Impostor syndrome. TLDR; the fear that you’re not actually competent in what you do, and that you’ve actually gotten there because of luck or a mistake.
I have it pretty bad. Moreso, I have a deep seated belief that I’m not worth being paid for doing work related to what I love to do.
And so, I always reach for the low hanging fruit: jobs that are low waged, brainless, that eat away at my sanity because of their simplicity.
And when I do what I love, I don’t ask for monetary compensation, even if it takes up a lot of time and attention.
Today I worked on a set where someone on the camera team said he’s no longer taking unpaid work. I’ve thought about myself putting that hard line down, but my fear was if I demand to be paid for my work, I’ll never be asked to be a photographer again.
I couldn’t even muster up the strength to apply for a photography job that’s painfully simple — take photos of product with a white background.
But last night, a friend said something profoundly wise.
“So suppose that you do suck, think about how many photographers out there also suck. But they’re being paid anyway. So why not be one of those?”Iya
She never said I sucked. And she never tried to convince me that I didn’t. Because honestly, I wouldn’t have believed her. (By the way, I know she doesn’t think I suck.) But that line of advice really hit home. She even showed me some photos her sister took of jewelry just with an iPhone that’s selling like hotcakes as an example that I’m being too critical of myself.
I constantly think I absolutely have to do a perfect job, that I need better equipment, that I have to do it a certain way, that they’ll think I suck.
Maybe I do, but I might as well be paid for it.
And if you have impostor syndrome, maybe that logic can help. It really helped me. I applied for that job. Whether I get it or not, I don’t really care.
The important thing is I even sent that email. It’s a huge step.