I had my first moment of imposter syndrome in recent history this week. I was amused.
To wit, I, as editor, emailed someone I clearly feel is Above My Pay Grade, or Out of My League, or At a Higher Weight Class, or something, a note regarding a deadline I hoped they would meet. Now, I’m the editor. There is no “above my grade”. I’m the grade. This is true because this is how the system works; the honors go with the position, not the person. I believe this to be true. I am also arrogant to a fault.
Yet, still, every once in a while, I think “Are you kidding me? I can’t say that to THAT person!”
I say this is the first time in recent history because this was not always the case. I used to frequently feel that I was not entitled to the responsibilities and powers of a job, or that I was not personally worth enough for some other party to talk to.
It’s an interesting conundrum, y’know. Mostly, I am not worth the time of very busy people who have their own lives. If I did manage to get ahold of Michelle Obama’s email, I would never in a million years expect her to answer me. Why on earth would she do so?
That’s not imposter syndrome. That’s having a sense of perspective about the world.
Yet at some point — anthology editing is this point, for me — I have legitimate business reasons to chat people up. People I have previously viewed as Those Famous People Over There. I’m not entitled to their time, not at all. But I have a reason to be in the room. And once we’ve entered into a business arrangement, I am entitled to a few specific contractually-agreed-upon things from That Famous Person Who Is Not Quite So Far Over There As They Once Were. At that point, the feeling of I’m-not-worthy becomes imposter syndrome.
Much like I felt earlier this week, sending That One Email to That One Person.
I checked my email to make sure it was professional, polite, cheerful, and confident in tone.
Then I sent it.