Getting through the workday can be tough when you don’t feel valued. At some point in our careers, we have all felt like no matter what we do, it’s not enough to satisfy others.
Early in my career, my first boss told me, “The company doesn’t care about you. If you were not here tomorrow, within three days, someone new would be doing your job and no one would remember your name.” I refused to believe him. I thought that it would not be possible to erase a good, dedicated worker.
Years went by and slowly I saw the “do more with less” mentality expand. Finally, I sat in my office one Friday afternoon after completing a huge project without a single word of recognition from anyone in my leadership chain. I thought, “Does anyone really care about what I am doing?”
This was an awful moment for me. I remembered what my first boss said, and I found myself agreeing with him! I went home that night feeling sorry for myself. Then I had a revelation. Maybe, just maybe, value comes from multiple sources. The more that I thought about my value at work, I ultimately realized that I was in control of how I felt about my efforts.
What are some ways to cope with feeling undervalued at work?
Here are four ways to own your value at work:
1. Be self-reflective
Sometimes finding value comes from yourself. It may be true that you do not get praise or recognition from others at work. Instead of focusing on the negative, try thinking about what motivates you to keep doing a good job. Make a connection to what matters most to you at work and what makes you proud. You can dictate how you feel about what you do each day.
2. Take credit for your successes
We grow up being told not to be arrogant or brag about ourselves. There are occasions when you simply need to brag a bit (even if it’s to yourself). In the absence of recognition or appreciation, you need to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments. If you completed a difficult task or gave a great presentation, then give yourself a pat on the back and share the good news.
3. Be honest with your boss
Honesty is the best policy. If you are not feeling the love at work, then have an open conversation with your boss. Be tactful and calmly explain how you feel. A truly engaged leader should not be offended or upset by the conversation. In fact, it may be possible that your boss did not realize how their actions made you feel.
4. Be honest with yourself
It is a difficult thing to do; however, sometimes you just need to start somewhere new. Take some time to weigh the pros and cons of your career options. If making a career change or new start is right for you, then go for it. Remember, though, that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
A tip for leadership
For those readers with employees, please remember that you need to be sure to show your employees that you appreciate them and everything they do. It’s also your responsibility to share their value up the chain of command. Value does not come solely from one person but from the collective soul of an organization.