We’ve all had bad days at work that we just couldn’t wait to be over. I’ve had plenty in my career. If you found this post through search, you’ve probably got a lot of emotions stirring. I hope by the end of this post you’ll feel better and more empowered. I’ve had many different jobs for over 15 years and can tell you it’s unrealistic for any job to have only good days. We all know life throws curveballs, people are unpredictable and things can go wrong that are entirely out of your control. If you are constantly feeling unappreciated at work, take comfort you’re not alone and things don’t have to stay this way.
I’ve had all different types of bosses in my career and fortunately most of them have been great. But I’ve had tough managers too. It’s aggravating when your boss, especially a new boss brought in from another company, seems to nitpick and point out only the negatives in your performance. It’s hard to feel good about going to work when you’re just waiting for the next email or phone call about all the things you did “wrong” or could have done differently.
If you work long enough, even if you’re a rockstar employee, you’re going to have to deal with disappointment, stress, and Debbie downer bosses at some point. What matters most is how you react and grow from those experiences. Here are some solutions to help you bounce back if you’re feeling unappreciated at work.
20 Solutions For Feeling Unappreciated At Work
1) Evaluate Your Good To Bad Days Ratio
The first question you should ask yourself is what’s your average ratio of bad days to good. Don’t just look at the last month or two, take all the time you’ve been at your job into consideration too. Maybe you’re just going through a temporary rough patch. If you have a bad day about once every two to three weeks, consider yourself lucky. It’s totally normal to have a rough day a couple times a month. $h1t happens even to the best of us. However, if you’re having bad days a couple times a week or more, you’ve got some work to do.
2) Get Caught Up On Sleep And Exercise ASAP
Often we get so focused on work that we forget to take care of ourselves. The problem with this is we go to work feeling like crap everyday so we start every day feeling grouchy and exhausted. Who wants to work with grumpy, tired people? Nobody. Think about those “hangry” Snickers commercials – you’re not yourself when you’re starving or feeling off. So do yourself a favor right now and get caught up on sleep so you can function and feel alert. Even a 15 minute power nap can make a big difference. A good workout will also release toxins from your body and clear your head. Do your body some good asap.
3) Deal With Your Anger Monkeys In Private
If you’re feeling unappreciated at work, chances are your emotions are also running high. Watch Adam Sandler’s Anger Management for a good laugh or go for a drink with friends to take the edge off. Get in the habit of saying goosfrabaaaaa if your anger monkeys start to rise up. You don’t have to suppress feeling depressed, frustrated, angry, exhausted, or sad, just don’t show your emotions at work. I’ve been there and know how hard it is!
Get a grip on your feelings at the office because if you are an emotional wrecking ball, people will quickly lose respect for you no matter what the circumstances are. Before you start yelling at your boss or burst into tears, go take a walk. Even just a couple minutes outside can restore your composure. I’ve certainly had to step outside a few times in my career to pull myself together.
4) Get Some Stress Relief Fast
We all have exposure to stress. It’s everywhere. It can take constant effort to manage stress and prevent it from overpowering us. Try some of my 60 simple stress relief tactics to start. Find ways to use stress to your advantage too – believe it or not there are actually many ways stress can improve your life. It wouldn’t be who I am today without the stressful experiences I’ve overcome. Figure out what works best for you to keep your stress level manageable. Then make an effort to take time for yourself and spend quality time with the people you care about most. Don’t make the mistake of letting your personal life suffer because of work stress – it’s not worth losing everything except your career.
Are you your own worst enemy for feeling unappreciated at work? If your managers and colleagues have no idea what you’re doing all day, how do you expect them to acknowledge your hard work, ideas and contributions? Managers are notorious for getting so caught up in projects or putting out fires that they lose sight of what their teams are doing. It’s good to show off to your boss. Highlight your contributions and accomplishments. Tell them how you add value and stand out from your peers.
6) Have A Heart To Heart With Your Manager
When was the last time you had a one-on-one meeting with your boss? You should be checking in at least once or twice a quarter. After all, if they barely know who you are how can you expect to feel appreciated at work? Make the effort to develop a strong relationship with your boss. Talk to them about your concerns, get to know them as a person and show an interest in their contributions and passions. It can make all the difference in the world.
7) Let Go Of Petty Complaints
When you read about all the incredible freebies and perks employees get at companies like Google – free massages and gourmet meals anyone? – you may start to feel deserving of those same benefits. The reality is most businesses simply can’t afford to offer their employees all of those things! Google is an anomaly and they have more cash then they know what to do with. So please don’t complain that you’re feeling unappreciated at work because your job doesn’t offer free snacks or a game room. Remember, there is no such thing as a truly free lunch or a completely free work perk either – at the end of the day somebody still has to pay for it.
8) Focus On Relevant Issues
Do you feel overworked and underpaid? Remember anyone can rant, but those who are smart take action. Don’t waste time and energy complaining. Be mindful about what you bring up with your manager. You don’t want to come across as immature or ungrateful. Focus on specific, relevant issues that are making you feel unappreciated and offer solutions. Don’t expect your boss to do all the leg work. Bring your own options and suggestions to the table.
9) Prioritize Your Career Development
Have you considered if your lack of appreciation around the office is because your skills have gotten rusty, your performance is under par, or you haven’t taken enough training classes? Get proactive with your career development. Make an effort to improve your weaknesses, learn new skills and increase your productivity. If your company doesn’t offer sufficient training, take an online class, go to night school or find a mentor. Don’t expect a promotion to be handed to you. Work for it.
