The Art of Network Engineering

How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome

July 03, 2024 A.J., Tim, and Kevin Episode 149
How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome
The Art of Network Engineering
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The Art of Network Engineering
How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome
Jul 03, 2024 Episode 149
A.J., Tim, and Kevin

This episode was recorded March 7, 2024.

You're not alone if you've ever felt like a fraud in your own life's story. It's called imposter syndrome, and it's the uninvited guest lurking in the minds of high-achievers everywhere. We tackle this common adversary, laughing in the face of AI-generated podcast intros and recalling Tim's tranquil photography haven to remind us of the peace found in embracing our accomplishments.

Strap in as we take the wheel and steer straight into the heart of our professional fears. We've all been there, questioning our place at the table or hesitating to raise our hand. But what if these moments of doubt are actually secret passages to growth? We're here to share the map, guiding you through the power of "yes" and the pivotal role of community. From the hallowed halls of IT to the dynamic world of sales, we dissect imposter syndrome and reframe it as a motivator, exploring how asking questions can be the key to unlocking new perspectives.

Ever felt the spotlight's glare as you stepped into the world of social media or transitioned careers? We're pulling back the curtain on the realities of making these leaps. Join us as we recount the initial trepidation of TikTok fame and the ‘YOLO’ mindset that can transform the terror of mistake-making into invaluable professional lessons. Don't miss our candid conversation on how to ride the rollercoaster of career shifts and turn the imposter syndrome’s dizzying drops into fuel for your ascent.

Find everything AONE right here: https://linktr.ee/artofneteng

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode was recorded March 7, 2024.

You're not alone if you've ever felt like a fraud in your own life's story. It's called imposter syndrome, and it's the uninvited guest lurking in the minds of high-achievers everywhere. We tackle this common adversary, laughing in the face of AI-generated podcast intros and recalling Tim's tranquil photography haven to remind us of the peace found in embracing our accomplishments.

Strap in as we take the wheel and steer straight into the heart of our professional fears. We've all been there, questioning our place at the table or hesitating to raise our hand. But what if these moments of doubt are actually secret passages to growth? We're here to share the map, guiding you through the power of "yes" and the pivotal role of community. From the hallowed halls of IT to the dynamic world of sales, we dissect imposter syndrome and reframe it as a motivator, exploring how asking questions can be the key to unlocking new perspectives.

Ever felt the spotlight's glare as you stepped into the world of social media or transitioned careers? We're pulling back the curtain on the realities of making these leaps. Join us as we recount the initial trepidation of TikTok fame and the ‘YOLO’ mindset that can transform the terror of mistake-making into invaluable professional lessons. Don't miss our candid conversation on how to ride the rollercoaster of career shifts and turn the imposter syndrome’s dizzying drops into fuel for your ascent.

Find everything AONE right here: https://linktr.ee/artofneteng

Speaker 1:

What's some of your advice for doing that, for turning it from negative to positive?

Speaker 2:

Think about your past and what you're capable of. Think about things that you've already succeeded at and that at one day you probably felt a little bit of imposter syndrome about that thing as well. And here you are. You've already made it this far, so don't forget about where you came from. This is the Art of Network Engineering podcast. In this podcast, we explore tools, technologies and talented people. We enter new information that will expand your skill sets and toolbox and share the stories of fellow network engineers.

Speaker 1:

All right, fellas, let's call out the elephant in the room. The intros have been non-existent lately and I've been struggling with the creativity writer's block, whatever you want to call it. So I'll ask you guys what do we use pervasively, especially lately when we need to find the answers to stuff? It's got to be ai lately I was going to say alcohol, but yeah, ai is close enough. Close enough we can roll with that and that's, that's actually I wouldn't call it alcohol intelligence that.

Speaker 1:

That's actually what I did for tonight's intro. I used AI, not alcohol. Well, I don't think I was drinking for this, but I offer no guarantees. So I went to chat GPT and I said I asked what are some funny intro ideas for a network engineering podcast?

Speaker 2:

I can't wait.

Speaker 1:

You guys think that some of my intros are cringy? Buckle up, fellas, here we go. So it spat me out like 10 of these. We'll read five, but just be prepared is all I'll say. All right, number one I can't even straight face this Holy shit. Welcome to Bites and Chuckles, the podcast where we bridge the gap between networking and comedy, because laughter is the best way to avoid network congestion.

Speaker 2:

See what I'm dealing with here. Here we go, all right.

Speaker 1:

Number two Get ready for a wild ride through the world of routers, switches and dad jokes. This is the Ping is Right, where we troubleshoot your tech problems and your laughter latency.

Speaker 2:

Other than the name. I think they nailed the show right there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it wasn't bad. Okay, number three. Hello network nerds and tech jesters. Okay, number three. Hello network nerds and tech jesters. You've just plugged into the Land Before Time the podcast that promises more laughs per megabit than any other network engineering show out there. I kind of like that last bit, that last bit ain't bad.

Speaker 2:

That's going to tug at my heartstrings. Laughs per megabit.

Speaker 1:

That's okay, that's great, that's good. All right. Number four Welcome to Switch. Happens, megabit, that's, it's okay, that's great, that's good, all right. Number four welcome to switch. Happens. The podcast that proves network engineers have a sense of humor. To get ready for some subnet comedy and a vlan of laughs.

Speaker 2:

Wow wow that one.

Speaker 3:

There's a third show on the way for a1 switch happens.

