It’s not unusual that at some point in our working lives, we feel like our manager or coworkers just don’t appreciate us.
Whether you’re doing great work and not getting credit for it, or people at work generally don’t give you the support you need, there are many signs that you’re being undervalued.
It can be easy to feel stuck or unsure what to do when this happens.
I often talk about how finding the right career path will light you up with purpose.
But today, at the risk of making a dangerous You Turn, I want to talk about feeling undervalued.
It’s true – some people love their jobs. Many people feel completely satisfied at work. But let’s not forget the people who head to work with pain in their belly and have a quick cup of coffee so they can get through another day in an office with gray walls, an overbearing boss and a dying floor plant. Sound familiar? As a career coach, most of my work revolves around helping clients in situations like this one.
In coaching sessions i give, the topic of clarity comes up often. I help my clients uncover their blind spots so they can land on an exciting career path that relies on their strengths. While this takes a substantial amount of reflection and facilitation to accomplish, reaching a solution is within their control.
I have put together a list of 7 top signs that you may be under-appreciated and questions to consider if you’re feeling that in your workplace:
1. Lack of gratitude
“Great job on that project!”
“Wow, that really made a difference!”
How often do you hear things like at work?
If you can’t recall the last time, then it may be time for a gut check. You should feel like your work is seen and acknowledged. Your manager should be leading the way in showing appreciation for your work, along with coworkers.
If they’re not, consider whether the pattern is specific to your manager or your workplace overall. If it’s your manager, there could be ways to address it like asking for more regular feedback, including positive acknowledgement.
2. Bad work assignments
Does it feel like you always get the worst tasks?
That can be hard on your self-esteem and general outlook at work.
It’s not easy to feel like you’re struggling with difficult or uninteresting work while others are doing well.
Consider some of these questions:
- What work or projects are your coworkers being assigned and why?
- How does that compare to what’s on my plate?
- Can I talk to my supervisor about my assignments?
- Do I feel it will have a positive impact?
Stepping through these questions can help you work through what might be behind the workload questions.
3. No one has time for you?
When you have questions at work, do you get the answers you need from coworkers?
Does your boss give you time with them when you request it?
Teams are called teams for a reason. In order to be effective, you need time from them. It may help to take a step back and consider what’s preventing your manager or coworkers from making time. If you feel comfortable, talking with your manager and colleagues about making time to support your work may help change the dynamic.
4. Lack of support?
If you’re not getting the resources you need to be successful at work, that can be a sign that your efforts are going under-appreciated.
This could be training, paid time off, support like PPE (personal protective equipment) or flexibility to deal with family concerns–there are many elements to this.
It’s not surprising that not having that support can negatively affect the quality of your work.
Asking for help is hard enough as it is. If you’re clear about what you need to succeed in the role, and it’s not there, it may be time to consider whether it’s worth working to change it, managing through it, or looking for something else.
5. Not learning and growing?
Work should be a place where you learn new things and improve your skills.
Companies and teams are often motivated to invest in their employees.
Talk to your manager about ways your work and role can grow in ways that benefit you, your team, and the company. Whether that’s training, resources, mentorship, or simply conversations with new coworkers–there’s a lot that can make the workplace a place of growth.
There is always space to learn and grow in a company.
6. Doing others’ work
You probably already have a full plate at work. You don’t need more to do.
A classic example of being undervalued at work occurs when you get others’ work dumped on you. It can often feel disrespectful with the assumption you can just do more regardless of the circumstances.
It’s reasonable to seek a balanced workload that reflects your role. If you’re not getting that, consider what’s most important to you: your time, what’s on your plate, how you’re compensated or valued?
That may lead you to ask for a reduction of the work, advocate for a promotion, or ask for a recalibration of your role.
7. Not being compensated
It’s your right to be paid for the work that you do.
If you’re not being compensated appropriately for your work, it’s more than just your work being undervalued, you’re not being valued as a human.
And this strain can add up, affecting your mental wellbeing as well as your productivity at work.
If your employer is messing around with your wages or does not support equitable compensation, this is a red flag. Ways to address this might include having a conversation with HR about reviewing compensation or filling a wage complaint.
If you’re feeling undervalued at work, recognizing those feelings is the first step. It also raises a lot of reasonable questions.
Is this feeling a one off situation? Or part of a pattern? Is it a communication miss or something deeper? An individual challenge versus systemic problem?
If either, is it a topic you need or would feel comfortable addressing with coworkers or a manager? Is it something that may lead you to consider quitting? Or thinking about a new job?
There are no easy answers to these questions. They’re deeply personal, depending on what’s going on for you and at your workplace. The good news is that you don’t have to tackle them alone; you’ve got resources and people you can talk to about what you’re feeling.
You’re not alone!
If you’re stuck, feeling down, or wondering what to do about being undervalued at work, we’re here. Heemskerk consulting can help you on your way and together we create new goals. Free, confidential support from a trained counselor is just a text away