Do you feel undervalued at work or not valued at all? If you feel like your work goes unrecognized and your ideas are often neglected, it can be demoralizing, defeating and frustrating. As human beings, we all want to be patted on the back for hard work — and, moreover, we want to be treated and paid fairly for that work.
But if you're working for a company that isn't giving you the recognition you deserve, it may be time to reconsider your job. Not only is a hostile workplace that doesn't appreciate you de-motivating (which can make your work feel less fulfilling and hurt your happiness), but it's also a hindrance to your success. You'll likely be far less productive if you don't feel like your work is appreciated, and even if you are productive, you're probably not being paid or promoted for those contributions.
It's important that you feel respected in the workplace. Studies show that employees who feel appreciated and are shown gratitude are up to 50 percent more productive and have higher morale and satisfaction — and that all leads to lower turnover rates for companies. Respect in the workplace is a win-win for employees and their employers.
What Are Some Signs That You're Undervalued at Work?
The signs that your company doesn't value your input may be obvious or they may be subtle. Don't let the situation get to the point that you start to believe that you don't deserve the appreciation. Here are 14 signs that you are unappreciated for which to look out.
1. Your Boss or Coworkers Take Credit for Your Work
Studies show that women don't take enough credit for their work. But when you experience a work win, nothing stings more than watching your boss or co-worker take credit for the success without even giving you the chance. While all you want to do is tell everyone "That was my doing!" you don't want to step on toes. But this happens repeatedly and you're starting to wonder why you even put in the work if you never receive credit.
2. You Don’t Get Paid Fairly
If you're doing the same work as someone else who's being paid more than you, or if you're doing more work than someone else who's being paid more than you, this may be a sign that you're unappreciated at work.
3. You Feel Like Nobody Notices You
If you like nobody in the office notices you, it may be because they don't. If you're sitting in meetings, attending conferences, and walking around the office but no one says two words to you, they may not know who you are. And, if they don't know who you are, it may be because the work you're doing doesn't directly affect them — which may be why they don't seem to care about it.
4. You Get Interrupted in Meetings
Research shows that women get interrupted, talked over, shut down or penalized for speaking out all the time — it's pretty much a universal experience for women when they are outnumbered by men in male-dominated fields, especially. If you feel like you're being interrupted in meetings, you very well might be.
5. You Feel Uninspired
If you're feeling unmotivated to go to work and to do your work, it may be a sign that your work is undervalued. If your work was appreciated and it showed, you'd inevitably be more enticed to do it well.
6. You Got Passed over for a Promotion
If someone below you or with less experience than you got a promotion over you, it may be because your workplace does not value your work. Of course, that person may be a better fit for a specific job for other reasons, which you'd need to explore.
7. Your Ideas Aren't Heard in Meetings but Repeated and Praised by Someone Else Later
Have you previously shared an idea that was shut down when you voiced it but praised when someone else repeated it as their own days, weeks or months down the line? If so, you may want to consider if any new circumstances could have changed your boss' or colleagues' opinion on the idea, or if they just didn't appreciate your input.
8. You’re Not Given the Resources to Do Your Job Well
If you're trying to do your job well but your company refuses to give you the tools, support and resources you need to do it, it may mean that they don't see your potential or are not prioritizing your work and don't want to invest the time or money.
9. You Haven't Been Promoted or Given a Raise in Years
While no one is entitled to a promotion or raise, it raises red flags if you've been in the same position earning the same pay for years. Maybe the company has some financial issues with which it's dealing but, if that's the case, it may be just another reason to reconsider working there. It may be time to ask for a raise or find a new job.
10. You Don't Have Access to Growth Opportunities
If you've been stuck in a deadend job with no growth opportunities or even mentors or training programs to help you advance your career, your only option for moving up may be to move to a new company entirely.
11. You Feel Like You're Wasting Your Time
If you feel like you're wasting your time because you're not operating at your full potential and your life seems to be passing by you, it may be time to look for a new job that inspires you, challenges you and helps you grow. You spend a good chunk of your day at work — you won't always enjoy it, but life is certainly too short for it to feel like a waste.
12. You Don't Get Verbal Praise, and Criticism Isn't Constructive
Verbal praise is important for positive reinforcement. You continue to do well when you're told what you're doing well. Likewise, constructive criticism is equally important. If feedback isn't helpful and, instead, just critical, you'll have a difficult time making the changes necessary to improve. If your boss isn't sharing feedback with you that can be beneficial, it may be because they don't believe in your potential or haven't taken the time to think through ways to help you.
13. You Have Zero Autonomy
Trust is important, and if you aren't trusted to do your job without being micromanaged all the time, you might want to move to a company that respects your experience and believes in you as a professional to get the job done.
14. You're Unable to Take Your PTO
Research shows that women are more afraid to take their paid time off than men, because they worry that doing so will hurt their careers. If you feel like you can't take your vacation or sick leave because it'll set you back, then you may be working for a company with an unhealthy company culture. A company that values a healthy work-life balance and the overall wellbeing of its employees is a company that values its employees.
What Can You Do If You Don't Feel Appreciated at Work?
While feeling unappreciated at work might seem like a helpless situation, there are some steps you can take that won't jeopardize your career. Here are some key strategies you can use to get the credit and appreciation you deserve.
- Talk to your boss and coworkers more openly. Effectively communicate with your boss and coworkers by supporting them, advocating for them, echoing their ideas and giving them feedback on their work, just as you'd like. Perhaps then, these actions will be reciprocated.
- Ask for what you need. If you think you deserve a raise or a promotion, ask. If the feedback you received in your annual review wasn't at all helpful, ask for examples of how you could improve. If you feel like your ideas aren't heard, ask how they'd be more easily digestible. Many times, your boss and coworkers might not even be aware that they're neglecting to appreciate you.
- Look elsewhere. If you aren't receiving the respect you deserve in the workplace, it's time to consider a new company that fosters a culture in which your contributions will indeed be appreciated and you have growth opportunities of which to take advantage.
When you feel appreciated, you'll work will benefit from it, and your company will benefit from your work. If you're feeling undervalued at work, look out for the aforementioned signs and take action. It may be time to speak up, or it may be time to quit. Whatever you choose to do, you, as a professional, deserve respect.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.