Speaker 1:

That's gonna be a bumper sticker yeah, it's got to be, if it's not already, all right. And and number five um aj. Just fair warning, we might get sued for this one. I apologize ahead of time to greg, ethan and drew, but I we got to do, we got to roll with it. Good day packet pushers and subnet stand-up enthusiasts. This is Giggle Bits, the podcast where we break down complex networking concepts and build up your laughter levels.

Speaker 3:

Wow, that was rough Wow.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome.

Speaker 3:

I'm impressed. To be honest, ai did better than I thought it would. Yeah, I mean impressed.

Speaker 2:

to be honest, AI did better than I thought it would.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean it wasn't terrible. It was bad, but it wasn't terrible. No, I get the gist of what they were doing.

Speaker 2:

I remember the first time when ChatGPT came out and Andy went to it and was just like give me 10 episode ideas for a network engineering podcast. And we had done like eight of the 10 already and we're like well, it's probably scraping your your data there to get it.

Speaker 2:

I wonder if we'd get any better answers if we went and did it then. Anyway, welcome to another episode of the Art of Network Engineering. I am AJ Murray at NoBlinkyBlinky on all the socials out there and I'm excited to be joined by Tim Bertino. He is at Tim Bertino, Tim. Thanks for the intro man, that was great.

Speaker 1:

They are better when I don't invent them, I found out. At least it's easier that way.

Speaker 2:

I don't know about that man. You have some instant classics like Nacho. What was it Wandy Savage there? Yes, oh that was, I didn't.

Speaker 1:

I should have leaned into that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I bet.

Speaker 1:

ChatGPT would have told me to do that, but I didn't ask.

Speaker 2:

I'm good fellas.

Speaker 1:

It's good to see you both. I'm glad to be here. We've got an exciting topic to unpack and it's timely because I won't give it away. But the topic but trying to figure out how to be a pre-sales engineer and stumbling and fumbling quite a bit. So I'm ready to talk about tonight's topic.

Speaker 2:

Tim, I just got to say I love that three panel photograph behind you there.

Speaker 1:

It would have been better if you would have taken the picture I?

Speaker 2:

I don't think so, man, that's. That is a beautiful shot that you took, and you took that right on your, your little smartphone. Huh, yeah, no, I appreciate it, man.

Speaker 1:

That looks great, that's uh, that that place has become my happy place. So the last two years we've um, I've gone with my wife's brothers to this is a national forest in Colorado and we've gotten the same just fantastic camp spot both years. It's kind of tucked away so it's just big enough really for one RV so you don't have really close neighbors and it's kind of up on a hill with a valley and a river below and the mountains in the distance.

Speaker 2:

it's gorgeous uh, you know, I've been out there, not to colorado, but I've been to wyoming and it's, you know, the same general central united states and it's just absolutely beautiful out there, absolutely beautiful. I'm dying to go back and I'm dying to go there. I tell you what uh also joining us this evening, kevin. He is at adjacent nodejacent Node. Kevin, how are you doing?

Speaker 3:

man, good to see you again. I'm doing great. I'm really excited about this episode too. I think I'm more excited about this episode than I am when it was my episode that I was on. Actually, I think this is a really cool topic, and I think it's a topic that every single person who's in tech deals with. Yes, person who's in tech deals with and can. Yes, I mean it's great that we're talking about it and are able to uh, you know, put our experiences out there and tell people that they're not alone in this.

Speaker 1:

So I'm excited about it as I gotta I gotta ask you, kevin, do you personally reach out to all of your new tiktok followers?

Speaker 3:

no, not at all. There's just too many. There's too many. I get several DMs a day on my TikTok and I do look at them briefly and if someone does have like a specific question, I'll reach out and like talk to them. I'll get a lot of questions like, hey, this is what's going on in my network, can you help me troubleshoot it? And there's like you know, there's very little information in their message and that kind of stuff.

Speaker 2:

So I don't bother.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I don't, so I can't. I can't answer every single message, but I do check them and, um, I try to at least respond to comments, um, and look at every single comment.

Speaker 1:

So so the reason I ask is my wife found you on Tik TOK. Actually, I think I talked to her.

Speaker 3:

She followed you and she's like he.

Speaker 1:

He said hi to me Well.

Speaker 3:

I think, her username. I don't want to dox her or anything with her username, but I could tell that, based on her username, that you might be related. Yeah. So I was like hmm. So I reached out to her, I was like hey, do you happen to be related to Tim? And she's like yeah, so we chatted for a second.

Speaker 1:

Not a whole lot of open source intelligence had to happen on that one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, no, that's good Good stuff. Well, let's jump right into it. Tonight we are talking about imposter syndrome and, like Kevin said, everybody at some point, if not every day, will experience what imposter syndrome is. And the dictionary defines imposter syndrome is the condition of feeling anxious and not experiencing success internally, despite being a high-performing individual externally in objective ways. This condition often results in people feeling like a fraud or an imposter, a phony, and doubting their abilities, worried that they're going to get found out by their peers and potentially bad things happening to them, Like I'm going to get fired because people are going to find out that I. It's okay. Anyway, I know that I have experienced imposter syndrome at various points throughout my career. I'm even experiencing it now as I enter a new role. Guys, where do you land with this? Tim? I think you kind of hinted that you might be going through this now as you take a new role in sales.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say it's definitely followed me throughout my career, even starting. So when I jumped in, I went to college not really even knowing I just thought that I kind of wanted to work with computers, but I didn't know what. So I walked into my first every class with that. I have no idea what's going on, whether it be C++ or even Cisco Networking Academy was definitely one of them. And then you get a job in the real world and that follows you there, because you've maybe never had a role professionally, especially a technical role professionally. And then I was at the same place for 13 years, but I was taking different roles. I was at the same place for 13 years, but I was taking different roles. So I get a new bump of that every so often.

