If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that your boss doesn’t recognize your true worth. And you’re feeling more and more dissatisfied with your job each day. Hard as you try, you’re not appreciated at work! As a result, your job is beginning to get you down, and you don’t know what to do.
The thing is that you know you’re doing a good job. But you didn’t get that raise or promotion you wanted. Or maybe the problem is that you simply feel you’re not getting enough praise or recognition for all that you do. And it’s really starting to eat at you. I’d feel the same way.
Maria’s “not appreciated at work” story
All of this sounds a lot like Maria, an account manager with a small company for the last three years. She’s actually doing a great job. But she’s not getting the feedback she deserves for all her efforts.
True, she still needs seasoning and doesn’t always recognize the help that she gets from the people she works with. But she know she’s good at what she does. And she wants to be rewarded.
In her last job, she got several promotions in a short time. And that made her feel valued. Yet she hasn’t received even one promotion since she’s been in this job. That feels wrong. And it makes her fume.
Now her boss’s perspective
You see, from her boss’s side, times are really tight. The company has been losing market share. And there isn’t much extra money in the budget. Plus the department is small, as is the company itself.
Maria was actually hired at the highest salary of anyone in her group other than her boss. And this makes it difficult to give her more than a small increase. Her boss, who is a decent person, wants to be fair and raise the salaries of some of the others making much less.
But, although sympathetic, Maria says what coworkers are paid has nothing to do with her. She deserves a raise and feels slighted. She’s done her job well and has taken on extra responsibilities. And she expects to be compensated. We can certainly understand that, too.
Other factors that play a role
While we can all sympathize with Maria, there are some other things to consider. The industry she’s in isn’t doing all that well now. So jobs don’t pay what they used to. And Maria already does very well compared to many others at her level.
In addition, she’s learned new technologies and gained leadership skills that she can carry with her wherever she goes. And she’s been able to do so in a safe, supportive environment that understands when she has family problems and needs to take a few extra days.
Her colleagues like her and are ready to step in and help ensure that she succeeds. Maria doesn’t realize how rare this is. She’s too focused on what she doesn’t have. And she thinks that a new job will be the answer.
But this is not to say that you’re situation is like Maria’s. There are times when we really are not getting what we deserve. The trick is figuring out how much is out of our control and where we can maybe help make things better for ourselves — even if just a little to begin with.
Tom’s “not appreciated at work” story
So now let’s look at Tom’s situation. His case is somewhat different from Maria’s, although he too feels that he is not appreciated. He works for a larger organization than Maria does. And there are occasional openings at higher levels than his — but he never even gets the chance.
Most recently, he was overlooked for an opening within his own department. He really wanted this job and thought he should get it. And he’s angry about it. Unfortunately, although he works hard and tries his best, Tom really doesn’t have the skills for that particular job.
But no one ever explained that he can’t do what’s required in the new position. And that’s not great management style. People deserve to know how they’re doing and what they might do to move ahead, like take classes. So it’s no surprise he feels hurt and overlooked by the very people he feels he gives so much to. And it’s no surprise that he’s also thinking of leaving.
Things of value we sometimes forget
When things feel so wrong, we sometimes forget the value of what is actually working for us. In Tom’s case, his job gives him an amount of freedom that another job might not offer. And while Tom’s manager could have handled this differently, we sometimes have to help “manage up” to get what we need.
Although Tom is hurt by the fact that no one told him why he isn’t qualified, he also hasn’t taken the time to ask. That may sound overly simple, but sometimes opening up communication can begin to change the way we’re treated — even if the steps take time. Instead, he seethes silently, dreaming of greener pastures. (This happens in our personal lives as well.)
So, what can we learn from Maria and Tom’s situations? Both feel they are not appreciated at work. Both have found what they believe are justifications for seeking new jobs. And both are focusing on what they don’t have. Ah the greener pastures a new job will bring!
But they can’t see all that they do have. And it’s important to at least give that an objective look. All they feel is that life is not treating them fairly. So they see leaving as their best option. While there is some truth to their feelings, they’re absolutely, positively sure they’re 100% right.
We all think this way at times. So sure we’ve been wronged by our circumstances or by other people. And so sure that the only way out is by leaving. There has to be greener pastures in the next job. And that’s the story we’ll swear to — even to ourselves!
But maybe there’s a step in between worth trying. Just maybe, before running to another job that might not live up to its initial promise, we can work on things right where we are. And whatever we gain, even in the smallest way, we can bring that with us wherever we go.
One important final thought
None of this is meant to say that this is your story. Or that you don’t have legitimate reasons to feel you’re not appreciated at work. If you’re reading this, I’m betting there are things that are not working well where you are.
Every person’s story is different. And every set of circumstances comes with a unique set of solutions. Including, at times, the need to leave. But the thing is, only you know what you really need. And what you feel you’re not getting.
So, for now, it might pay to help that along right where you are. By making a few changes — even one or two small ones at first — to see if you can start to get more of the appreciation you deserve. At the very least, it’s worth trying!
Feel free to add this discussion if you have a story to share or advice to offer!
Some posts to help: