(Thoughts in no particular order.)
- It affects pretty much everyone sometimes. Realize that the people you respect are in the same boat you are.
- Talk about it directly, with coworkers or others you trust.
- If you have time, do a small side project for practice in an area you’re anxious about.
- Realize that a lot of the stuff you’re anxious about is probably small or downright silly… Yes, some people talk about
vima lot. But you can edit text now, right? You don’t have to care about
vim. And acronyms and fancy names often describe really simple, non-intimidating things.
- Ask questions about things. People like teaching. (If someone doesn’t, and gives you answers that make you feel worse, leave and ask someone else.)
- Accept you had some part in your own success, and keep going; you’re already doing it.
I think this probably affects most people in many fields, not just software: I leave you with a few lines from It’s Only a Play, by Terrence McNally. This is a comedy written, in the playwright’s words, to “attempt to describe exactly what it was like to work on Broadway in the 1980s.”
Frank, a theater director, is awaiting critics’ reviews of the play he just opened:
Frank: The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!
James: What emperor, darling?
Frank: This emperor. I’m a fake. My work’s fake. I can’t go on like this—the critics’ darling—knowing that it’s all a fake.
Julia: Try to hold on just one more time.
Frank: I’ve had fourteen hits in a row Off-Broadway and thirty-seven Obies. I want a flop. I need a flop. Somebody, tell me, please: when is it my turn? I’m no good. You’ve got to believe me. I’m no good.
As always, I welcome discussion and feedback; I’m @cdzombak on Twitter.