Speaker 1:

And then, yeah, just recently, jumping out of the customer world and into the vendor world and in a place the size of where I'm at now, is just every day. It's like why did they pick me to do this? Do they know I'm not ready for this yet, and it's just. It's really. It's an interesting feeling. I think it's all in the way you handle it, and I'm actually really interested to hear what Kevin has to say about this? Because he, you said something really insightful right before this and that this may not, this feeling may not be a bad thing, at least all the time. So, kevin, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so much. Like you, I kind of fell into IT and what I'm doing. So I've never felt really comfortable and, like I'm the one, I'm the man. So that feeling has, you know, followed me wherever I've gone. But what I've found is that once I built up a little bit of confidence in that I could figure stuff out no matter what project came my way. I know I'm smart enough. I have experience doing this. I can probably muddle my way through anything.

Speaker 3:

And once I was past that hump, the imposter syndrome actually started helping me, in that I never felt like I was too smart or too anything too confident to do anything. I was always open to other people's ideas. I'm always curious and wanting to learn more and never thinking like, oh, I could figure this out, no problem, I don't need to do research, I don't need to dig into stuff, I can just do it, and I think it's helped me a lot and I think it's kind of a superpower. I don't need to dig into stuff, I can just, you know, just do it, and I think I think it's helped me a lot and I think it's kind of a superpower. I think the people who have imposter syndrome and can still say yes to things and not hold themselves back, um are able to, um do things and be open, where I think, if, if you're the opposite, then you just you shut it down and you don't grow. You don't grow as much, and imposter syndrome actually helps everyone grow.

Speaker 1:

So I think I want to add onto the end of that Cause that was something that I was thinking of when, when you said you know, don't always see it as a bad thing. I think you can use it as fuel. Like you said right at the end, there is that if you have some of those thoughts, it's and you nailed it on the head with the word growth you can use it as a fuel for growth in that, hey, I may not know as much as I need to know in a specific topic or whatever, so you decide to put your head down and go for it and continue to learn, Whereas the opposite, if you're afraid to jump into certain things, it could end up and lead to a level of complacency that you just kind of put your head in the sand and don't grow yourself in your career. Yeah for sure. What do you think, aj?

Speaker 2:

I'm of the same camp that Kevin is in, that I've always Actually I can't say always, because I definitely suffered from imposter syndrome early on in my career. Right Like you guys, I went to college for it, I learned a lot, and then I get to work. It's just like I don't know nearly as much as I need to right now, and that happened when I took my job at the first partner. Right Like I had been doing a lot of network engineering throughout my career. And then I get into some of those meetings and a lot of stuff is just like, oh my gosh, like do I really belong here? What if I make a wrong decision or suggestion? I'm just going to sound like an idiot, I don't know, and for a short time I did. It stifled me. Right Like I, I would observe a whole lot more than than participate to, and then kind of like see what other people suggested for answers, and it's just like, well, that's kind of what I was thinking.

Speaker 2:

But but today, you know, after, after having spent a lot of time dealing with imposter syndrome, I view it as a positive, in that it's all about growth. You're, you're experiencing this feeling because you are exploring something new, You're growing in your career, You're learning a new technology. What's the old saying there? Every master was once a beginner. Right, You're not going to be an expert right away. You have to start somewhere. So just kind of remembering that in the back of my head all the time like okay, breathe, this is new, this is exciting, this is fun. And before long I will be experienced maybe not an expert or a master, but before long this will be a whole lot easier than it is today.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think that's the key is still saying yes to things, still wanting to grow, even though it's scary as hell. Taking on a new role, taking on a new project, taking on a new technology, whatever is going to be scary every single time, but you just have to have confidence enough to say, yeah, I don't know what I'm doing, but I'll figure it out. That's the reason why I'm on the show right now.

Speaker 2:

I was scared to hell to go on the show, let alone host co-host.

Speaker 3:

And I just had to say yes, I don't know if I'll be good at it. I don't know. I don't know. I've never done a podcast before, I've never done live streaming before. I have no idea if I'll be good at it, but I'm going to try. Because I want to try and I got to say yes. So, it's do not hump.

Speaker 2:

You got doing a great job, man, and this is like what episode three for you if we count. You know your, your episode, so so that you're you're doing a great job. It's like you know, I think I was telling everyone last week you're like a natural at it, so so feel good about what you're doing doesn't feel that way.

Speaker 3:

Doesn't feel that way. I still feel imposter syndrome.

Speaker 1:

I feel like I don't belong so and the radio voice is strong, dig it, it's all the mic. So let me ask you guys, aj, I'll start with you. I think there's two ways, like we've kind of defined here. There's two ways to think about and approach imposter syndrome. There's the negative self-talk and then there's spinning it around and using it as fuel. So, aj, I'll ask you first, do you have any specific advice for handling some of that negative self-talk? You guys just mentioned getting over the hump and, rather than thinking it as a negative, turning it into a positive. So what's some of your advice for doing that, for turning it from negative to positive?

Speaker 2:

Sure, I would recommend that people think back to a time in their lives where they were starting out at something right and then you know, think about how you got the experience and became that master, the IT job, and it's your first day on the help desk. You're probably going to feel a little bit of imposter syndrome when you start taking tickets and stuff like that. Hopefully you get some easy ones and you can, you know. But think about your past and what you're capable of. Think about things that you've already succeeded at and that at one you probably felt a little bit of imposter syndrome about that thing as well. And here you are, you've already made it this far. So you know, don't don't forget about where you came from.

