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Feeling like an overqualified “impostor” – Saker

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For several years, I have been fascinated by the subject of impostor syndrome. The concept was originally proposed in the late 1970s in connection with studies of bright women who had been recognized but who felt they were not as bright or capable as their position suggested.

Successful women like Sheryl Sandberg and Michelle Obama have confessed to suffering from the syndrome. If you add race and class issues into the intersectional mix, you realize that the concept inevitably impacts a wide range of people.

The syndrome can be found in men as well as women.

I remember a conversation I had with a professor at All Souls, Oxford who, despite being a leading authority on his subject and having been in office for 12 years, simply said that “you don’t you never get over the feeling that you are an impostor in this type of establishment.

People can easily sense cheating or perceive themselves outside the frame of reference of a particular social group. As discussed in previous AM articles, our industry has never been particularly attractive to employees of a number of ethnic backgrounds, which has led to them being significantly underrepresented in Workforce.

People want to feel “at home” in their work environment with a sense of belonging and not an impostor who, by chance, has an office there.

From a personal perspective, I was the first person in my family, church, youth club, or group of friends to go to college. I felt strange and quite alien to my past, having been brought up ‘on Old Kent Road’.

To make matters worse, my parents couldn’t afford the price of gas to drop me off on the first day. Now, this isn’t meant to be a confessional or a “pity party” on my behalf, but simply to put forward that I had the perception that I had no immediate role models I could relate to. identify and learn in the academic setting.

The challenge for many when looking at the automotive industry is that they do not see themselves reflected in the people already employed and therefore would not feel at home.

When I joined the auto industry, I was once again made to feel like an overqualified impostor and was simply known as “three degrees.”

One thing the auto industry has for an impostor is that most of the time the industry behaves like a meritocracy. If you deliver, you succeed.

Of course, there are glass ceiling issues for women and racial and disability biases for others.

What is reassuring is that when you succeed, success is usually rewarded and psychologically you start to feel like you belong.

With more diverse role models, we could encourage more people to have the confidence to join the industry and, in doing so, help address current staffing shortages.