Forty years ago, in a time of high unemployment and economic decline, I was faced with an existential crisis. What to do with my philosophy degree?
With few openings available, I responded to a comment addressed not to me but to a fellow student (male): ‘You’ve not shut the door to accountancy.’
‘So, I could do it even with Philosophy?’
‘Er, yes’ came the response, ‘But the exams are very hard…’ The unsaid ‘for a girl’, clearly written on his face, hung in the air between us.
I took it as a challenge. I passed the exams, no resits required. It wasn’t a perfect career path, but I made it work and achieved a reasonable work life balance. I confess that I did spend most of my career waiting to be found out as an imposter. I think I got away with it.
Moving on now, towards an encore to accountancy, I have started to write. With some encouragement, I have dared to describe myself as a writer on my Linkedin profile. I’ve been longlisted in a couple of competitions, started blogging, and contributed regularly to Friday Flash Fiction. I write, therefore I’m a writer.
I’m still waiting to be revealed as an imposter.
I know I’m not alone. I’ve walked this week with a wonderful young woman who has recently started a new role. And no, she is not just as good as they believe her to be; she’s much better than that.