Speaker 3:

It's. You know, the. The breakthrough for me was talking to my kids. Um, my, my kids were, um, I think, like five or six at a time and they were scared. They were scared of everything Scared of talking to people, scared of talking to a teacher, scared of getting up and finding the bathroom at a new place. They were scared and I was telling them I know you can do it, you've done things hard before and you can just do it scared. You'll be scared no matter what, but you can't be brave unless you're scared. You just got to do it. It was like I need to talk to myself that way. It was like I was I need to talk to myself that way. You know. It was like this is scary, it's going to be okay, though. I know you can do it, you just got to do it. So it took that like outside perspective to to, to do that.

Speaker 1:

Isn't it crazy how us trying to grow and teach our kids ends up teaching us back.

Speaker 3:

Oh, yeah, for sure, practice what you preach brother. Got to kind of parent yourself a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, 100%. So can you guys think of a time where having imposter syndrome may have negatively impacted you, albeit for a short period of time?

Speaker 3:

The biggest one for me would be not speaking up when I had something to say. If I'm in a meeting or I have an idea to bring to the team, I just feel like my idea is stupid. They're going to laugh at me, it's not going to work. They'll say, oh, that won't work because of this reason and I'll feel like an idiot. And that's probably been the hardest. Just do it in my career is just being like. I may sound like an idiot, but I need to at least have my input. And nine times out of 10, they're not going to laugh at you. There are some times they might laugh at you.

Speaker 1:

It's off the wall.

Speaker 3:

But for the most part they respect. If you have a good team, good community, good atmosphere in your workplace, no one's going to make fun of you. No one really cares. Any idea is a good idea if it's not completely off the wall.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I will echo that. I think sitting in meetings has always been a big one for me, because you're usually sitting in these, physically or virtually, and there's a bunch of people in there and certain things are getting said that you just don't know and you're like. I feel like to be able to understand and contribute to this conversation. I have to ask this question. But it's scary, right, because for whatever reason, we have that feeling that I'm the only one who doesn't understand this. That's just me. I'm always that way. It's like why would I ask that I'm going to be the only one who doesn't understand this? But I agree with Kevin. I think you need to speak up, otherwise you're just taking, otherwise you're doing yourself a disservice.

Speaker 1:

In fact, an example of this is when I was out in training for Cisco. There was a couple things where it's just like this seems like the most obvious thing why am I the only person who doesn't understand this? And I asked. And then somebody in the class came up to me later and I feel grateful that he did. Is he's like you asked a couple questions that I know myself and I'm sure a bunch of other people in this room had, and we just didn't want to ask. So you may end up helping other people too.

Speaker 1:

And another thing I'll say to that is that's the beautiful thing about not knowing certain things in a room full of experts is you will ask certain questions that may force the experts to think about things from a different perspective. I had a really good leader one time that I loved having him in technical conversations because he would sit at this 50,000 foot level and ask high level questions when I'm so focused down in the weeds that it forced me to step back and look at it from a different perspective and go, whoa, he's got a really good point here. So don't ever feel like the dumb person in the room. If you've got a question, ask it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree and I think Kevin alluded to this a little bit If you have the right team, the right coworkers, even if you do throw something that's a little bit out of left field, they should pull you back and say, hey, well, that's a good idea. But I think maybe you overlooked this detail, that maybe disqualifies that idea for whatever reason. Right, if you're doing a design session or whatever and write, you know, if you're doing a design session or whatever you know, take it as an opportunity, even if you do get it wrong, to to learn something. Right, like, if you, you at least learn something out of the experience, all good.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, having a brain, a brainstorm session, it feels kind of scary, but when you're actually in it and someone's throwing ideas, you never I never think someone's an idiot. You know it's like. No, I've never had that Like I'm judging you right now because you asked a question or that you don't know something yet. I feel like everyone else, but we do it to ourselves. We do it to ourselves all the time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. I've tried to get better about that recently. When I, when I have some of that negative self-talk and it's like when other people are talking, do you in a professional setting, do you ever think about that, about them, and I'm like no, I don't.

Speaker 2:

Then why are you doing it to yourself? It's just, it's so tough. We got a really great question here in chat on our live YouTube stream. As we record this from Do Interaction, they say I was actually just looking into imposter syndrome today, had an interview with HR and another for technical coming up. Any recommendations for tackling imposter syndrome?

Speaker 2:

For a technical interview, you questions until you get to a point where you can't answer them, and that is usually to test the boundary of your knowledge. What do you know, what don't you know, and how do you handle situations where you don't know the answer? My recommendation is always going to be be honest with your knowledge. If you don't have a ton of experience or knowledge with something, don't try to pull an answer out of your ass, because they're going to know they're only going to ask you questions that they know the answers to. Otherwise they're not going to know whether or not you're giving an accurate answer. So, when it comes to the limits of your knowledge, just explain. Oh well, I've heard of that, but I don't have a lot of experience with it. I'm going to research that and I can certainly follow up with you the next time that we meet or something to that effect. Right, what do you guys think? Actually, I have a question about that.

Speaker 3:

So how I, how I have approached it, was that I would say you know, I don't know that I've never done that before, or whatever, but that this is kind of where my logic would go in that situation. This is what I would look for, this is the kind of things that I would Google or look at white pages for, and do you think that's along the same lines of a question, of a correct answer or the answer they're looking for?

