Feeling Unappreciated at Work? 3 Career Moves To Make

Young smiling black businesswoman at the wall with stickers communicating with her colleagues.
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There are more than enough valid reasons why employees may feel unappreciated in the workplace right now. In no particular order, we have a steady stream of news stories about companies laying off staff, buzzwords like “quiet quitting” and “productivity paranoia” routinely in use, an influx of burnout, a lack of connection and the mental and emotional tolls of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Generally, when someone doesn’t feel appreciated at work they want to take the necessary steps to gain appreciation again. Instead of making a dramatic move like suddenly quitting your job, you can address this issue by finding short- and long-term solutions. Take these steps if you’re starting to feel unappreciated at work to kickstart your motivation again. 

Take Credit for Your Achievements

We are often our own worst critics and may be under the assumption we are unappreciated when this is not the truth. If you start to hear a little voice talking down to you, it’s time to curb it by showcasing your achievements. 

Denise Hemke, chief product officer at Checkr, said one of the most effective ways to gain appreciation at work is to take credit for your work. Make sure people know it’s you behind the achievements. You can keep them in the loop by copying managers on emails, highlighting who did what in team projects and assignments, and taking on tasks which show off your strengths.

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“By doing so, your efforts don’t go unnoticed or unrecognized as a result of a team effort,” said Hemke. “Your managers learn to notice each person as an individual and understand their strengths and weaknesses.”

Seek New Growth Opportunities

If you are not receiving opportunities to grow in your job role, Akhila Satish, CEO of Meseekna, recommends taking note of every moment where you noticed your manager passed you over or didn’t allow you to take initiative. While a lack of assigned responsibilities does not indicate you may be experiencing a “quiet firing,” it is a warning sign worth paying attention to. 

If you notice a lack of growth opportunities or moments where there are missed opportunities, Satish said to open the avenue for clear communication and mutual constructive feedback with your manager. 

“I suggest making a list of projects you’ve completed successfully and initiatives which would’ve been exciting had you been a part of them to share with leadership,” Satish recommends. “If you are being undervalued, taking initiative to get on additional projects is a great way to get you back on track and back on your manager’s radar.”

Decide Who You Want To Be

More often than not when we feel unappreciated, we wonder what we should do. Should we quit our jobs? Vent about our frustrations with co-workers? Lean into doomscrolling headlines that suggest employees aren’t valuable assets anymore? 

Instead of wondering what to do, Mark Epp, CPC and senior leadership director with Talent Plus, said it’s a better approach to decide who you want to be.

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Do you want to stay at your job? If yes, it’s time to be the very best version of your professional self. Epp recommends investing in mastering your job and developing your potential because you choose to do it.

Do you want to look for a different position? You can still look for other roles and continue to be your best self at your current job. This allows you to set your energy and mindset on excellence, not on the status quo. 

How about uniting your colleagues together toward a common cause? Epp said make sure the cause is focused on progress and productivity. Those approaching their boss with concerns should also voice them from a point of view where “we want to manifest excellence” and these are the things that help everyone in the workplace contribute and increase productivity right now.

“Understand that energy attracts like-minded energy,” said Epp. “We get back what we project. It all begins with us!”

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