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  • Writer's pictureNicole Delgado, California State University, Northridge

From an Imposter

Hello I am an imposter.

In 2018, I graduated from California State University, Northridge, majoring in Marketing. During college, I was involved with the NMGZ Community and the American Marketing Association and mentored transfer students while working full-time as a sales representative.

I am now working for a Fortune 500 telecommunications company—I feel no sense of accomplishment and constantly rationalize how I got here. Therefore, I made a U-turn and moved back to my hometown just in time to grab a spot on the NMGZ NYC trip.

Our first day of the trip was my favorite. The play Hadestown was my first Broadway musical. The mining characters reminded me of myself working to survive and avoid starvation. While Orpheus was perfecting his song, Eurydice had to save herself from starvation, so she made a deal with Hades to work as a miner in Hadestown.

Once COVID hit, I was immediately terrified of losing my job. I enjoyed working in the tech industry and driving innovative solutions. Moreover, I love my work-life balance. More and more, I was accepting additional work, toxic one-on-one meetings, and relocating to prove my flexibility. Since I did not have much work experience, I did not believe I could find a better opportunity, so I settled for what I had.

As we introduced ourselves during our dinner at Carmine’s Time Square, I was surrounded by inspiring, educated individuals with unique experiences from all over the world. I immediately felt recharged as we shared our personal stories about job searching, thinking of changing careers, and working in other countries. We had all accomplished so much, yet we found ourselves considering a move to Switzerland after hearing about their six-month maternity leave, comprehensive healthcare benefits, two-month vacation time, and lovely lunch break nature walks. Our experiences bouncing around the table painted a disturbing picture of the work environment in our country. I realized it was impossible to hold myself to a higher standard when it doesn’t exist in our country today.

During the rest of the trip, companies such as Nielsen, Deutsch, and Padilla were not afraid to share their challenges and where they needed our help. It didn't occur to me that big companies also suffer to some degree from imposter syndrome. I guess it is true what they say, “just ask for help.” Although I have asked for help in my current work environment, I failed to speak up when the information was not comprehensive.

During a networking event, I was so nervous talking to CEO Nancy Reyes. I ran out of things to say. My previous marketing professor would not recognize me if she saw that. Somehow the confidence I once had in college was dimmed down by thoughts of offending my boss and being fired during COVID. Continuing to share our perspectives throughout the trip made it clear that executives need our input just as much as they need to give direction.

The Advertising Club of New York had highly ranked professionals who all experienced imposter syndrome during their careers. Director Marinn Jackson shared her story of accepting a different job, moving to a foreign country, and managing a new team. (Meanwhile, here I am complaining about my job. I cannot imagine being put in that situation.)

In the lovely words of entrepreneur Cheryl Overton, “It’s tough out here in these streets.”

I wish I could put their minds on a projector to take more notes on their learning experiences. However, I need to continue putting myself in more uncomfortable situations as they did.

I am fortunate to be a part of NMGZ. A community like this is much more than an organization for students to find their "perfect" job or network. The corporate world can change at any time without warning. And to all marketing students out there, I am sorry to tell you this, but every day is like a group project where you have no control over who is on your team. Although I do all the work, I can still be laid off at any time. I can only focus on things that I can control, which are my productivity, schedule, and attitude. This trip was more productive than any of my training or one-on-one meetings.

Now I realize that feeling like an imposter is only a part of this journey and does not define me unless I quit learning.

From an imposter, or so I thought.


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