Belittling Myself

*This post is a combination of processing and asking for input from my fellow bloggers and readers.*

Today my boss came up to me asking if we could have a chat. My heart sank a little bit thinking I was in trouble but I wasn’t. She brought up how I project my work to others, how I often times don’t give myself any credit.

This came up because yesterday we had to introduce ourselves during a meeting and I identified myself as my supervisor’s right-hand woman instead of my title. I often don’t say my title, which is the Development and Program Marketing Specialist, I usually say I do communications or that I help my supervisor.

I’m not good at talking about myself or making myself sound important. I think it’s a combination of years of low self-esteem, the idea that nobody cares what I have to say and not thinking I am important. So when somebody asks what I do, I brush it off saying, “I do our Facebook” then drop it.

In reality I do a lot more than schedule Facebook posts.

My boss said she wants me to be confident in my position, work and skills. She told me I am more than my supervisor’s right-hand woman, that I am my own independent, functioning person.

I was not expecting that conversation at all.

In all honesty, I don’t feel important at work. I think that anybody could do my job so, to me, what I write, create and do isn’t special. I felt that at my last job too, I compared my writing to my fellow reporters too often.

I come for 40 hours a week and do what I’m told. I recently had to do two marketing campaigns, one for a day camp and the other for volunteer training. I gave no ideas for anything, I asked my superiors what they wanted and I did just that.

Damn, this is turning into an entire in depth self evaluation that I was not expecting to have today.

The moment our conversation ended I thought, “I need to see my therapist.”

What about you guys? Do you have trouble talking about yourself or do you have confidence in doing that? How does your self-esteem effect your work?

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30 Replies to “Belittling Myself”

  1. When it comes to my writing and drawings, I can hardly find anything nice to say about my work, but I still try really hard and I show my work to my friends and family, and any positive messages they relay to me, I try and hold onto for the next piece of work I start on. It doesn’t always help but it’s better than nothing! I’m sure you’re a lot more valuable to your team than you give yourself credit for! Good luck to you and keep your head up!

    1. Maybe I am more valuable than I realize, I’m not quite sure. I’m my own biggest critic as well 🙁 I’m sure your writing and drawings are lovely though! Thank you for commenting!

  2. This is extremely interesting. I find your post interesting because I’m a Recruiter who has recently developed an interest in marketing, like, to the point where I may return to school for a Marketing related degree. I generally perceive anyone under the Marketing umbrella to be super confident. Internally and externally. It’s interesting to learn that isn’t always the case. I’m your total work opposite. Although I have crushing depression and anxiety if not medicated, work is the ONE place where I totally shine even if I’m in a moderate depressive phase. I have 100% faith in myself, I’m highly valued at my current job, and a lot of that has to do with my own huge ego – like it or not, people respond to that. I’ve always been a “work extrovert” while in my personal life it’s not quite so easy. Back to you – I wonder if you could find the confidence you need outside of work at first. So, you think anyone can do your job (which I’m sure isn’t true) and you can’t just snap your fingers and make that go away overnight. Could you start slowly somewhere else? Do you have a non-work hobby, something you could do at night? You owe it to yourself to build that confidence up, it sucks to suffer like that. I also have an HR perspective on this chat your boss had with you. I’m turning into an old HR toad, unfortunately, which means I can always see the business side of things nowadays. Everything is always about the business. She may be personally concerned to some extent, but she may also be concerned about how other people are perceiving you and how that may affect your department since you are Marketing, and one of the “soft skills” understood on every Marketing job description is an extroverted, confident nature. It may be reflecting on her in some negative way, like maybe someone said something to her. For example, maybe when you say “right hand woman” it’s somehow embarrassing to her. Sorry to pull a Liz Ryan on you there, it’s possible you already thought of that, but I thought I’d mention it just in case, since her chat with you was a surprise. At any rate feeling like you’re not important at work is crappy, I’ve been there in the past at “cog in the wheel” jobs and I hope that you’re able to pull through that and feel better.

  3. I used to do this too and then I realised I was falling into the ‘I’m just a’ trap which I detest. We are all unique. We all bring something different to the world of work.

    It’s about your identity. Have a think about how you see yourself or why you do not identify with your title – too long, too professional sounding? Are you ashamed to be middle class? Is it a convoluted way of saying something else?
    I’m just throwing things out here but Words are very important. You work hard and your Boss recognises that so you shouldn’t be doing yourself verbal damage.

    I hope this helps. I think I started to turn myself around when I began to accept compliments; that was my problem. One day I began saying thank you and I realised how many times I had negative reactions to compliments. I was putting myself down every day!
    Good Luck, here’s to a new outspoken you 🌟

    1. I think my title is sounds so professional because I don’t feel like I am a specialist at anything. I feel like a regular person. This did help, thank you!!

      1. Your knowledge, your expertise helps your company to be successful and that ultimately helps drive your industry and your economy. We are all cogs but do not forget that without each cog the wheels just wouldn’t turn.

      2. Thank you for your insight!! I’m going to try and think about this.

  4. To answer your question, not as much as I used to thanks to meds and the wisdom that comes with age. I am conscious of it now and try very hard not to do it although I am not always successful.

