So-Called Advent Calendar Day 21 - What we can learn about Imposter Syndrome from Chicken Boo
In the spirit of the holiday season, this is a series of short blog posts covering random things I have learned while doing Salesforce development, one for each day of Advent.
In the 90s cartoon Animaniacs, there was a recurring character named Chicken Boo, a giant chicken that would wear a disguise to try to fit into some human profession. The bit was pretty simple - Chicken Boo would wear the disguise to do something, like fight in the civil war, pose as a secret agent, enter a martial arts tournament, or be a mall Santa Claus. The disguise would do little to hide the fact that he was a chicken, but he was only revealed at the end of the episode when his disguise fell off.
I always loved Chicken Boo and I still sing the theme song from time to time:
But I think there’s a valuable lesson here. Something that I see a lot of developers struggle with is Imposter Syndrome - this idea that you have somehow fooled everyone into thinking that you are something you are not. That the interview was a fluke, that the feature you built was just luck, that you’re just a professional googler jamming things together.
The end of every Chicken Boo is the Imposter Syndrome worst nightmare - you are revealed as a fraud and everyone finds out the truth - you’re actually a
giant chicken a terrible developer.
While it doesn’t end well for Chicken Boo, he always comes back to try again. And that’s weirdly inspirational. Because we all put on a kind of mask, a bit of a disguise, to be someone that we want to be, but fear that maybe we aren’t that person. But you are what you do. Chicken Boo really was a network executive, a ballet dancer, and a cowboy - in each episode he gives it his all and he nails the job.
And that’s all you can really expect from yourself too - build to the best of your ability, learn from your mistakes, and keep going every day, no matter how many times you feel like a giant chicken.