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How Covering and Imposter Syndrome Overlap—And Cost You Money

  • 4 mths ago

Imposter syndrome is feeling like you’re not qualified. Covering is hiding parts of yourself for acceptance. The overlap is the fear that everyone will find out.

That kind of worry keeps people:

  • Afraid to ask questions and doing poor work without the right information.
  • Stuck in one place, unwilling to try new things.
  • Too anxious to think creatively.

All the energy that goes into covering and struggling with impostor syndrome reduces productivity, according to experts from CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community.

Can you update your company culture to reduce covering and imposter syndrome? The experts say it’s possible.

What is Covering? 

“Covering is when people hide parts of themselves to either fit in better in the workplace or to assimilate to some kind of established norms in a company culture,” said Susanne Tedrick, Microsoft Azure infrastructure specialist who wrote “Women of Color in Tech,” a book to inform and inspire women of color to pursue tech careers.

In “Uncovering Talent: A New Model of Inclusion,” more than half of those surveyed by Deloitte (61%) said they’ve covered in one way or another at work, a distraction from being fully engaged.

Tedrick said covering can look a lot of ways, including:

  • Altering your appearance to fit in with main group.
  • Disassociating from behaviors negatively attributed to people’s ethnic or cultural identities.
  • Avoiding contact with members from other groups.
  • Keeping quiet instead of speaking up for your group identity.

Covering happens when people don’t feel comfortable being themselves at work, and that can usually be traced back to the company culture.


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