How do I stop feeling like I’m an imposter at my job?

How do you overcome this feeling that you’re a fraud, and one day someone is going to realize it and you will get fired?
Wait — is that what readers think of me? What are they saying? Fear not — we’ve all experienced what is commonly referred to as “imposter syndrome.” Basically, you feel inadequate despite evidence of success. Without getting into Psych 101 here, most functioning humans have some insecurities and at times doubt whether they are good enough or capable enough. Perfectionists tend never to be satisfied with their work and have these same feelings. It’s why we all have that same dream where we’ve shown up for school and forgotten there was a big test, and we aren’t prepared. (Although that wasn’t always a dream in my case.) Focus on your successes. Talk to your colleagues and mentors when you start to doubt yourself — they will give you perspective and confidence. Unless you are an imposter and not good at your job (just kidding).

I accepted a job offer which was my second choice. I am supposed to start in two weeks and now I just received a surprise offer from my first choice — apparently, their first-choice candidate turned them down. What to do?
Wow. First-choice candidate for your second-choice job, or second-choice candidate for your first-choice job? To be or not to be? The dilemma here is whether or not you pull out of the job you are about to start, not about whether you were first or second choice. If both job offers came in at the same time, which would you have taken? Being second choice doesn’t mean you are their consolation prize. You’d be surprised at just how quickly a company forgets their first choice and gets enthusiastically behind the next candidate. So, if your first-choice company is really where you want to be, and if they really want you, and if you aren’t excited about the job you took, then I don’t think you have to go through with the job you accepted, as difficult a decision as that is. This is your life. If you do make the change, though, handle it professionally, thoughtfully and candidly.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. E-mail your career questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande. His Go to Greg podcast series is available on iTunes.

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