The relationship between impostors and burnout syndromes Mental health

It’s crazy to think you’re bad at work. And worst of all, it leaves you addicted to professional burnout.

“People seem to think I’m doing a good job, but I don’t think that’s true,” says Fiona, a 40-year-old CEO who has been working in the UK construction industry. “You always think you can do better and people have to question you.”

Fiona (not her real name to protect her professional reputation) has struggled with her imposing career syndrome, fearing that she doesn’t deserve success.

“Even though I’ve won my position, I still don’t believe in myself. It seems like everyone else is doing it, but I don’t think it’s right,” he says.

imposter syndromealso called the imposing phenomenon, it appears in different ways in different people, but usually leaves someone unthinkable as an intellectual fraud, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

People with Impostor Syndrome believe they need to work harder and work harder on their projects so they don’t get discovered – Photo: BBC via Thinkstock

People with Impostor Syndrome they believe that they need to work harder and produce more on their projects so that they are not discovered. They can achieve great results, but they can resist challenges so that they do not fail in public. They attribute success to work or luck, not their ability.and he fears that this will only give him another chance to stumble.

  • Imposter Syndrome: What it is and how you can deal with it

Studies show that 70% of people have had imposter syndrome at work at some point in their lives. Although some research indicates that sometimes the syndrome can motivate people to get results, there is also a lot of evidence that the resulting stress can cause great fatigueto the point of creating intense pressures on mental health.

A 2016 study showed, for example, that medical students in the U.S. who feel like imposters will also show “higher levels of burnout”. [física]emotional fatigue, cynicism and depersonalization “- symptoms very similar to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of burnout.

And a recent international survey of 10,000 knowledge workers — mostly those who use their knowledge, information, and intelligence to develop their jobs — was conducted by the American Asana Employment Management Platform, 42% of whom believed they had suffered from imposter syndrome and burnout. at the same time.

“When you look at an individual who suffers from Impostor Syndrome, they are more likely to suffer from burns. And people who suffer from burns are more likely to suffer from Imposing Syndrome,” said Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist researching productivity at the site. At the University of California, Haas Management School in Berkeley, he collaborated on Asana research.

Yousef says it’s important to point out that they did research with people who had their own assessment of burning, a severe clinical syndrome, and it could take months to heal. But while some people may have been too quick to label themselves as burnout (rather than too tired and stressed), it was clear that many identified with both syndromes at the same time.

It is not entirely clear, scientifically speaking, that the two syndromes are increasingly overlapping, according to Yousef, but one key factor is that the imposition syndrome appears similar to the third dimension of burnout defined by the WHO: “feeling.” non-professional efficiency “.

As Fiona is discovering, when someone is suffering from burns, “it seems like what you’re doing is nothing enough. You’re the most effective person in the group,” says Yousef. He added that this is similar to the definition of imposter syndrome.

The perfectionist tendencies of someone with imposter syndrome can be said to mark all interactions with intense stress.. Burnout can occur after “hundreds, perhaps thousands of endless cycles of stress,” where individuals have not been able to mentally recover from pressure.

Clare Jose, co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Consulting and author of the book Ditching Imposter Syndrome, notes the clear link between imposter syndrome and burnout, which he attributes to the body’s “fighting, escaping, or blocked freezing mechanism.”

The recent study of 2,000 workers in the United States and the United Kingdom took a year to complete, and found that 62% of people felt overwhelmed by the feeling of being an imposter on a daily basis, and 18% described that they were “kneeling” in the face of stress. .

According to the answers given to some of the evaluation questions, 34% of the participants were considered to be at high risk of exhaustion. He concluded that imposter syndrome is “one of the most important factors in predicting the risk of burns.”

Jose thinks the correlation comes largely People develop tactics to compensate for or hide imposition syndrome, such as taking jobs that don’t have time to gain acceptance, or avoiding promotions for fear of exposure.. One participant in the survey stated, “I feel like I’m the center of attention, everyone will see that I’m making a mistake. So I can do that to keep that from happening.”

A person who is so “wired for threats” will quickly see that this situation is affecting his or her well-being, leading to burnout, according to Jose.

Prevention is key

Anne Raimondi, Asana’s director of operations and business, says her research shows that Z Gene staff are currently suffering from both imposition syndrome and burnout. Young people starting their careers in a pandemic era attribute this to unprecedented challenges.

Unable to observe their colleagues personally and adapt to the dynamics of the workplace, without a clear boundary between work and personal life, and without the “moments of feedback and calm” that are essential to establishing professional trust, Raimondi says junior is easy to see. employees begin to feel overwhelmed and overwhelmed that they are not members of their work.

Jose says that while young workers are able to express their struggles more, older generations are also suffering. One of the biggest triggers for the imposition of imposter syndrome is the rise of menopausal women or men in high positions. And that’s what Jose adds working mothers are a high-risk group for imposing syndrome and burnout.

There is also a lot of research that indicates that it can have a greater impact on people who are in the minority. Kelly Cawcutt of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the United States says she has long seen imposter syndrome as a factor in the high incidence of medical staff burns.

Her research suggests that “rooted bias and lack of diversity” in the profession can be particularly affected by ethnic minority groups and ethnic minorities. As an example, black doctors are at higher risk for burns due in part to the stress of discrimination.

Cawcutt asserts that “if they tell us we’re not good enough, smart enough, or not, or if they make us feel that way with micro-attacks, these external biases can be internalized,” fueling the imposition syndrome. and, in the long run, the longer the burnout.

“Although there is a lot of effort now to address these biases, they still continue,” says Cawcutt, creating what his research calls a “significant negative cycle”. This, he says, demonstrates the importance of treating imposter syndrome and burnout — as well as ingrained prejudices — not as an isolated issue, but as a phenomenon that needs to be addressed together if we are to address them.

Jose says that the starting point for the individual is to deal with the imposter’s syndrome, redefining the brain’s reaction to stress, “so as not to suffer from this unconscious agent of the struggle, escape and freezing reaction.”

But the imposter’s syndrome is not to cause burns, he says companies need to do more to deal with “everything has become an emergency” cultures and he feels compelled to overcome people by clenching his teeth in misfortune instead of being honest about his well-being.

Yousef and Raimondi agree that it is essential to encourage employees to set cognitive limits around their work so that they have time to mentally recover after periods of stress, breaking down these stressful cycles. Young employees, according to Yousef, need help to connect with tutors at work and learn how to adapt, eliminating the feeling that they would initially be imposing.

“Here, prevention needs to be basic,” he says. “I wish our kids were educated about what happens when you work in high school.”

But for people like Fiona, solving the problem is harder than it sounds. His doctor has advised him to take time off work, but he fears that if he does, he will lose his team or simply prove to himself and others that “I have risen beyond my ability”.

Instead, he continues to struggle every day to “overcome the catastrophe of work,” envying people who seem to cope well. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have to go to work every day and know that you’re not going to get angry?”

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