Tuesday, September 22, 2015

And so, then, what do we do about the fraud police?

The fraud police. We all know about them.  You may call them by another name, but they're there for everyone. Some of us worry about the fraud police more than others, but everyone has at one point or another felt the fear of being discovered by the fraud police.

I never put a name to this fear before I read Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking.  But she fears the fraud police, too.

The fraud police. This is the fear of someone one day discovering that you've been faking it. That you're not worthy. And because we all harbor these self doubts, we all live in fear of being outed by the FP.

Here's the thing. I am a successful person. I am smart. I am fun. I work hard. And I live in fear of the fraud police.

When I was finishing my PhD program, my mentor called me and told me to apply for graduation. I waited a month before I told anyone.

A month.

Why? Because what if they'd made a mistake? What if my research was really stupid and not worthy of the degree? WHAT IF I TOLD PEOPLE AND THEN DIDN'T DO IT??

This is the fraud police.

I finished my program. I invited my family to graduation and it was wonderful, magical.  Today I spoke with my mentor and we discussed publishing something together. Now I am one of the few people at my work with a PhD, and the only woman in my division with this standing.

But then, in a string of emails among a committee that I serve on, there was a debate. I weighed in with what I thought was a good option, and several people thought that my idea was a great one.  However, one person on the committee, a person that I've looked up to for a long time, a person with lots of experience, sent me an email that said "You're wrong, DOC." Ergh. Fraud police. Was I wrong to voice my idea? Lots of other people liked it, and  in the end, the committee is going to follow my suggestion.

Later, in a discussion with him, I found out that he felt slighted that I didn't automatically just agree with him.  His feelings were hurt. Huh.

So. What do we do about this blasted fraud police?

In the end, there is nothing we CAN do.  The fraud police will always be there.

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