Impostor Syndrome: 22 In the Music Industry

By Manny Yupa


Approximately one year ago, I was trying to juggle schoolwork with a mindless part-time job and an internship. Yet as long as I did my work and showed up wherever required, I could coast through anything. Despite my need for a job, I could probably survive on financial aid and parental assistance. If I simply left my internship, it didn’t really matter. Earlier this year, I graduated from college and started work as the Production Manager and Head Live Sound Engineer at a music venue that puts on 150+ events a year.

While music is largely a young person’s game, I only turned 22 this year — and next year will be my first year making enough money to pay taxes. On average, I’m nearly a decade younger than the venue’s founding staff and most artists or managements with whom I work. In some cases, I’m only half of or a third of their age. Whenever I sit on a tall stool, it’s hard to resist swinging my legs. I don’t even like swinging my legs. It just feels like the right thing for a baby-faced 22-year-old to do while meeting with 30-year-olds. And a few of my interns/assistants are noticeably older than me, which must make for a very strange sight to showgoers.

I can’t wrap my head around this sudden jump from the cradle of college to the real world of employment. Every day as I walk into work, I feel like I walked into the wrong room. Or like I woke up in someone else’s body, but have to pass off as them so that no one catches on. Sometimes I worry that someone is going to call me out as an imposter adult. I’ve even swapped my hoodies out for sweaters and collared shirts. I’m not sure it’s convincing anyone. When will this feeling go away? I wonder how many people feel this way and for how long? A few friends my age have admitted they feel the same way. Maybe when I’m 30 I’ll finally feel like an adult… Or maybe… I’ll just feel like an imposter 30-year-old.

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