Speaker 2:

It shows initiative. Yeah, exactly, I mean you prefaced your response by hey, I don't know here, but here's, based on my experience, here's my thought process on how I would deal with that, right Like, and I think that's a great answer, and I think that's the kind of answer that people are looking for. At least that's the information they want to get out of your response. How are you going to handle dealing with something that you're not familiar with?

Speaker 1:

And I think you can still show. You don't have to look like you're stumped. I think you can still show confidence even when you don't know something, and what Kevin just mentioned is a way to show confidence. You can explain that and you may not even have to. If you're really good at spinning it, you may not even have to say you don't know, but you can take it. Another tact you can explain that you haven't run into something like that before. But this is how I'd research it, or this is how I would approach the issue is a much stronger, more confident answer than just I'm not sure. I mean both are honest. At the end of the day, like AJ said, the person asking you the question already knows the answer. So I think honesty and confidence are important there.

Speaker 3:

That's the big thing. I've done a little bit of interviewing and you know we have all the answers and the people will try BSing you and that immediately disqualifies you. You know it's. I would much rather you say I have no freaking clue at all, I've never done that. Then try to come up with something that's out of thin air. Um it, I don't know if people don't realize that, that we know what we're talking. We're not going to ask you a question that we don't already know the answer to you know. So I. I never understood that. I never understood why someone would just try to BS.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that was a great question, though, and good luck to you. Do interaction in the chat? Good luck on that technical interview.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. I think some people have, you know, a complex right, like I want to show the interviewer that I know everything, that I'm the right person for this job. And then that's when imposter syndrome, you know kind of hits and unfortunately it takes them down the wrong path.

Speaker 3:

Yeah it's. You're also interviewing the company, and so you know I never want a job bad enough where I'm going to try to lie and set myself up for failure. I want it to be a good fit for me too, and so I want to be completely honest this is what you're getting, and if this fits for your needs and your situation, great. But if not, I don't want to be there. I don't want to put my round peg in a square hole. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

At the end of the day, you still have to protect your credibility.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think credibility is a huge piece in dealing with imposter syndrome. Right, you always have to be transparent about what you. If you are transparent about what you know and what you don't know, then that's going to help with the confidence piece. Right, I don't know that. I'm willing to learn it. I don't want to tell you a lie or something that's not accurate by any stretch of the imagination. I think of an example for me is I've been learning a lot about like authentication, saml authentication, and I didn't know SAML authentication but I know Active Directory authentication and it turns out the two are very similar. So it's similar with any authentication protocol, like, if you're familiar with Radius or TACACS, there's always some sort of a handshake process when credentials and stuff are exchanged and hashes for passwords and all that good stuff. So it's if you know one, chances are you have a good foundation to learn the other.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, when I was actually hired from my current position, they were looking for someone who had worked on checkpoint firewalls before and I had zero experience with checkpoint. And they were like you know, they started off the interview we're looking for checkpoint someone to administer our checkpoints. I was like, oh, I'm not your guy. I've never tested checkpoint in my life. Um, it's not me. And they were like, no, it's fine. It's fine, we see, you have firewall experience. And I was able to go into my firewall experience. They were like you know, we'll get you training, we'll get you up to speed on the vendor, that's not a big deal. But at first I was like, nope, I was very honest with that.

Speaker 2:

I'll see myself out or experience, despite not being exactly what they were looking for, still got you the job right. And I think a lot of people when they go into that job interview situation and they see everything that's listed in the job description, and it's like whoa gosh, I don't have experience with a lot of that stuff. I don't know if I'm going to be a good fit, and that's when some of those feelings can creep in, when you start to have those technical interview conversations.

Speaker 3:

You handled it well, that's great when you start to have those technical interview conversations. You handled it well, that's great. The job postings is another chance for imposter syndrome, where you're looking at all these things that you know they're asking for and you're like, oh God, I don't have 90% of this, I shouldn't apply, I can't do that, I can't do that job. And at that point you're just like, go for it. And then you're, you know, you show them what you are and if you're a good fit, you're a good fit. If not, move on to the next one. But just do it, go for it. Hit, apply Doesn't hurt. I love it.

Speaker 2:

Have you guys ever talked to somebody not in the IT career field about imposter syndrome?

Speaker 3:

Oh man, that's a good question.

Speaker 1:

I don't think I have. I don't think I have either, but I know it's out there, right. I think it's easy for us to, because we've all been in IT for so long to really just look at it from an IT lens. But now that you mentioned that, aj, it's you know we think it's rough for us. But let's look at some of those other professions. Like what if you're a medical doctor?

Speaker 3:

you know, yeah, that'd be terrifying, constantly terrifying, terrified.

Speaker 2:

Or a lawyer?

Speaker 1:

or a lawyer. Yeah, as soon as you said that, I just had the, the flash of, uh, jim carrey in front of me, liar, liar when he's pulling his hair out I have to imagine that people of all walks and professions have experienced or experience imposter syndrome in their careers.

Speaker 2:

This can't be limited to just like an IT thing. But not that I'm in other circles, right, like I don't normally socialize with a bunch of doctors, but I guess I don't ever hear of imposter syndrome in other contexts of my life, like I have hobbies outside of network engineering and IT, but I've never heard people within those hobbies ever discuss imposter syndrome. You hear people in the IT field that talk about it.

Speaker 1:

So I guess it's still IT adjacent. But as I've moved into this pre-sales engineering role, I've obviously been talking to a lot of account managers and this recently came up. So we have sales account managers that are selling IT technology network solutions, and I think that there are certain account managers that can feel a lot of imposter syndrome because they're in these rooms with these highly technical customers, highly technical value-added resellers, and they're having to speak to this Now. They don't have to have a deep technical depth, but they have to know what they're selling. So I can't imagine being even in a sales role at a Cisco, at another vendor, and not have an IT background. So I think those folks go through that quite a bit.

