re actually performing. So somewhere in there, you must not truly believe that about yourself, if your brain is saying that other people need to be tricked to think good things about you. Your subconscious is whispering that they will eventually discover the truth! And they’ll know you aren’t really great! That you’re an impostor! But impostor syndrome is a lie, and you’ve discovered the key to removing its power, which is to remind yourself that, in fact, your actions show that you are a great employee and loyal and dependable and so on.

    Shut it, impostor syndrome.

    • korio says:

      RIGHT after I read your comment on my break, my manager came by to tell me how much she appreciates my flexibility. Even as I thanked her, I think I kind of thought I had her fooled, even though I jumped between shops today to cover where needed. I wonder if it ever stops, or if you just feel this way forever.

  5. Sian says:

    I think you and Swistle are having a mind meld moment. Could there be a Kelly/Swistle podcast? I would pay actual money for that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *