Lucas' Refuge

On deserving

March 17, 2024


"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
Francis Bacon

During my career, I've seen countless articles out there acknowledging imposter syndrome. A concept, which I only experienced in practice, at my first tech job.

Not realizing why you deserve being where you are is probably the quintessential aspect of imposter syndrome. This often manifests itself through comparisons, such as thinking people around you are on a superior level. Typically, people in their early careers will feel like that – as I did. After all, if you are a junior, almost everybody else will seem more knowledgeable and experienced. It might even have nothing to do with your technical ability. I, for one, took some time to be confident about my language competence when I've started working primarily in English. Overall, my command of English was just fine discussing work subjects at the time, but fell short whenever I found myself in a social situation – during a water cooler conversation or while having a beer with coworkers.

Moreover, not only inexperienced folks suffer from that. A similar situation might manifest late in one's career, whenever a company or career change puts you in a whole unprecedented world. That will be likely the case for anybody moving from the academia, consultancy, or smaller business to big tech – as I once did. From my experience, that inadequacy feeling will fade out a few months after onboarding, as you get used to the new processes/technology. But it can linger, if one doesn't realize that your only competition is yourself – which may be hard if the work culture you find yourself in is toxic.

Be what it may, you shouldn't underestimate your value. If you got through all those interview rounds, you deserve to be where you are. Maybe you got a bit lucky, and the interviewer asked an algorithmic question, which you've just reviewed one week prior. Precisely that has happened to me during one of the interviews rounds that got me into Yelp. Or perhaps the interviewers were all very supportive and understanding. That's not the point, though. The point is that, no matter how much luck played a role in that, you are where you are because your hard work has intersected opportunity.

As Maquiaveli reminds us, virtue is more important than fortune – naturally the best would be to have both. So even though I'm no prince trying to amass power, but rather a mere programmer, I feel like it is now imperative for me to take every opportunity that presents itself – as something I deserve. Alter all, only I can provide that for myself.

Lucas Lira Gomes

Written by Lucas Lira Gomes. You should follow him on Twitter, GitHub, and LinkedIn.

© 2024 Lucas Lira Gomes
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