Feeling Unappreciated At Work? Here’s What You Should Do

You work hard, and it’s only natural that you want to receive some recognition for it. But what can you do when it feels like no one appreciates the value that you bring to the office?

By Ella Carroll-Smith3 min read
Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Feeling unappreciated at work is a common phenomenon in any industry. Whether you’re in business, sales, tech, or marketing – heck, even if you’re a mechanic – you’ve likely felt the frustration of not feeling seen or appreciated for your efforts at some point in your professional journey. 

When you don’t feel valued for the work you do, it’s hard to stay motivated to keep working hard. After all, why put in all that effort if no one is going to recognize or reward you for it? You could just as easily work half as hard, and it might appear as though no one would notice. As tempting as it might be to take that route, I wouldn’t advise it. If you want to keep rising through the professional ranks and up the corporate ladder, then it’s important to keep putting in your A-game no matter what. 

It might feel like no one notices, but that’s not always true. Just because no one has commended you for coming in early every day for a month doesn’t mean no one is taking note of it. Yes, it would be nice to hear the actual words of appreciation out of your boss’s mouth, but don’t stop doing a good job just because you’re not getting positive feedback. You don’t have to suffer in complete silence though. Here are a few ways you can try to get the validation and appreciation that you deserve. 

Consider Your Employer’s Perspective

I know you believe you’re putting in an A+ performance, and maybe you are, but as a thought exercise, simply consider how things might appear from your employer’s perspective. Is this lack of recognition stemming from a communication issue? Maybe you’re a words of affirmation person, but your boss isn’t big on that type of communication. Are you the only person in the office who never receives praise, or is this an office-wide issue? Tactfully talk to your other co-workers to determine if you’re the only person who feels this way or if others share your frustration.  

It’s hard to stay motivated when it feels like no one appreciates all your hard work.

It’s also possible that there’s simply confusion about what your roles and responsibilities are. Look at your job description and compare the listed responsibilities versus what you actually do. If you’re doing more work than what’s required of you or beating expectations by available metrics, then you have concrete data to back up your emotions, and this is something you need to talk to your boss about. 

Have a Frank Discussion

If you have a performance review coming up, then that is the perfect time to bring up this issue. Even if you don’t have a performance review on the horizon, you’re still within your rights to bring it up during a scheduled one-on-one or reach out to your boss and set up a meeting. Tell them you want to discuss your roles and responsibilities to make sure you’re on the same page. Go into this meeting with a solid goal. What do you really want? Is it a raise, a promotion, extra PTO, or simply a pat on the back? Having a clear goal will make it easier to navigate the discussion. 

When you do sit down with your boss, make sure you’re framing the conversation properly. Don’t attack them or go on the offensive right away because then they will immediately get defensive, and your chances of getting what you want will drop to approximately 0%. Come at this issue from a place of wanting to arrive at a mutual understanding so that the two of you are on the same page. 

If you can, back up your argument with factual data rather than pure emotions. Have you closed more deals than anyone in your office? Have you worked every weekend for the last two months? Then bring that data into your meeting as evidence for why you should be valued at work. 

Are you the only one who feels undervalued, or do co-workers share your frustration?

The simple fact that you’re having this discussion is also a point in your favor. Make it clear to your boss that you’re not bringing this up out of anger or to simply air grievances, but because you genuinely care about your job and want to do good work. Explain that feeling valued is part of how you stay motivated and it’s important for you to do well in this position. In an ideal world, your boss will understand your point, and the two of you can come to some kind of agreement. 

When It’s Time To Look for a New Job

You’ve tried everything. You’ve talked to your co-workers, crunched the numbers to make your case, and had a frank discussion with your boss – all to no avail. It feels like, despite your best efforts, you’re still stuck in the same place and continue to be passed over for promotions and unappreciated for the hard work you’re putting in. 

If that’s the case, then it’s possible you’re in a toxic work environment or that you and your boss simply have incompatible communication styles. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: Things can’t continue down this path for much longer. You’re either going to get burnt out, build resentment toward your employer, or even negatively impact your future career prospects. It doesn’t look good on a resume if you’re in the same position for years and years with zero growth or additional responsibilities. 

All of this means it might be time to start looking for a new job. You don’t want to make an emotional decision, so don’t jump to this step until you’ve exhausted all other options. If you have decided that moving on is the best course of action, that doesn’t mean you should stop putting in effort. It’s never a good idea to burn a bridge, so continue working hard while you look for a new position. That way, when you do find a job where they’ll appreciate you, you can leave your current job on a good note.   

Closing Thoughts

It can be very frustrating to go into the office day in and day out while feeling like no one there appreciates the hard work and effort that you put in. If you’re currently feeling undervalued at work, hopefully, something here will help you gain the recognition that you desire. Just remember to come at this issue from a place of respect and nobility. As upset as you might be, you still need to remain professional and keep your cool. 

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