I recently quit my job, again.
This is a cycle which has played out repeatedly over the last six years, often as a result of feeling completely overwhelmed at work to the point where my only way out is to start afresh.
I’m the queen of taking on too much. I always start a new job with the best of intentions, knowing full well that my history with depression and anxiety leaves me susceptible to stress a lot more than the average person.
The unfortunate thing is that I’m a total people-pleaser as well as a bit of a swot, so if I can take on extra responsibility at work as well as help my employer out then I’m all in. I’ll happily push myself right to the edge mental health wise in order to appear like the best worker.
It’s silly, but it’s who I am and I’m trying hard to change. I’ve been juggling my day job in a local sandwich shop alongside this blog, freelance writing and some social media management for about six months but in December 2017 it all got to be a bit much. I certainly wasn’t planning on relying solely on my freelance income this year but hey, life doesn’t go to plan sometimes.
After I quit I kept it on the down low. Looking back now, its a shame because going solo in the world of freelance is actually a big, exciting step in my career. I didn’t want to shout it from the rooftops until I’d fully digested what had actually taken place, as it all happened in a bit of a blur. After being freelance now for a whole two weeks (am I an expert yet? Hell no) I can say in all certainty that I know why I’ve been keeping it quiet. I feel like a big, stinking imposter.
It wasn’t until I was watching one of my favourite You Tubers Aine talk about living authentically in her last (very candid) video that I realised this. I’ve known about ‘imposter syndrome’ for years, and I’ve felt it at various times throughout my life. I felt it when I got invited to my first big blogging event (a Superdrug press day folks, where I got a free flu jab and a goodie bag!) and I felt it when I got my first article published on the Metro.
It’s that gut feeling you get when you think that you have absolutely no right to be doing your job, and that any minute now someone’s going to come banging on your door and asking you to hand in your name badge, screaming “who the hell do you think you are?”
The past few weeks have been a but of a roller-coaster. I’ve had to try and manage my own workload, something which can be easy when you really love what you do, but still quite difficult when there’s no one there to force you to crawl out of bed in the morning. The result is often a compromise; working in my pyjamas from under the duvet until I’ve woken up enough to hop in the shower before midday.
Does this make me an imposter? I don’t think so. I know plenty of writers and social media managers who openly talk about working from home or ‘bediting’ as I heard one You Tuber call it, so I think in that respect I’m surrounded by lots of people with a similar frame of mind. Should I be up at the crack of dawn knocking back espressos and typing up thousands of words before the sun rises? Definitely not. It I did that I’d be an imposter in my own life, and totally wired from too much coffee and not enough sleep. Not my style.
So as the first few weeks of being freelance draw to a close, do I still feel like an imposter? Hell yes! I don’t think I’ll ever fully accept that people actually want to pay me money to write, because I love it so much. I’ll probably always live with the fear of being rumbled, exposed as a fraud for all to see.
But until that moment comes, I’m getting stuff done. I’ve got my gang who support me without question. I’m hustling away quietly (yes, sometimes from my own bed) and I’ve got some really exciting projects to share with you this year. I can’t wait to get started!
Hooray! Lots of exciting things ahead for you I reckon. I’m glad I’m not alone on the Imposter Syndrome front. It’s oddly terrifying when you think about it to be honest. We totally got this. Just remember you rock and we’re not alone. Great write up.
Yeah, we got this! Thanks for reading and sharing your own experiences. Helped me loads! X
Great post, Fiona. I definitely suffer from this too sometimes. You are a great writer, hard worker and deserve all the amazing success you’ve had recently!
That’s so kind of you to say Claire! Thank you. I think we all get it it’s so hard to ignore!
Love this, Fiona. It’s tough being a freelancer, working crazy hours and wanting to please everyone – you’re working in a vacuum and you don’t have a benchmark to judge yourself against. But you’re doing great work, and THIS freelancer loves working with you!
Oh you’re too kind! Yeah you’re right about the vacuum. I’m making an effort to meet up with other freelancers for coffee on the regular, good for my sanity!
You’ve highlighted a lot of my own fears about freelancing and work in general. I really identify with the people-pleasing bit! Thanks for your authenticity!
Aw I hope you can overcome your fears. I think it’s all about ignoring the voices, or at least using them as a motivator to keep going!