Early on in my career, you could say I had what you might like to call a mentor, we were friends, we still are, and naturally he taught me a few things.
Things like how to be taken seriously in the workplace as a young developer, how to deal with office politics, but also something quite significant, which has stuck with me since then.
Something that I’ve always believed to be his mantra, to, as he would put it, “fucking own it”.
At first, I believed this to just be his fervour, he was pretty enthusiastic; but I started applying it to a couple of things, and started to realise how powerful it really was.
It began with a company party, I’d had had a couple too many, and said something a little embarrassing. Whilst harmless, I had to face the jokes that would inevitably be thrown my way come Monday morning.
Instead of this, I changed my email signature to the exact words I had used to embarrass myself the Friday before (SFW), and I made a joke of it. No longer was it an office joke, it was my joke, I had owned it.
Like many people I face a lot of insecurities about myself, and my abilities; this is not uncommon amongst young professionals. I’m sometimes so doubtful in my ability that I purposefully (albeit without conscious knowledge of doing so) sabotage myself, believing that I don’t deserve to be where I am.
You could forgive me for thinking so, at the time I was a 26 year old developer from a small town in north Wales. I had no idea then that I would even escape my home town, let alone make it all the way to Berlin.
Nothing has changed since then, I still question my validity here, but knowledge of how many other people are affected by imposter syndrome allows me to appreciate that I might be wrong, to simply step back and apply logic to the scenario.
I use this, and I use it well, I study, and I study fucking hard.
I own it.
I research and read everything I can get my hands on, I know what is coming, and I know how to use it, I apply myself as best I can for fear that I might lose my grip.
That fear hasn’t gone, it still haunts me, but I have enough experience to know that it is only a fear, and nothing more, it has no meaning, purpose or rightful place in my consciousness, so I carry on.
I like to think I’m not arrogant enough to boast success, but I’m doing well for myself, I enjoy working with my colleagues, and I like to think they enjoy working with me.
I’m fortunate enough to work with people not afraid to congratulate me on a job well done, something which, if you’re ever in a position to do so, you should do, often.
I contribute as best I can to the community, and I enjoy the conversation of everybody who cares to share their experiences.
Sometimes, I even see somebody in the same place I was, nervous, a little insecure, but determined, and I think … you’re gonna be fucking great.