    However, when I was young and starting out, things like interviewing for a job were almost impossible. I was trying to say what I was supposed to, but in my mind, I was thinking that I couldn’t supply any value and that why would they want to hire someone like me?

    1. I’m glad to hear that you’ve turned your thinking around! That’s wonderful! Interviews are definitely challenging because the whole time you have to talk about yourself like you’re fantastic even if you don’t actually feel that way.

      Thank you for commenting, Scott!

  5. For the most part I prefer conveying my competence with actions rather than words. For me it’s less of a self-esteem issue and more that it just feels weird to talk about.

  6. I have my share of confidence issues with my work. I also like being modest when speaking with people in that regard so I can understand your challenge. However, I think your posts are great and deeply inspiring so have no worries speaking about your work and skills. From your posts, I think you’re a great guy.

    1. I’m glad you feel confident at work! Aww thank you for saying that 🙂 I’m a woman but no hard feelings

  7. I hate talking about myself. I suffer from extremely low self-esteem and can’t stand having the focus on me. I’m trying to work on my self-esteem but man is it ever so hard!

    1. It really is hard! It’s taken me years to get to where I am today, I used to be much worse. Thank you for commenting, Leigh!

  8. As a manager I see this all the time, people putting themselves down or not seeing their own self worth. I see this in others but I can’t seem to do the same for myself. I am so self critical and have had similar conversations with my own line manager. I have started looking at ways to change my thought process, like writing 10 things I am grateful for about myself or that I have accomplished that day. I find this extremely hard, but think it’s important to persevere with, as I often try to help others to increase their self confidence, why should I be any different? We humans do seem to struggle to think positively about ourselves I think. I also think that when we work we are so used to it that we don’t realise the amazing work we are producing because we take it for granted, we do it everyday. I think it’s great that your manager had this chat with you as it show that they really value what you do, and hopefully this can help kickstart increasing your confidence. You are a great writer and you deserve to believe in yourself.

    1. Natasha I very much appreciate your insight and perspective! It’s easier to lift others up than it is to lift up ourselves. You’re right, to me all my work is second nature so I’m rarely impressed with myself. I will be looking for more confidence to get me through the week. Awww thank you 🙂

      1. It’s a difficult thing to do, building up confidence, changing a lifetime of seeing yourself one way and then suddenly trying to shift that view. But you’ve made the right step by looking at this and exploring how to change things. I very much look forward to reading updates on your progress. X

  9. I 100% relate. I often don’t give myself enough credit as I feel it comes across bigheaded or narcissistic.. It’s a trait I really need to work on as I know there’s nothing wrong with self-acknowledgement and appreciation. Great post x

    1. I totally agree! It’s like “do I want to sound like a narcissist or not confident?” True there is nothing wrong with tooting your own horn when necessary. Thank you, Sophie! x

  10. I can totally relate to this- as an introvert and a shy person I do not like attention on myself- especially during meetings. I loathe meeting and often do not find them to be a productive use of my time. Mostly because I sit in meetings with the following internal dialogue: “Why am I even in this meeting? This has nothing to do with me. These people are all directors- I am not even on their level. They should just make the decision and let me know what they decide and what they want me to do.”

    It also doesn’t help that for my job (I work in a technology-related field) my actual working title is a.) a mouthful to say and b.) doesn’t tell anyone what I do. I’ve learned to just say Hi I’m Amy and I work in the XY department and I (and give a few of my most prominent job functions). So maybe saying something to the effect of “I’m the Development and Marketing Specialist- so I come up with our company’s marketing plans and run our social media platforms (or whatever it is that you specifically do).” Or perhaps you could say something like “I am currently working on project ABC.”

    I have also found that the longer you are at a job the more confident in it you become.

    1. Hahaha I have the same thoughts while in meetings too. Thank you for your insight, Amy! I agree, being at a job for a long time does make you feel more knowledgeable.

  11. Such a great post! This topic is something I’ve been struggling with for the past few days.

    I was recently offered a promotion and had to write a cover letter for the position. For the first time I really talked my accomplishments up. After sending it to my supervisor I was cringing so much at the idea that someone else was going to read it and think I was full of myself. And when I didn’t get updated about the promotion I figured I’d went too far in highlighting what I done for the company. But, my team lead finally got with me and told me she didn’t doubt I would get the promotion, plus have other opportunities to move up in the company… Thing is I’m too afraid to actually move up now because my insecurities have seriously convinced me that I don’t know what I’m doing.

    1. I think anybody who gets promoted there is a transition period where you’re figuring out the new position. Maybe once you get comfortable in that position it will make you feel more confident!

  12. Yes, I always get a lot of trouble talking about my interests or what is interesting about me. I felt unimportant and not worthy of anyone. I have low self-esteem that I don’t even know where I really excel at, it seems like I forget everything about me. I wanna be better but I do not know how, this is frustrating.

    1. That’s sounds difficult, Nikki! Everybody is good at something. Maybe look at the things you like to do or are interested in and see where your talents lie. Maybe a person close to you could give you a little insight as well. Thank you for commenting!

      1. Yeah, I know what I want but it feels like I don’t excel or not good enough for it. Haha yes, I’ll focus more on myself! Thank youuu

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