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The Impostor

By Diego Nascimento

As you begin reading this article there is someone out there pretending to be what they are not. Starting with the resume, the job market is full of good people making promises, but they are bad at fulfilling what has been promised or agreed upon. This dynamic is present in the emotional, social, religious, academic and professional areas. This subject is broad, so therefore we will focus on careers.

Frédéric Bourdin is a Frenchman known by the media as “The Chameleon.” He became famous after he assumed the identity of a missing Texan boy in the 1990s and, for a considerable time, managed to fool his family, friends and neighbors. A local investigator suspected his story and decided to investigate the case. Months after the “miraculous” reappearance the truth came to the fore, and Frédéric was arrested and accused of fraud in regard to his passport and perjury. He was imprisoned for six years until he was deported to France. Still the deceived family continues to wait for information of their son who left to play and was never seen again.

I used this truth story as a warning about impostors in professional life. They are people who are insincere with themselves and who do not fulfill the minimum that is required in the position in which they took over. They choose to deceive co-workers, clients, and the business in general by justifying the lack of being proactive and commitment in daily chores through meticulously constructed lies. Using slang they are called “posers.” The good news in all this is that the professionalization of corporate management in institutions, regardless of size or type (public, private or third sector), has facilitated the identification of these elements while still in the Selective Process. But do not confuse today’s issue with the Dunning-Kruger effect that deals with people with little knowledge about some area or subject who consider themselves superior to others. This will be a topic for another article.

I recently lectured on Corporate Ethics for Rotary Club International members, and I was able to share a basic recipe for a stand for the Professional of the Future based on five things: Reference, Emotional Control, Punctuality, Attendance, and Social Responsibility. Throughout my speech I exemplified in a practical way what I do to build into those around me, especially in my family and at work.

Observation is a basic tool for assessing the action of “professional impostors.” They contribute considerably to the dip in monthly results and in the positioning or repositioning of a product or service commitments. They are the ones who just do some work early on in the day and pretend to work anxiously when it is time to leave.  Make no mistake; if you think that this happens only in certain roles, on the contrary, leadership positions are also “rewarded” with people like that.

I will end with a direct recommendation: do your best regardless of where and how; it’s a question of honor. A Biblical passage emphasizes this mission through the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 9, verse 10: “Whatever you put your hands to, do it with all your might.” Let’s move forward and work hard and strong!


So, what do you think ?