Home Forums Dose of Vee The Cocktail Hour: Imposter Syndrome 101

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    Just three years ago, I was sitting behind a desk at a Trustmark Bank. It was actually my sixth and last financial institution. By that point, I’d held just about every position in retail banking possible. I had no desire whatsoever to make banking a career. It wasn’t a bad gig, especially with all the paid holidays because that meant 3-day weekends. Who doesn’t love an extended weekend? Despite that, I was very unhappy and felt like life was just passing me by. That’s probably because it was.

    In 2019, I completed my graduate program at the University of Memphis. Chile, that wasn’t even in the deck of cards. It felt more like a job than school. I was 26 at the time. By that point, I planned to be a correspondent for E! News, have written my first tell-all book, and be on my way to becoming the male Oprah. Instead, I was at the bank, hiding behind the plexiglass at that very desk to avoid another customer coming in to dispute a charge or request an account statement. Yes, people still request those as if online banking doesn’t exist. Tell your grandma to stop! To my surprise, the pandemic would be my blessing in disguise and my ticket out of what felt like hell. October 2020 is when I decided to take a chance on myself. I quit my job in hopes of getting my big break in journalism.

    God worked pretty fast, because four months later I landed my first job in news here in Maryland. Talk about a culture shock! No day on the job looks the same. I might be talking to the Governor one minute and the Chief of Police the next. Long story short, the job keeps me on my toes. I have no interest in politics whatsoever, so just imagine me working on a story about proposed legislation and the chambers of government it has to pass before it becomes law. It’s been over two years now, and it’s still a foreign language to me. It was in this very role that I finally understood what it meant to fake it till you make it. That’s gotten me through some of the toughest days.

    You’re probably asking yourself, What’s his problem? He made it. He’s living out his dreams. Well, I’m just like every other black, twenty-something professional in today’s workforce who’s dealt with imposter syndrome. I have a whole master’s degree, but sometimes I walk into the office feeling like I’m unqualified. Questioning why or how I got here. I think that’s partially due to how many of us were raised. We’ve been programmed to believe that we have to be twice as good just to be good enough. We have to be damn near perfect. There’s no room for error because we have generational curses we’re trying to break. You may even carry the weight of being the first to go to college or the first one brave enough to leave your hometown. Maybe the reason we think we may never be good enough is because we’re trying to get to this unattainable level of perfection. That’s exhausting.

    I probably don’t fit the description of a standard news reporter. I’m black, gay, and have a southern drawl that viewers won’t let me forget I have. Yet, I’d like to think that what makes us different is the very thing that makes us unique. Make that your superpower. Walk into every room you enter like you own the damn place. Keep your head high. Every door that opens for you is meant for you to go through. There’s probably someone dreaming about being in the position you’re in right now. By taking up space, you’re making room for someone just like you to follow in your footsteps. Just know that when y’all see male reporters with bold nail colors, lapel pins, and a bright colored suit, I contributed to that. I’m realizing that in all aspects of life, being yourself is the secret sauce. Everything else just has a way of falling into place.

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