Speaker 2:

I agree, tim. I mean it is quite impressive Some of the things that I've seen salespeople in my time pull off right, like you're right, like they don't come from a very technical background but they do know the product deeply and they're able to talk about it and address their audience. Know the product deeply and they're able to talk about it and address their audience. Now, if the audience starts to poke back on some questions, I don't know what would happen, but I have seen some non-technical people give some really great technical presentations.

Speaker 1:

I have too. It's quite impressive with what I've seen so far. You know, we were kind of poking fun at AI a little bit ago, so in prepping for this one I did go to chat GPD again and asked you know what are some ways to handle imposter syndrome? And then I went to an article from the American Psychological Association website and did the same thing, and there were. They did line up at least to a degree, and there are some interesting ones in here that I don't think are necessarily fluff, and one of them is separate feelings from facts, and I think that leans directly into the negative self-talk.

Speaker 1:

Yes, you may be giving yourself a lot of shit, but what's real and what's just you having imposter syndrome? So I think that's a good one. There's a couple here that are pretty similar, that tie together, that make sense of set realistic goals and visualize success. So have a good idea of what it is you're trying to do and accomplish, and then I think you'll have a better idea of what you're capable of or where you need to grow. So those are some good ones that I saw just from the response to this question in chat GPT. Do you guys have anything to add there?

Speaker 3:

I'm just thinking about those and like to be able to, you know, talk back to yourself and look at things that are not your perspective is extremely difficult. It's something that takes like a huge muscle to to work out, to actually make it work and, um, I think it's very valuable information and to doing it, but it definitely takes practice and to consistently do it. It's difficult, it's really hard.

Speaker 1:

But do you do? You have to, and I think that's where you can kind of try to. You mentioned it from an internal perspective, and I think that's where you can lean into others as well. Another one that's listed on here is which is what we've all done is create a support system and find ways that you can get feedback so you're not just dealing with your own perspective 24-7. Dealing with your own perspective 24 seven.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's why I think talking about it's really important, knowing that you know you're not alone, that there are. Everyone experiences this and you know it's not just that you're not good or you're not, whatever, you're not. You're not digging into that. That self, the negative self, talk. You are able to reach out and be like, yeah, everyone does it. That's why you power through it and you know it has some confidence in yourself. But, yeah, it's. It's definitely. I think community, for me at least, was it's the easier of the of the options. Um, working on yourself is a slow process.

Speaker 1:

It's valuable, it's just it's just a slower process I heard another short phrase when I was uh out at training for cisco and in somebody that I met and already greatly respect, and the phrase was just so what, now what? So, in this imposter syndrome context, the so what would be? So what you don't think you can do something? The now, what would be? What are you going to do about it? Just try to get yourself, like you guys mentioned earlier, find what it's going to take to get you over that hump, and I just think that's a cool phrase to to quickly try to snap you into, into something positive.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean it's sort of like a fix it. Like you know, if you're being assigned a new project and you don't know the technology or you're overwhelmed by it, you know, just fix it, like start doing some research, get a dig in there and figure it out Like you can do it. So just do it, you know. Right. I feel like that's the mentality of just give a problem, fix it. We're in, we're engineers like, we're tech people, we, we troubleshoot all day, every day, and we're we're just another issue that has to be fixed. So we see the problem, you know we look at the symptoms and you fix it.

Speaker 3:

You just get. You figure out what's wrong and try to work around it.

Speaker 1:

I already do that, Kevin.

Speaker 2:

I look in the mirror every day and I point and I say you're the problem.

Speaker 3:

And that's why there's five o'clock beers every day.

Speaker 2:

Do you guys have a close coworker or friend that you can use as a sounding board? That's something that I've done in the past. If you're fortunate enough to have this person as a coworker, taking those ideas and just bouncing stuff off each other. It's like this is a safe space. You can't say anything stupid, right? So one of those type of friends. What do you think of putting that in your imposter syndrome toolbox?

Speaker 1:

I think mentorship is a big one. Try to find somebody that you look up to, that you can bounce ideas off of like you said, aj, in that safe space, and I think that can go a long ways and hopefully you get yourself past the negative self-talk and imposter syndrome enough that you can then pay it forward and be a mentor to somebody else too.

Speaker 2:

I love the mentor and the pay it forward. I always love sharing my knowledge with people and I get to do that now in my current job. Somebody hit me up today about Windows and Active Directory. I'm like, oh, I know that. I know that let's troubleshoot your issue because I know that I can help you.

Speaker 2:

Caleb in the chat said for me it's always been after getting the job offer I start thinking am I able to do the job or did I trick them and myself into thinking I could do the job? And I think that's great, because I'm sure that's very common for a lot of us, right? You get that new job and you think about the challenge ahead of you and it's like, wow, am I really up for this or did I oversell myself? But I think that if you're taking a job that you're 100% confident on, did you take the right job? Right, like, is that really going to keep you interested? Is that something you're going to be willing to wake up for and go to work every day? If you're that confident in the job, I mean, for me it's like I want a little bit of unknown in there. I want to keep things interesting, I want to keep myself on my toes and keep coming back for more.

Speaker 3:

You want to keep growing. You know you can't stay stagnant and I think stagnant is is the death of it and to be in a role that you're completely comfortable and it definitely means you're not growing, definitely means you're not doing anything new and exciting. So I I think you're supposed to be scared. It sounds terrible. I'm not. This is not an advertisement for it, you're supposed to be in flight, or flight the entire.

