This Note is about new beginnings, losing and regaining self-worth
I’m like many artistic individuals who beat themselves over the head with every perception of imperfection. And so, I want to write about my journey as an imperfect artistic person embodying a communications role and the Impostor Syndrome that came from trying to fill that space.
In order to blog about Impostor Syndrome, I need to give some background about how I got here in the first place.
I graduated from a design course in 2021. Like most design graduates who do not come from a place of financial privilege, I knew it would take a while (a day job and several unpaid internships) to make a design career. I had showcased my designs at London Fashion Week but my finances meant I could not afford to pursue any opportunities that came from there and thus, into the job market I went.
What I was not prepared for was the onslaught of noes. Sometimes I was not even dignified with a response, regardless of how much I personalised each application. It was an excruciating few months of questioning myself, my worth and my intellect. To survive, I went back into hospitality as a mixologist. The nights merged into one and my dreams of effecting social change through Dress seemed to diminish as the reality of being a graduate, an adult, set in.
I couldn’t see a way forward. But then I came across this advertisement for this role.
I vividly remember reading the advert and thinking to myself, “That’s me! They are looking for someone like me!”. And then, I did nothing. I was so convinced that, like the many other job applications I had submitted before, this one would end in tears. But there was something about the ad that struck a chord:
“A sense of optimism and curiosity about working with people to meet their needs and aspirations.”
That sentence revived something inside. Not optimism, I was far too disillusioned with job hunting to connect with that, but “curiosity”. I have always been a curious being. It’s why my first degree is in Sociology and Anthropology, and why my second degree is in Fashion Design.
Curiosity reminds me of being a child. Of being innocent and believing that everything is going to be alright. Curiosity reminds me to keep an open mind about people I don’t know. To ask questions. To not judge. To not give up.
Once awakened, I read about the work the charity does, which made me even more curious. It made me want to meet the team. At the same time, I was worried about being good enough. The job posting said I could speak with someone to learn more about the job role. I was scared of taking the opportunity but finally called Géraud, I was able to ascertain that the organisation was unbiased about experience and they would give a chance to anyone who showed potential.
I finished my call with Géraud cautiously optimistic and determined to show the team the myriad skills I had accrued over the years, from education and employment.
I will never forget being called by Magie and invited to an interview, meeting Géraud, Kate and Cameron at the BEC for the interview (we shared embarrassing stories about ourselves to calm my nerves; I love these people!), or the email from Géraud offering the position.
At last, it felt like I had turned a corner and that for the first time in a while, I was going to be alright. Boy was I wrong! See, what I had not factored into my small victory is how it would segue into feeling undeserving of the opportunity to work with such amazing people.
Impostor Syndrome Returns
Since I started in this role, I have grappled with Imposter Syndrome. It comes from a place of wanting to prove myself to my team. I mean, if you have met the forces of nature that are my colleagues, you’d understand.
Plus, now that I have had the privilege of meeting the Community Steering Group and listening to their stories, I understand just how important our work is.
That realisation, and the pressure of wanting to be a part of a team that doesn’t just talk the talk but does the deed, is one of the things that has made me feel like I must ‘perform’. There is no other way to describe it other than trying to ‘fake it ‘til I make it’. I just had to keep proving to the team that I was working. That I was present. That I had something to say (even if they were half baked ideas or theories), anything so as not to be kicked out of the funhouse!
I didn’t think anyone would see through the act until I spoke with Géraud last week. It was a Friday. He was heading off to his holiday and we were having a heart to heart. I wanted to know what I could do to improve. He was kind enough to tell me to “stop the ‘performance”.
Géraud helped me realise that Impostor Syndrome is far more common than I thought it was, that I should be a little kinder to myself and to trust the people around me. He signposted me to Cameron who was very empathetic and reassured me that I was not alone and that I could always come lean on them. I spoke with Kate as well who let me in on a little secret about BD Giving, “It’s okay to be unfinished, it is okay to ask for help”.
A Tremendous Adventure
Through all the noise and self-doubt, for me, the last two months have been filled with tremendous adventure:
- Meeting the BD Giving team
- Going to the House of Commons to launch the Investment Policy developed by the Community Steering Group
- Being a part of Giving Week 2022
- Meeting all the wonderful people from the Curiosity Society, London Funders and London Giving
- Meeting the Community Steering Group
- Learning about Barking and Dagenham as a borough
Am I fully confident in the role of Content and Communications officer for BD Giving? Absolutely not. But, I am surrounded by a team of individuals who are helping me be the best version of myself so I can pour all the potential that they saw in me into helping create social change. That means a whole lot to me.
So, as a final thought, here is to teams who practice what they preach, and to Louise Kavanagh for being the mentor that she is.
I am delighted to be on this journey and excited to see how I evolve!