In the seconds, minutes, hours and days after I file a long-form investigative story, my emotions oscillate between two poles: Hey! Look what I accomplished! and, No one is going to give a shit.
And of course, I’m not alone.
There are varying statistics that try to pin a number on the rate of imposter syndrome — or the sneaky feeling that you’re actually not that good at what you do and that you’re going to be found out as a fraud sooner or later.
One study noted that about a third of millennials (hey friends!) suffer from it, while about 70 percent of the general populace feels it at some point in time. And of course, like with many things, it’s worse for people of color and women. And as someone who exists at the cross-section of the two, yeah, I’ve got it.
But this past week, I published not one, not two, but three pretty significant pieces of journalism, one of which was a comprehensive deep dive into the issue of illicit massage parlors in Greensboro.
And in the aftermath, the support from the community was so heartwarming and affirming.
Journalists and readers alike reached out to me to tell me what a good job I did. And I started to believe it.
As someone who doesn’t come from a traditional journalism background — I didn’t go to J-school and learned everything I know about journalism on the job — I’ve struggled with feeling like I’m playing make-believe. Like I’m playing the role of investigative journalist and editor but deep down, the clothes, the title, the props don’t quite fit.
But the data doesn’t lie.
Looking back on all of the work I’ve done for TCB — six years this year! — I can’t help but be proud of what I’ve accomplished here. I’ve written about abortion access, tackled issues at a flawed charter school, written about book banning, extensively covered police misconduct, filed dozens of pieces of political reporting and more.
So yeah, imposter syndrome is likely something I’ll have to deal with for some time — one seasoned journalist told me it still happens to them — but I think I’m starting to believe the praise that’s coming my way.
And it’s about time.
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