a good english major doesn’t believe in imposter syndrome

Mind you, plenty of humanities majors believe in “imposter syndrome.”

The good ones don’t.

Welcome to tech. Perhaps like me, you have an advanced literary degree. And if you were any good at what you studied, you wouldn’t believe in imposter syndrome, either.

If you were a good English major, you would know what the words “essentialist” and “performative” mean. You would know of the argument that it is the performance that makes the essence, not the other way around.

Some of you may have come across this idea from Judith Butler’s Gender Troublewhich was how I happened to be introduced to it—and others through the works of Derrida or Foucault. Whatever. You’re not writing a paper, you don’t need to cite anything.

The point is: you already have what it takes, intellectually and paradigmatically, to survive in this strange new industry. You respect expertise, but you’re not fooled by it.

You know—thanks to your previous education—that there is no difference between being an imposter and having imposter syndrome.

You also know, thanks to your humanities mind, that there is no difference between a well-performing imposter and an actual expert.

You know that it is performance, and nothing else, that makes the two one and the same. Experts do not create expert performance. Expert performance creates experts.

The tech world prides itself on “meritocracy,” which refers to its supposed disengagement from the kinds of heuristics the industries it attempts to “disrupt” rely on: prejudice regarding race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, what school you went to, etc.

While they’re wildly unsuccessful in this disengagement (try Googling “diversity in tech”), at least that’s the idea.

The only unforgivable sin in the tech world is bad performance. In other words, this is an industry that aspires to be 100% performativity-based. And nothing else should matter.

After all, you know what they say. “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Or a humanities major.

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