We’ve all faced that. Or perhaps you will one day.

As software engineer, this is inevitably something that you will face without a doubt. Not only it attacks you, but also those working in FAANG (or MAANG, if you insist) as well.

  • You will feel it during the interview.
  • You will feel it on your first day.
  • Your day-to-day as well.

If not managed well, it will lead into depression and will affect your outputs. For some reason, this pain does not resides as you grow.

The more responsibility you have, the more it grows.

But I had a talk with my managers. This syndrome pains me so much. I’m working as a software engineer, the only Malaysian in the team and perhaps whole departments. The environment are foreign, the closest I have are my wife and pet. Working environment are a total different as well.

My circle had big expectation from me. Being the first in my family member to work abroad, there’s a heavy expectation weighing on my shoulder as well.

After my father passed away recently, I’m starting to doubt whether I made the right decision in the first place to move to Germany, I could’ve spent more time with my late father if I just…stay…put and not growing.

It adds up. Little by little.

I used to have someone to look up to, to refers when things go awful. A safe space.

But moving abroad, those are stripped away from you.

Man this is scary, look at all those great peoples…I’m not supposed to be here.

During our talk with my managers, I mentioned what was some of the challenges that I faced. This is one of those.

Both of my manager opens up as well in regards to this.

There’s no magic pill to cure this. But I can share what helps for me and some advice shared by them.

1, Open up with someone

For me, it was talking to my wife and also my managers. I wish I can say the same for our cat, but you get the idea.

From our talks, I noticed that we are all humans. Each of us are trying to figure out what we will do today. We make mistakes.

2, Comparison is an enemy (with certain exception)

Comparing yourself with others is never a good comparison.

It’s flawed.

Some grows with privilege, and others aren’t as fortunate. We compare with those that are in better position than us, but we rarely compare those who are less fortunate.

But a good comparison, is between yourself. Look how you are today, versus how you were 5, perhaps 10 years ago.

Chances are, you will only see growth.

3, Social media are flawed

Influencers only share the good stuff in their story or timeline. People rarely opens up about their flaws and mistakes. But even when they do, you will still feel down.

I lost USD 1,000,000 once upon a time, now here I am as a success.

You will then compare how much you’ve lost to be at that level.

No, just compete with yourself.

4, Compete with yourself

Compare with your yesterday’s.

This is what I do when I’m under the weather. Or tries to.

There’s a number of challenge that I usually do, in current scenario I’m forcing myself to make 3D scene each time I’m writing a blog.

With this, I’m documenting my progress for my future self to refer to. Sure, there’s a ton of people who are better than me in both 3D or career as software engineer, I’ve seen brighter people.

But when competing with myself, dread becomes joy!

Are you a programmer? Then start building something, share with the public if needed. 3-5 years in future, you’ll be glad that you start something.

A designer? Keep on designing and building great stuff, improve each day.

If you fail? That’s alright, there’s no such thing as failure.

There’s only growth and learning!

Keep documenting your progress. I keep a journal from time to time when major things happens in my life. Then when I feel down, I looked back at my journal, and reminiscence that I’ve survived way worse than what I’m facing right now.

5, Empathy

I usually narates a story when I see someone’s success. It goes like this:

Saw someone that gets good result in life?

I’m sure he faced difficult challenges, lost someone they loved while trying to achieve that.

I say this in my heart.

For some reason, it…works. All the boiling feeling just now? It turns into empathy and understanding.

I no longer feel the envy, but instead have compasion to the other person.

6, Admit we don’t know

I learned this from somewhere, that if you do not know somethings, it’s alright to admit it.

Instead, suffix it with the words:


For example:

I don’t know graphql, yet. But I’ll do my best to learn and improve.

I’m not good with API, yet. But I’ll check out our team’s last pull review.

This gives the sense that you acknowledge your limitation, AND are in the process of improving it as well. The ‘yet’ keywords conforms it.


Be proud of yourself. Do not let other’s success drag you down.

Write your own chapter. Perhaps one day it’ll be a book too.

All in all, this writing does not covers all of the way to tackle this syndrome. In fact, there’s something the opposite of Impostor Syndrome; Dunning Kruger effect.

I’m guilty of both syndrome and effect, perhaps I’ll share someday about it.

Appreciate if you read until this last message, tried my best to keep it easy to read with those graphics.

InshaAllah I’ll keep on writing.

Hey, I’m just like you…a human :)