Our career is a huge part of our lives. We work for a long time each day so making sure we’re in a job we enjoy is really important. But I’ve learnt something else important when it comes to a career and that’s making sure you’re working somewhere where you’re valued and rewarded.
Feeling under appreciated at work is a horrible situation to be in. It’s demoralising, frustrating, draining and affects your whole life in a very negative way. If your colleagues don’t appreciate you at work, you come home and begin to appreciate yourself less to. It even gets to the point where you don’t believe you deserve appreciation.
I know this happens too often - and it’s even happened to me in one of my previous jobs. If you’re currently not appreciated at work it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some signs you need to look out for and what to do about it.
#1 | Other people take credit for your work
Nothing stings quite like coming up with an absolutely amazing idea at work and having it stolen from you by another colleague. These people do this purposefully and always have a motive. You, on the other hand, sit there completely silent, because you’re in a state of utter disbelief at what has just happened. All you want to do is stand up and shout “they stole my idea!” Or send out a whole staff email putting the situation straight. But you’re better than that. Here’s an alternative.
Try to have an open, honest chat with the person involved. Start by describing how it makes you feel to be pushed aside like that and how you didn't think it was fair that you didn't get recognised for putting forward your contributions. If that doesn't work and you get a stupid response, you go to your boss and ask them to deal with it.
#2 | You’re not getting paid enough for what you do
This is probably the most common one. People can just coast along on a low amount of money saying to themselves, “they’ll give me a pay rise eventually.” But who’s to say they will?
It’s the worst feeling ever. At one of my first jobs, I was paid an embarrassingly low amount - and I found out that someone who did the same job as me was being paid twice as much. Safe to say I didn't stay there very long after that. But now I know I was not appreciated there at all. When you’re in a situation like that, it can make every pay slip feel like a slap in the face. But you aren’t helpless. You don’t have to wait. You can do one of these things:
- Ask outright for a pay rise
- Ask for more responsibility at the company - and with that comes a rise
- And if your boss still isn't prepared to do either of those things, you look for another job asap.
#3 | Nobody pays any attention to you
If you’re left to your own devices, and people overlook the progress you’re making, that isn't right. You need to make sure you’re meeting with your line manager or boss at least every six months to have a review of how you’re progressing in your role and at the company.
Now you obviously don’t want to do something bad and get noticed for the wrong reasons. But if you have to go into your boss’s office and make yourself known then that’s what you do.
#4 | You’re always being interrupted
This is one of those things that isn’t about you. It’s about some smart-ass colleague who takes their job far too seriously - and likes the sound of their voice too much. You could leave them notes on their desk telling them to get over yourself. Or you could go one better and learn some strategies to get the ball back in your court. You don’t need to come across in a bad way. All you need to do is make a joke about the interruption or say something like “I actually hadn’t finished speaking.” It might seem simple, but it’s the one-liners that work wonders.
#5 | People always try to out-do you
Usually, this boils down to one person and jealousy. To feel like they need to out-do you clearly means they feel threatened by you. And while it’s not a nice situation for you to be in, they’re not actually going to get anything out of it.
If it gets to the point where you feel it’s affecting your progress at work, feel free to talk to your boss. But be prepared for them to say “oh they’re only trying to be friendly! They just really want to be your friend!” Honestly - that’s what I got told in this situation.
#6 | You’re uninspired and don’t want to do the work
When you’re going somewhere every single day that you don’t want to be and you don’t get praised for the work you’re doing, your days can be terrible. You’re negative, unhappy, under-valued, and this all transfers into your personal life too. The key here is looking for an opportunity. What new project can you undertake? What can be improved? If you go with an idea to your boss, it’ll show them how much of a self-starter you are, and if they say go for it, then it’ll give you something to do that’s yours.
Or you could dedicate your time at work to doing things for yourself like writing that novel you’ve always wanted to. Just try to keep all your work hidden if this is the route you go down!
#7 | You didn’t get picked for a promotion
If you’ve been through all the things in this list and this happens, you’ve got my permission to go wild. Replace their healthy almond milk with full fat. Hide things so they can never find what they want. Play the songs they hate the most from your speakers.
Or (don’t worry, you don’t have to go that far), have an honest conversation. Ask what you can do to increase your chances next time and write them down, so you’ve got goals to work too.
After all that, if they’re still not appreciating you and continuing to make you feel like the smallest person in the company, it’s time to get out. Believe me - it’s not worth staying there longer than you have to. You learnt a lot, but you’re better than them and deserve to be appreciated. Plus, you’ll be the one that comes out on top.
Have you ever felt under-appreciated at work? How did you deal with it?