Working Girls: Millennial Guilt and Imposter Syndrome Is Kicking Your Career's Ass
By Sola Onitiri
If you haven't heard, millennial women are absolutely crushing the workforce. That's right folks, just like Queen Bey posits, girls really do run the world. Data shows that not only are almost 60% of college students women but we also are getting better, and higher paid entry jobs. However, although the numbers are in our favor, there are a few things that most millennial women have to deal with in the workplace that no one seems to be talking about. That's where we come in. This month, with the help of some special guests we're having "The Talk". No, not the birds and the bees, but rather the work drama and the promotions. We're going to get to the bottom of the questions you're too afraid to ask, or will help you make the right decision in changing or furthering your career. We're telling you how to quit the job you hate, how to ask for that raise you deserve, how to be less of a workaholic, and more. But before we get there, let's take steps to defeat something that every millennial woman in the workplace experiences - imposter syndrome and millennial guilt.
Ahhh Imposter Syndrome...
The dark cloud that looms above you at work. If you’re not familiar with this pesky little thing by name, you might familiar with its close relatives, self-doubt, self- sabotage, and chronic millennial guilt. Dealing with imposter syndrome is very tricky because sometimes it makes you feel ill-equipped and sometimes even downright stupid. But here's the thing, Imposter syndrome is what’s keeping you from a great new job or a well-deserved promotion. As someone who’s continually struggled with this, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to kick imposter syndrome where the sun don’t shine.
Don’t forget your resume - please read that with punctuated claps. Whenever you feel like you’re not equipped for the job, remind yourself what got you there. Print out your resume, visit your Linkedin profile, or online portfolio and remind yourself that you actually kick ass. Even though you may feel like your boss or client made a big mistake in hiring you, they did it for a reason. Constantly remind yourself why you get paid the big bucks.
"Imposter syndrome is what’s keeping you from a great new job or a well-deserved promotion."
Another way to combat imposter syndrome is to ask for frequent evaluations. Take time to sit down with your boss and ask for a few things. 1. How they think you’re doing. 2. Ways you can utilize your time at work better. 3. If there’s anything you can help them with 4. Any other updates. Not only will you sound super professional, but also, your boss will know that you are a dedicated member of the team who’s always thinking about the bigger picture. When you’re done speaking with you boss, informally ask your coworkers similar questions.
The working Millennial's plight
As millennials, we're often seen as the kid with expendable time who knows what's hip with the youth. And a way we try to combat this image that's thrust upon is by doing our homework. Get all the information you need to complete a project from good sources. However, It’s super important to note that you should never get stuck in the researching phase without coming up for air. Don’t do a bunch of research if you’re not going to use it, speak about it, or utilize it. If you’re doing that, you’re avoiding making decisions by burying your head in a book. If you do that, you're not only doing your homework, you're doing extra credit that's not even being counted. This is a clear sight of millennial guilt.
It's Five O clock Go Home
It’s important for you to know that it isn't your responsibility to change the “Millennials are lazy” narrative that has been hoisted upon us. Actually, when you think about it, we are the generation of unpaid internships, long hours, and answering work emails over a 9 pm dinner. So not wanting to work overtime every day does NOT actually make us lazy or ungrateful at all. It does, however, make us feel extremely guilty when we do leave. Let me be clear, you need to get rid of that feeling.
The most important thing to realize is that everyone’s boundaries are different. If you like working until 7 pm then that’s great - that’s exactly the standard you should set for yourself. But no matter what time you prefer it’s important to set that boundary early. In fact, one of the questions you should ask your future employer during the interview/negotiation process should be about company culture. Ask about the work you will be doing and the timeline. Ask if there is typically a lot of late nights. Double check and see if you are allowed to get some work done at home. If all the questions are answered to your liking, briefly break into a happy dance in the privacy of your home, then start to plan the ways you’re going to let your boundaries be known.
"we are the generation of unpaid internships, long hours, and answering work emails over a 9 pm dinner."
The first and best way to assuage chronic millennial guilt should go without saying - work your butt off. Utilize your time at work wisely, work passionately, and make sure you get your work done in a timely matter. Sometimes you will have to work late because that’s what it takes. But that should be because you are determined to see your project through. If seeing your project through requires you to work until dawn five days a week, then ask for an evaluation. Maybe there’s something you can do to use your time more efficiently or maybe your boss can give you a helping hand or at the very least a coworker/intern to help.
tl;DR: The Take aways
1. Print out physical reminders that you're kick ass.
2. Imposter syndrome is 100% holding you back.
3. Work your butt off then hit the showers.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback.
5. It isn't your responsibility to change the “Millennials are lazy” narrative.
6. Set your boundaries early.