“Impostor syndrome” is a condition that leads some of the most brilliant minds of our generation to question their right of being called a “scientist”, even if they are researching a cure for cancer. Or the Earth sciences equivalent of curing cancer. Tatiana may have impostor syndrome as she brilliantly describes one of the symptoms with her question:
Where do you find the confidence to apply for that job / grant?
First of all, you are already doing great if you are thinking to apply for a job or a grant. It already shows much more confidence than you think. This alone calls for a celebratory Mai Tai. Cheers!
Regarding your question, you have “to fake it till you make it”. Nobody has confidence in the first two or three grants of job application they submit. It’s something that comes from experience. Better put: eventually you submit enough of those that you become desensitized with the feeling of panic that assaults you when it’s time to hit that “submit now” button. You have to approach applications as a statistics problem, for which hope to a solution is built upon the following conjectures:
- Someone has to win this grant/job. Why should it not be me?
- By submitting your answer will be either “yes” or “no”. But if you don’t submit, you surely won’t get a “yes”.
Most of us just buy into the game because they know they have to play the game. At the end of the day, you need money to do trivial things like eat or rent a house, so that you can entirely focus on your invaluable, irreplaceable contribution to science.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: I realise just now that I have become a grant-submitting monkey. I need multiple non-celebratory Mai Tais.