Forget Imposter Syndrome, It’s Expert Syndrome that Should Scare You

We’ve all heard of Impostor Syndrome–where you don’t feel like you’re good enough for the level of responsibility you have. But, an article from Laura Bergells, Impostor Syndrome is not the problem. Expert Syndrome is caught my eye. Bergells writes:

It turns out, Expert Syndrome isn’t even real. It seems I made the term up in a fit of pique. Expert Syndrome doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. Instead, it’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

That’s not phrase parity. I’m gonna continue to call it Expert Syndrome, by cracky.

Because no offense to Dunning or Kruger, but people instantly know what I mean when I say Expert Syndrome. You see it everywhere.

If someone with Expert Syndrome browses an article about a topic, they feel they’ve earned a Ph.D. on the subject. If they do an hour’s worth of mediocre work, they update their resume with their accomplishments — then alert the media. They might be tone-deaf, but they believe they can win American Idol.

This is a serious problem in our society. So many people out there are claiming to be experts when they aren’t anywhere near to expert status.

To keep reading, click here: Forget Imposter Syndrome, It’s Expert Syndrome that Should Scare You

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10 thoughts on “Forget Imposter Syndrome, It’s Expert Syndrome that Should Scare You

  1. I wonder if Expert Syndrome is more common among men than women?

    I had a brother-in-law who suffered from Expert Syndrome. One time I asked him for driving directions. He confidently reeled them off, and I promptly got lost.

    1. How dare you generalize to the claim that one gender is better than another!

      But yes, I think you are probably right.

  2. The only thing that I am going to claim as having an Expert Syndrome is that reading leads to creative thinking. You may not agree with everyone but reading makes you a better listener to whole presentation.

  3. Shouldn’t “They (often) acknowledge there isn’t total consensus” be “they don’t” or “never”…?

  4. I can actually claim to be an expert and I have the PhD to prove it. However my area of expertise is very well defined and it took four years of primary research in that subject area, along with a team of advisors, to become that expert. I don’t claim to be an expert in other areas.

  5. I don’t understand how anyone can claim to be an Expert when they are not in the Information Age. It’s way to easy for everyone else to whip out their phones, look up your claim and find ample reliable sources to either confirm or deny it.

    Yet people do it all the time. And other people fall for it all the time and rely on lousy “guidance.”

  6. What about when you are an expert and your expertise is spurned? Is it always the approach? I had a request for access to information answered with: “Explain what info is for and what it does.” After providing abbreviated detail and offering my assistance with learning more about the info, my response was met with: “I know this information and how to use it.” Then, I’m stumped why the initial question asked for an explanation of its use and what it does. Thoughts? I can leave off offer to assist – I thought that was a professional courtesy to be available to help a co-worker learn more about the business…

    1. Oh, i have been there so many times! What worked with me is offering my insights to them and leave it at that. It’s my job to provide expertise and assistance. It’s theirs to listen and apply. If they won’t do their job, I can’t do it for them.

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