I have recently started a part time job for a software design company. They asked me to keep working on the project I have been working on during my internship, which I happily accepted.

A few weeks in, the project leader has been praising me into heaven, I have been doing amazing work, I communicate well, etc. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, but I feel like I'm not that great at my work. For a student, my work might pass as 'ok' and my communication seems more like common sense to me.

It feels like the other developers in my development team treat me different because of this. My opinions aren't weighed at much, and they just treat me differently than other co workers.

Would it be right of me to tell my project leader to keep it down a little? I have told her before, but she mostly laughed it away with another compliment. It could be the case that I'm actually amazing at my job without knowing it, but I seriously doubt it. Is there anything I should do at all? I don't want to be rewarded for 'amazing' work, I feel like is just 'okay'.

  • 1
    I cannot imagine why you would ask your superiors to think less of you than they do. I might suggest you try to live up to your standards and let the folks think highly of you if they choose.
    – Neo
    Feb 24, 2017 at 13:51
  • @MisterPositive can't this result in a backlash? If, in the end, my work seems to fall short of their standards, wouldn't that cause more of an issue? Feb 24, 2017 at 13:52
  • 2
    This is a mix of a boss that is trying to be encouraging, the [en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome](imposter syndrome), and "new guy" from your coworkers. Keep plugging away, and hopefully you and your coworkers will learn that the praise is deserved.
    – HorusKol
    Feb 24, 2017 at 13:53
  • @RandomStranger obviously they ( your superiors ) do not feel this is the case.
    – Neo
    Feb 24, 2017 at 13:53
  • You might want to wait longer to accept an answer, so that people in all time zones get a chance to see this first. Even if you're happy with the first answer, they can be followed by really amazing ones. Your choice, of course, but it's a standard practice.
    – Kat
    Feb 24, 2017 at 16:20

4 Answers 4


I cannot imagine why you would ask your superiors to think less of you than they do. You obviously have a good reputation with the company, I would not do anything to jeopardize that.

If you don't feel your work matches up to the praise your receiving, I suggest you work harder and smarter to try to live up to your standards.

Let the folks that think highly of you do so if they choose.

  • 1
    Well thank you, I'll work hard to live up to their standards! Feb 24, 2017 at 14:01

The problem here, as I see it, is not her praise of you. It's your feeling that you're not "up to par". This is a standard thing for anyone new to a job. The feeling that we're not quite pulling our weight. This can be because we don't produce as quickly, or we make mistakes based on not knowing a system, or any number of other things.

Stop judging yourself through the lens of others, and stop devaluing her opinion of you based on your own arbitrary judgement. By saying "I think you're praising me too much" you're telling her that her opinion is invalid. She knows more than you do about the expectations she has for you, or that the company has for you.

That said, you should pull her aside and tell her that you're uncomfortable with the praise in front of co-workers, and you feel like you're being elevated in front of the team, which may cause issues. Let her know that you appreciate her recognition, but you also want them to know you're part of the team, and your work is just a piece of the puzzle. Even if it's a big piece (in her eyes) you need to be able to work with the others. Make sure to emphasize that her feedback IS appreciated, but you feel that the time she praises you is awkward for you and the team, and hurts team morale.

Lastly, STOP evaluating your performance based on school. If I had a nickle for every time something I was taught in school was completely useless in the field I would be able to buy Bill Gates a summer home. Starting fresh from ground up as a student is easy. Starting in the middle of a project that has been around for years and is a cobblestone of old technology and "stuff we just know from use" is a completely different beastie. School projects are clean, real-world projects are a tripwired minefield of butterfly-effect-prone madness that will eventually drive you to staring over a low concrete retaining wall singing "Drunken Sailor" and pulling on a hefty bottle of whiskey.

...not that I've done that. Of course not. Stop looking at me like that...


The project leader tries to boost your confidence. You are a student and a part-timer, of-course your opinions are not actually valued much and you get different treatment to full-time professionals. HorusKol gives in comments a good answer, but I think that there is no impostor syndrome. The project leader simply takes the positive spirit thing too far, to a level where it becomes plain awkward.


Find a coworker with knowledge in programming and get their opinion of your work instead.See if you do have any major weaknesses and what you can do to fix them. As far as how you're being treated in the group, the praise you're getting may be a factor, but it's probably more complicated than that. You're new, less experienced, just an intern or you work with a bunch of jealous jerks. Get some feedback on that as well.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .