Uncertainty of a New Job (part 3)

In part 1 of this three part set, I explained the area of the brain that keeps you alive. It is called the amygdala.
In part 2 I went over how the biology of species survival has evolved into self preservation in social situations.

A type of self preservation is now disabling people from going after better career situations. It is called the impostor phenomenon. The impostor phenomenon comes about from self doubt. It is a means of controlling expectations. People that demonstrate this behavior have a fear of not being as capable as others think they are, so they fake it and either avoid situations of being found out or go out of the their way to exergerate the compentency.

So suppose you are in a job that is no longer suitable to your situation. To get a better job you have to promote yourself. Everything you say about yourself is true. You can achieve great things, but you walk the line of over promotion. If you have adopted the impostor strategy of self preservation, then this type of activity is worrisome because what happens if you do get the job? Are you expected to perform flawlessly right from the get go? That is how you just sold your abilities.

If you relate it back to going into the woods while camping in part 2, suppose you do go into the woods and you do encounter an adversary. What do you do? You pump yourself up to impress your potential rival. Some of it is a bluff and some of it isn’t. But what happens if your bluff doesn’t persuade the rival to back off and you have to fight? Is that worse than never going into the woods to begin with? To an impostor it is.

What is unfortunate about this style of self preservation is that it is mostly temporary. For instance, if you are in a job that you have outgrown it is because you have performed the many tasks several times and well enough to succeed (success is because you still have the job). But that feeling of accomplishment the first time you performed a new task doesn’t stick with you long enough to motivate you to attempt more new tasks, especially those outside of the safe environment of your current job.

So in summary, a new job provides so much uncertainty – whether it is the promotion of your abilities or the assumption that you over promoted your abilities to not warrant a learning curve – that it paralyzes people into staying in their current job. Your amygdala has won.


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