Speaker 1:

You were supposed to be terrified but you are a little bit, you know, you're not terrified, you're not doing it right growth is scary, change is scary and you're supposed to be in a role where you're growing and changing.

Speaker 3:

So, and if you're honest in the interview, if you have shown them who you are in the interview and not try to fake your way through it, or you know whatever, then they know who you are, they know what they're getting and they're willing to work with you to build you up to whatever they want for the position. You know you're an investment to them too. It's not like you're, they're like giving you a, gifting you this role that you must now rise to. You know it's, it's a mutual relationship.

Speaker 1:

I agree with that 100% and I think at the point when you get a new role is a good time for that reflection, because Caleb just said it you get that role and you start thinking am I really able to do this or am I just tricking them and I can't remember if it was Andy or Tim McConaughey, somebody said it where. Okay, when you're starting to think that, just think logically Did you really trick the entire interview panel on multiple interviews into thinking you can do something you can't do? If you were honest, no, you didn't trick anybody. They hired you for a reason. Just go do it. You're good, not that good, right.

Speaker 2:

Right Now go over there and be scared all the time. Exactly, go in your cubicle, be frightened. It's like a merry-go-round, except it's on fire all the time I'm fine, everything's fine, this is fine exactly, exactly, uh, god, this, this is a good one.

Speaker 2:

What else, fellas, what else has gotten you either down on imposter syndrome or how have you dealt with it? I will say, you know we talk about like the stagnation and how much of a killer that is my own career. Uh, I, I am, I will, I will be scared every single day from here on out, as long as I'm learning something new and and uh, putting myself to the test. Uh, because man going stale does not feel fun either.

Speaker 1:

Feels worse actually than imposter syndrome, way worse so I I've got a question for kevin shoot. Were were you before you started doing the the TikTok thing? Did you consider yourself, you know, really open? Were you out there publicly a lot on the internet before that Not?

Speaker 3:

really, you know, my social media presence was like Facebook, with my family, my parents, and Instagram. I didn't really have public facing anything other than Twitter, and Twitter was like kind of like the place where I interacted with people and I did talking about imposter syndrome, like social media, where you're surrounded by experts and these people who are the top of their field on social media and I'm just like making little tick tocks in my head. I'm like I just make a little tick tock. I'm not an expert. I should not be telling people how to do anything, but I do have experience and I'm like I'm getting over that part of like I do have something to to bring forward.

Speaker 3:

But yeah, it's social media for me is also imposter syndrome. It's I'm not an expert, anything. I don't consider myself an expert or and I shouldn't be you know, telling these people what to do, but they listen to me, so I just keep doing. I don't consider myself an expert and I shouldn't be. You know, telling these people what to do, but they listen to me, so I just keep doing it. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

So my, my main question there would would be, since you didn't have a major social presence and, and you know, going from just doing kind of the Facebook thing with with family and friends to I see TikTok as even another level above, like normal Twitter and LinkedIn posts, because you're having to do video, you're having to potentially edit it and do that kind of thing. So I mean, how did you approach trying to not only break into the public sphere, so to say, but also try to learn those new skill sets? How did you approach that? Without just sitting back and going I don't know how to do this, I don't know where to start, so I'm not going to do anything.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I guess that's what separates IT people from other people, I guess, is that I saw a problem. I want to be out there. Tiktok is scary as heck because it's video and anytime you're on video and putting yourself out there, you can't just hide behind text. So I knew that I wanted to do something. That was scary, because that's what we do. I'm scared constantly.

Speaker 3:

But I saw an issue like a problem where there wasn't a lot of people there. I wanted to fix it, and the learning process of how to edit and all that kind of stuff was just me trying to figure it out, just doing research, watching other creators looking how to edit, looking up programs, what programs you use to edit all that kind of stuff. I approached it like I do any other project at work and that is. I have a problem, I want an outcome, I know the outcome and I just got to figure out how to get there, and so to me I feel like I'm a normal IT person where you just figure it out as you go and that's like 99% of my job. That's what I do with my career. All the freaking time is I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm going to figure it out as I go. It's worked out. It's pretty solid.

Speaker 2:

It sure has.

Speaker 3:

Kevin, has imposter syndrome or that self-doubt ever stopped you from posting a video? Oh yeah, oh yeah. You guys don't see the uh, all the the things we're like. You know you look at it and you're like, oh, I just don't I don't say those words correctly the way I want to, or you know, I look red, like right now. I'm constantly red because the lighting is terrible.

Speaker 3:

I look like I have a high blood pressure, um, and I'm just like, no, I can't post it, I can't post, can't post it. But as I've gone on, I've I've kind of adopted that. That I think someone commented like the YOLO, um, just just put it out there, cause it's it's I know for a fact. It's not as bad as I think. I know it's, it's standing imposter. It's not as bad as you think. So just put it out there and for the most part, you'll be okay.

Speaker 2:

I love it. That's great advice. Dan in the live chat says changing industry verticals is a great way to get imposter syndrome. Go from manufacturing to healthcare or something like that. You know the tech, but you are perpetually playing catch up on the lingo. Tim, you must feel that because you were in the healthcare sector and now at least my assumption is is that you serve customers across a bunch of different verticals. So when you get into these conversations with them, they're probably throwing out terms and things that you might be unfamiliar with.

