The 2 C’s to Watch: Code-Switching & Covering | Vernā Myers

Vernā Myers

24 Feb 2021

The 2 C’s to Watch: Code-Switching & Covering

How to understand and control your Imposter Syndrome mindsets

Last month we announced the launch of our latest online video course Confronting Imposter Syndrome. Led by diversity and inclusion expert, Vernā Myers, Confronting Imposter Syndrome provides people in all job categories and positions the tools to recognize, understand and break through the phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome.

In our January blog we discussed the 2 mindsets often seen within Imposter Syndrome both having to do with pretending to be someone that you’re not. The first term is called Covering, which is to downplay or “cover” salient aspects of one’s identity to be similar to others around you, sometimes to avoid bias, done either by choice or unconsciously, and the second term is Code-Switching, a behavior where one pretends to be someone they’re not or adjusts physical aspects of their identity to please others.

Covering and Code-Switching are subtle shifts that happen when someone discounts their ability to perform the task required or fears that they will be negatively judged by others. Although both mindsets are common across all groups, they are more often experienced by Black and Hispanic communities and other minority groups within the workplace.

In fact, research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, outlined that “code-switching is one of the key dilemmas that Black employees face around race at work”, concluding that,  “If leaders are truly seeking to promote inclusion and address social inequality, they must begin by understanding why a segment of their workforce believes that they cannot truly be themselves in the office.”

The bottom line is Covering and Code-Switching can have a lasting negative effect on an individual’s overall growth, success and sense of inclusion in the workplace. But we can help! 

Here are 3 ways you can confront these sometimes exhausting aspects of Imposter Syndrome:

  1. Stop the self-doubt. Keep moving forward. If someone hired you for a job or asked you to lead then assume you are the right person in the right place, inclusive of all your physical and inherent attributes and unique experiences. As Vernā states: “Stop worrying and start being. Give more energy to being your true and full self.”
  2. Get help. If you find that you are overwhelmed by the task you have been asked to do, be confident and courageous enough to look at your weaknesses, and ask for help. Consult with a colleague, coach, or a leader to help get you back on track.
  3. Take Risks. New things are always uncomfortable until you know the ropes. These risks are detrimental to your career growth and can give you the confidence and belief in your true self that you need to move forward.

Our course, Confronting Imposter Syndrome is designed to be watched by people in all job categories and positions to help recognize, understand and break through Imposter Syndrome, providing valuable tools and tips stemmed from compassion and understanding.

Using stories, examples, and humor, Vernā invites you to recognize and overcome Imposter Syndrome so you can put your best foot forward.

What are you waiting for? Enroll today and learn what it takes to bring your best self to work.