Fighting The Tyranny Of Self-Deprecation

By Elizabeth Marques Kogan

Fifteen years ago, I graduated from university with an insatiable thirst for purpose. I wanted to get working right away. Having a degree in French literature, I understood that I potentially would encounter difficulties in the job market and was willing to put aside any so-called new graduate pride and began working in a call centre.

I worked in the call centre environment for almost two years and during that time, I capitalized on any and every opportunity for learning. Whether I was on the job shadowing with my more experienced colleagues or whether I was taking industry-based courses after work; I was willing and ready to work hard.

As I moved through my career, gaining more experience in a wealth of areas, I understood that I brought value and would negotiate, as necessary, to ensure that my job compensation reflected my efforts. I would stay as late as it took to get the job done because I felt accountable to my work. My enthusiastic work efforts did not shrink in the face of accusations from some colleagues that I was working as though the company belonged to my father. As far as I was concerned, I was working for my name and essentially, for myself. I understood that wherever I may go, my reputation would follow me.

A rather curious and baffling phenomenon occurred when after I made the conscious decision to chase my passions for self-expression (writing and speaking), I regressed. Although I was proud of my decision to abandon an established career and run off, as I like to say, with my inner “runaway writer,” it appears that I now devalued myself professionally. Fearful of the fact that I didn’t have a communications or journalism degree, I demeaned myself. I somehow believed that I was not deserving of any respect when it came to the world of the creative arts.

I’m sharing these truths in the hopes that it will help someone. I have become quite tired of my own self-deprecating words and am taking actions to break free from their venomous hold over me. What I’ve learned over the past few months is that when you continually cheapen your value, you grow to feel resentful. That resentment, if not rechanneled into more positive thoughts, has the potential to control you. When you allow yourself to succumb to such tyranny, it can debilitate you and leave you feeling unfocused and purposeless. For me, it meant days upon days where I’d wallow in self-pity and not a single word would be written.

I’m learning over time that it’s perfectly okay to invest in me to ensure success (emotionally and financially) in my new profession. I’ve enrolled in a publishing course; I’m scheduling my days so that personal and business writing receive the benefit of those prime time moments while my children are at school.  I continue to nurture my family life and friendships, knowing that it’s because of their love and support that I’m able to continue on pursuing my dreams. Most of all, I won’t forget to be kind towards myself and not back away from defending my worth.

Elizabeth Marques Kogan – After graduating with a degree in French literature, she pursued a career in the insurance industry working in underwriting (life and health, investments and pensions, and travel medical) as well as disability management. In November 2012, after 12 years in the insurance field, and a lot of soul searching, she made the decision to leave the corporate world. She is now pursuing her passion for the art of the living word as a writer and speaker. Viewing the world through creative coloured glasses, she enjoys taking the beauty that is found in life and creating stories to generate discussion. She balances her life by understanding life’s ups and downs make our journey all that more interesting. – See more at:



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