Monday, June 28, 2010

Impostor Syndrome

How do you stack up intellectually?

Was glad to see this article in the Chronicle and discover it's not just me!  But I was surprised to discover that it's not just humanities types like me, either.  Apparently we are all, no matter the discipline, a collection of insecure neurotics. 

Which, come to think of it, isn't really news.


  1. I don't think professors are more insecure than anybody else, but they do seem to consider themselves as being different and special in that regard. I'm guessing that anybody who cares about their job is uncertain about it to some degree, no matter how mundane their job is. "Did I make enough widgets this month to keep my job?" could be a question anybody asks. Beyond our jobs, everybody has some doubts of being a good spouse, parent, child, friend, citizen, etc. We're nothing special, which could be the most difficult thing for faculty to consider.

  2. Particularly when we've spent out entire lives being told, and telling ourselves, that we are something special.
    The difficulty in Humanities - to which this article alludes - is that it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between good work and utter tripe; particularly if you're the one writing it. So it's not just "did I produce enough widgets?" but "were they good widgets? How can anyone tell? Is this even a widget really?"
    The solution to these questions, as to so many others, is single malt.


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