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  • Kim Q. Ivey

Insufferable imposter syndrome

Updated: Jun 24


I'm drowning. Can't come up for air. There's a vice on my neck. It's dark and there are shadows all around stalking me, accusing me. I'm suffocating and don't know how or where to come up for air.


This vocation that I've been ordered into - that I seem unable to escape from - is killing me. Bit by bit. It's been slowly trying it's best to kill me for over 20 years. I tried to escape and I got pulled back in. Yes, the incessant feeling of being trapped is rearing its ugly head again.


I'm not technical. I can focus as much as I want - or as others try to convince me to - on my other qualities: organized, great emotional EQ, helpful, etc. All wonderful qualities, but in the day to day work of this job, I am woefully inadequate. My title is Technical Project Manager, and it's my struggle to meet the expectation of what I should know technically that is so difficult. Why does my brain have such a hard time processing this stuff?? I'm not so much embarrassed that I need help to understand, but more the depth of work it will take on someone else's part for me to understand.


It's sad for me. There are things I enjoy about this job. I enjoy keeping the confluence pages in sync w/Jira. I enjoy scheduling meetings. I enjoy taking meeting notes, and archiving them and other relevant project information - and tracking status. I enjoy even standups to a large degree - my way - casual and not with a lot of micro-management detail. I like the idea that the the engineers handle all things technical and I support their efforts from the outside, without the need to really know what they're doing. I even will troubleshoot, or escalate for them, given they provide the details of what they need so I can help to drive resolution.


As a PMP, I should be more vigilant about learning more, keeping my skills sharp so I can be proactive in this role. I'm not sure why I've never had that drive to learn more like, say, my old boss, Laurie Schrimpf, who excelled at taking classes and quickly getting up to speed on new technology and ways of working - and was happy to share with others how to do the same. It wasn't always necessary to her field of accounting, but if it was new and cool, sparked her interest and she was eager to know more.


It can't be because of responsibilities on my plate. Laurie has outside of work responsibilities too. I don't have a partner like she does (which can be a help AND a hinderance; so no concerns about having to negotiate relationship responsibilities with work and raising Jonathan). She really, for awhile, only had work and Juan and River. She now has two young children, an adult child who can take care of herself, and Juan and work. AND she enjoys her work. A big differentiator between me and her. Accounting makes sense to her and she's able to bring value to her role because she's just that smart. How do I bring value to my team - not be so reactive, but more proactive - in the face of neither enjoying or having an affinity for my vocation?


I spent 6000 bucks 2 years ago in hopes that maybe I could leverage those things I enjoy about project management into a job with a philanthropic/charitable organization. That didn't pan out. It's the kind of environment I'd rather be in - or at least anywhere that I don't have to deal with software development terminology or all the processes related to engineering and development.


Yet, again, this is where the Lord landed me. I need to have a grateful heart. He landed me in the Fortune 1 company in the world. I'm in an enviable place. I just need to be thankful, grateful and give Him praise and stop worrying about some way of escape or rescue. If I'm battling survival in this environment, then I need to remember his words to Jehosaphat that I discussed in my last post: The battle is not mine, it is the Lord's. He can handle it. Though it might not feel like He's handling it, I have to remember that if this is where He put me then this is where He will keep me. That's a sad truth sometimes. He allows His children to be in some severe situations, with the promise that He's there. Nonetheless, His presence should be enough...


This is an endless vent that gets me nowhere. It is what it is. Suck it up, Kim. Relax in Jesus - find a way to do so. Let Him fight your battles. Enable Him to position you for success. He put you in the job, it's up to Him to keep you in the job. If you try to keep yourself, you'll continue to suffer from imposter syndrome and neck pain, headaches, stomach upset, anxiety and depression. Put a smile on your face, Kim. Praise God and believe for His continuous victory in this job. BELIEVE!

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