GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
BROWSE CATEGORIES
GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
Symantec

Understanding and Empathy in the Age of Imposter Syndrome

Partner Content

Below is an article originally written by Hanna Abruzzo at PowerToFly Partner Symantec Corporation, and published on August 20, 2018. Go to Symantec's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

If you want to support women in the workplace, any workplace, start by believing in them.

On my 11th morning at Symantec, I walked into the lobby to see a dozen young women staring at me. I knew why they were there. After all, it was only five years ago that I was in high school myself, and I've seen my fair share of "Women in STEM" initiatives. As I walked to the elevators and scanned my badge, I figured they were probably staring because I am what they were there to see: a young woman in a field that has few. I realized that I am now exactly where I wanted to be five years ago, when I was them. But now I am me, and I feel the same as I did then. I feel unsure.

As a member of Symantec's Women Action Network Employee Resource Group (SWAN), I was invited to share my story with a group of Tech Trek attendees visiting campus. Programs like Tech Trek are a great way to introduce girls to STEM at a young age.

Tech Trek Tour of Symantec's Culver City Office

After the SWAN event that day, I received an email asking if I'd write an article for our corporate blog. I said yes. Today, I received the first issue of the blog in my email, and opened it to see if there was a certain style I should adopt in my piece. Of the eight stories in the issue, three are specifically about how to be more inclusive of women in a technical workplace.

That's not the article I want to write. I don't have anything new to contribute, and as someone who's still clicking through each of those employee training courses, I know this audience understands on some level why Symantec values diversity. I want to talk about a topic tangential to inclusivity. A corollary, if you will. If you want to support women in the workplace, in any workplace, allowing them in is a great start. In my opinion, the next step is believing in them.

Imposter syndrome doesn't just plague women, of course. Feel free to add "and men" to any of these sentences if you like. However, isolation is a catalyst for such a syndrome, and looking around in a sea of men is one way to feel pretty darn lonely.

At a young age, kids are even more impressionable to failure. Being a smart or talented girl can be especially hard. The high schoolers who visited us are no stranger to that. Your coworkers are no stranger to that. Having boys throw tantrums because you're better than them can teach you to feel bad for succeeding. You should make yourself small. Or, you should never ever fail, because how will it feel when they use your failure to feel better about themselves?

Either way there is pressure and doubt. I saw that same doubt when I talked to the Tech Trek students. They were here to visit, but they wanted to prove to me that they had earned it. I asked the circle I was sitting with to tell me what they did for fun. The first girl said, "I'm on the robotics team." "No, I mean, what do you actually do for fun, outside of school and robotics?" "…I knit." They liked to garden, play sports, watch anime, learn new instruments, dance, read, and draw. Honestly, I was surprised by the number of avid knitters in the group. And yes, they also like to play with robots. But they thought they had to be someone else for me, someone who was extraordinary at school and lived, breathed, and dreamed science and technology. Many of them were shy to admit they didn't want to be engineers. One wanted to be a doctor instead. Only a teenage girl would be embarrassed to admit she wants to be a doctor. That's the reality of imposter syndrome.

A particular interaction that stood out to me, although the entire day was fun and inspiring, was afterwards, when one of the students came up to me and asked me about my experience being bisexual. What was college like? We both knew she was really asking, "Will I have to hide?" The intricacies of navigating life as a gay person is a topic for another post, but the point still stands.

Every day, for different reasons, people you work with ask themselves, "Will I have to hide?" "Will I have to hide that I don't like Computer Science even though I'm taking a tour here today?" "Will I have to hide my opinion in these meetings because my teammates will think I'm stupid?" "Will I have to hide that my coworker talks down to me and it hurts my feelings?" "Will I have to hide that I want that big promotion so my peers won't think I'm trying to rock the boat?"

I believe that if you want to be an ally of any minority, then answer the questions they won't ask. If you want to be a friend, answer those questions. Tell them you believe in them. Tell them you admire their work. Show them it's okay to be uncertain by opening up when you need help. Ask them for their opinion. Empathize and seek to understand.

popular

How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
popular

30+ Ways Companies Are Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

Founded in 1989, Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 and ends October 15. The four-week span over two calendar months may seem a bit odd, but it comes with good reason, as it covers independence anniversaries of several Latin American countries, as well as key celebrations in Hispanic and Latin communities. Apart from commemorating major holidays and historic milestones, this month honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.

We asked some of our partner companies what they're doing to honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work this year, and we were inspired by the wide range of responses, from highlighting the impact that employees have in local communities to hosting fireside conversations on allyship to sharing performances and instruction of famous cultural dances.ot only are these companies honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, they're finding ways to spread positive change throughout the year. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Webinars

The Workplace of the Future: How Companies Can Plan for The Ever-Changing

As vaccination numbers climb and some—though not all—of our collective paranoia begins to dissipate, businesses are starting to reopen. Employers face a key decision: how will they respond? Will they go back to the ways of life before COVID? Or will they adopt more permanently the flexibility and remote-first work necessitated by the pandemic?

As part of our Corporate Circles: Inclusive Conversation Series, join PowerToFly's Global Director of DEI Sienna Brown and Global DEI Strategist & Trainer Zara Chaudary on Friday, October 1st from 12pm to 1:30pm Eastern for an interactive roundtable as we discuss and share the tools and mindset needed to create the office of the future in a post-pandemic world.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less

Introducing Our Newest Partner: The Conferences for Women

We are pleased to announce our partnership with The Conference for Women, whose mission is to promote, communicate, and amplify the influence of women in the workplace and beyond.

"At our annual non-partisan, non-profit conferences, we bring together thousands of active professionals to connect, renew, and find inspiration in community. We are committed to helping close the pay gap, eliminate gender discrimination, and achieve parity in company leadership and on corporate boards. We inspire the next generation through our Young Women's program and we support local non-profit organizations. The Conferences for Women harness the collective wisdom, experience, and energy of inspirational women and men of all ages and backgrounds in service of our values: supporting and giving back to our growing nationwide community."

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Nike Inc

Valari: Nike's Newest Fellowship Program

Below is originally written by Jarvis Sam, and published on August 5, 2021. Go Nike's company page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Nike, Inc. is excited to announce a new program designed to connect talented caregivers to high-powered teams in Global Technology.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
© Rebelmouse 2020