I've written before about imposter syndrome, that feeling that you're not really smart enough to be a professor and everyone is just about to realize what a terrible mistake they made in hiring you, and thought it might be a nice time to revisit the topic.
I just got back from a small symposium in my field at which I was invited to give a talk on my work. The symposium included many of the biggest names in my field and I was very honored to have been selected as a speaker, and of course, a little nervous given that I am only a 3rd year Asst prof, I mean how much data could I really have in comparison to Dr. Important Full Professor. However, my stuff fit in nicely and we had more than enough. My feelings though are a great example of imposter syndrome. Thoughts like "the organizer must be really cracked to pick me" flitted through my mind while in counterpoint I thought "yeah but we ARE just about to submit that paper to Nature so how bad can it really be." I suspect that imposter syndrome will trail us throughout our lives. I know full professors (even an Asst. Dean) who profess to feeling this way, although I wonder if women are more susceptible than men, given our limited role models.
On another note, I was paired with a female graduate student host for the symposium and had a chance to talk to her about work-life balance, academic careers, etc. and am really grateful for the chance to be what I hope is a postive role model. Overall, a nice meeting.