Speaker 1:

That's true, but I will say one thing that doesn't change, no matter what industry you go to, is that everyone loves acronyms, and there are millions of them.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, that's a good point, aj, and honestly that was a reason to to Kevin's point at. You know, finding ways of growing means and it's a corny phrase, but get comfortable with being uncomfortable the whole. You know, be scared all the time, kind of thing that we're joking around. But that was one thing that drew me to this role was because my entire career was in one industry vertical and it was great. I learned a lot about that industry. But I was at one company in one industry and a big reason to jump to where I'm at now is that I'm getting to see all different kinds of industries. So it's, while it's scary, it's refreshing. So I can find that balance of this is kind of terrifying, but I'm getting to learn how how different people handle problems, to how how they handle different problems handle problems, to how how they handle different problems and uh. So yeah, I've just tried to to kind of use that as fuel, like we've been talking um, to just continue to grow and and acronyms change based on your workplace, based on the culture.

Speaker 3:

like I was at a place where they called ups is ups and I was like, what the hell's an ups, what are you talking about? And it's like okay, ups. So you can't get caught up in acronyms. Every industry has a crap ton of acronyms and each place is going to be a little different. So you just got to ask questions, just do it.

Speaker 2:

Don't get me started on Wilsey, mipples and EGRIP.

Speaker 3:

Exactly.

Speaker 2:

No, we're not going to go there. Josh Warkop in the chat says don't be afraid to be wrong. Be wrong inside the job. Don't take getting called out as personal, Take it professionally.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love what he just put in there. If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. Absolutely, I love that, and that's Josh. Like you said, josh Warcock, he is a uh, a one episode alum. Yes, he is.

Speaker 2:

I don't know off the top of my head. I'm gonna have to dig back through and look it up. But thanks, thanks for spending time with us. Josh, we'll probably have you back to get a great episode on multimedia networks, and now he's offering great advice on the imposter syndrome episode. Thanks for being here. Um, all right, so, uh, let's let's kind of recap our, our toolbox here for dealing with imposter syndrome as our episode winds to a close. What's, what's that number one thing we want to think about or consider when we're facing imposter syndrome?

Speaker 3:

I mean, I think it's going to change depending on the person, um, but you know, you got to find what, what self-talk or what thing works for you. For me, it was just do it Like, just do it scared. I was like I was talking to my kid. I got to talk to myself the same way. So for me it's just do it scared, just just say yes, say yes to whatever to make you scared, cause it's going to grow.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the more, the more you do it under your belt, it's going to feel a lot easier. So that positive reinforcement, thinking about the historical of my experience, led me here and my experience is that I didn't know something one day and then I knew it and I grew and really, like you said, kevin, remembering imposter syndrome is all about growth. It's all about getting new experiences and growing in your career.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I'll echo that. I think you need to do whatever you can to turn it into a positive. I read an article earlier today from our friend, yvonne Sharp, through our buddies at the Packet Pushers website, and the title of the article is why Optimists Get Things Done. And it's all about how you use positivity. People who have a positive outlook tend to find the good in things, or at least look at things from a different perspective. So I just go back to rather than letting the negative self-talk get you down, find a way to use it to your advantage.

Speaker 2:

Dan Riley in the chat throws out embrace the suck. I love that. I've heard that so many times. Yeah, Just just embrace it. It's, it's going to suck for a little bit, but you know, once you, once you get going and start that learning process, it's, it's not going to suck for very long.

Speaker 3:

It's weird how you start liking it. You know, it's like if I'm not doing something uncomfortable, I'm like what, something's wrong, because that's my warning signal to start looking around for a new job or a new project or something. You know, it's something that challenges me because I'm at a status quo, I'm bored here, that there's something, something's got to go. You know, yeah, so we definitely start. After a while you start enjoying it and start and and I guess it's kind of a rush Maybe it's in general in a rush, I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I'm a junkie, I don't know. That's where you get your dopamine hit from. Yeah, exactly that learning, that growth, that's great.

Speaker 1:

If I wasn't doing it this way, who knows what I'd be doing?

Speaker 3:

Wouldn't be a programmer.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. As we come to a close here, I want to remind our listeners if you're looking for ways to support the show, the best way to do that is in your podcatcher or on YouTube. Follow us. Hit that bell icon for notifications for all of our future episodes. Like the episodes? Leave us a comment. Thanks for joining us here in the live chat. I like that. We're starting to do this regularly. We're starting to get a little bit of an audience that's joining us every Thursday night when we record these episodes, so I think we're going to keep doing it. We're getting some good feedback, I think. Gentlemen, any closing thoughts on imposter syndrome?

Speaker 1:

Be scared all the time. Fear is good. That's what Kevin taught me tonight.

Speaker 3:

Be scared, do it anyway.

Speaker 2:

Do it anyway. Just do it. Oh wait, no, that's somebody else's logo.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we're getting sued twice tonight.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, there we go, get that lawyer on speed dial, that's right.

Speaker 2:

That's right. That's right, Awesome. Hey. Thanks for joining us, everybody, and we will see you next time on another episode of the Art of Network Engineering podcast. Hey everyone, this is AJ. If you like what you heard today, then make sure you subscribe to our podcast and your favorite podcatcher, Smash that bell icon to get notified of all of our future episodes. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We are at Art of NetEng, that's Art of N-E-T-E-N-G. You can also find us on the web at artofnetworkengineeringcom, where we post all of our show notes. You can read blog articles from the co-hosts and guests and also a lot more news and info from the networking world. Thanks for listening.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome in Networking
Embracing Imposter Syndrome for Growth
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Workplaces
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Careers
Navigating Imposter Syndrome in Social Media
Dealing With Imposter Syndrome in Career

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