10) Request A Smaller Workload
Getting a reduced work load is easier said than done but it’s possible. You’ll never know if you can get a better balance if you don’t try though. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your manager knows if you have too much or too little work. They can’t read your mind. If you’re overwhelmed please talk to them about it. You may not get an immediate reprieve, but it’s always worth asking if you’re getting burnt out.
11) Ask For A Raise If You Deserve One
A common reason people feel unappreciated at work is they feel underpaid, stuck and unrecognized. I know it can seem impossible and scary, but it’s really not hard to ask for more money if you deserve it. Check out my 10 easy steps to ask for a raise. Money alone won’t cure you from feeling unappreciated at work. But being fairly compensated is really important and can really improve your attitude towards your job.
12) Work Towards A Promotion
Life doesn’t have much meaning without goals. The same goes for our careers. Do you really want to be stuck in the same role for the rest of your career? Doubtful. Start working towards a promotion and tell your manager you have a goal to get promoted. Don’t expect a new title without putting in the work to earn your stripes though. What’s important is putting a plan in place, talking to your boss and surpassing expectations.
13) Delegate And Ask For Help
My career improved tremendously once I started asking for help. I was stubborn for the longest time and tried to do too much on my own. Don’t waste time making the same mistakes I did. Ask for help. Delegate. Work as a team. Find more efficient ways to work together.
14) Look Outside Your Bubble
Careers don’t have to move in a straight line. Maybe you’re feeling unappreciated at work because you’re simply not happy with the type of work you’re doing. Have you considered moving to a different department, relocating to different office or landing a new job all together? Just ask yourself these questions before you quit your job.
15) Figure Out What’s Missing
This may sound silly, but it’s important to ask yourself why you’re feeling unappreciated at work. What’s missing? There are lots of reasons to consider. Are you missing work life balance, resources, recognition, paid time off, or fair compensation? Once you can identify what’s missing, work with your manager on a plan of action. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
16) Improve Your Personal Life
Maintaining a work life balance can be really hard, but never underestimate its importance! If your personal life is suffering, that can easily bleed into your work life and vise versa. Find ways to get more meaning and happiness in your personal time. Volunteer, help a charity, spend time with your significant other, go out with your friends, visit your family, and get your personal finances in order.
17) Be Nicer To Your Coworkers
Have you ever considered if you’ve been a lousy coworker lately? How you interact with your colleagues is super important. When was the last time you held the elevator for someone, said hi in the hallway or used “please” and “thank you” in your emails and conversations? If you let a door slam in your coworkers face or steal their food out of the fridge why should they be nice to you? Smiles and courtesy go a long way.
18) Be Missed
I’m always in shock at people who can but don’t take any vacation. I always had the opposite problem – I wanted to take off more days than I had accrued. Vacation is such a great way to recharge and get away from it all. Time off could be just the thing if you’re feeling unappreciated at work. Get out and have some fun. Let your colleagues and boss miss you. If they have to cover for you while you’re away, chances are they’ll be cheering for you when you get back.
19) Know Your “Why’s”
Don’t lose sight of your career goals! If you feel like you’ve gone off course or feel like your contributions have become meaningless, ask a mentor or your manager for advice and support. Step back and think about the big picture. Perhaps your own laziness or procrastination has spurred you to feel unappreciated. Focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing and get re-centered.
20) Take Control!
Empower yourself to take action. If you’re feeling unappreciated at work, it’s up to you to do something about it. You’re an adult after all – don’t expect to be handed anything. If you want more freedom, earn it. If you want more money, ask for it. If you want xyz, go out and get it!
Congrats on reading through all 20 of my solutions for feeling unappreciated at work. Want more? Check out these additional 15 solutions. If you’re unhappy the great news is you have the power to change that. Make this year the one you take control!
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Untemplaters, how often do you feel unappreciated at work? Do you make a conscious effort to use any of these 20 suggestions?
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These are great suggestions. I would, however, issue a word of caution when it comes to having a one-on-one meeting with your manager. In my experience, I have seen these kinds of meetings go very well and also very poorly. I would recommend establishing an agenda yourself and sharing it with your manager upon scheduling the meeting. In this way, you are in control of the dialogue.
Michael @ Financially Alert says
Great list, Sydney! I like #9 Prioritize Your Career Development because it gives you something positive to focus on that can ultimately pay dividends outside your current position. Working this will then automatically help achieve #7 Let Go Of Petty Complaints. You’ll be too busy growing. 🙂
Preston @TheDrunkMillionaire says
Lots of helpful tips in your list! I make those “bad” days gym days. Working out for an hour helps dissipate all emotions related to work and help me start fresh the next day. Work/life balance is also HUGE!
Financial Samurai says
The best thing I like to do is BE MISSED. Do such great work that they are so happy and appreciative when you return from break. Employees get taken for granted by bad managers and employers with bad culture. Make them miss you, and they will love you forever.
+1 for Be Missed.
Just back from a family leave for my newest son, and while being sleep deprived from so many late night feedings is no way to work, it’s still a recharge to be able to spend so much time away from work, it’s a nice boost to hear from your peers and management how much you were missed…
Financial Slacker says
Lots of great recommendations.
I have been fortunate in that I have been able to mostly work from home for the past ten years. One of the great benefits of this setup is that when you feel stress, it’s easier to just step away and do what you need to in order to regain your composure.
My first choice for stress relief is to go out and exercise. Even just taking a walk can really help put things back into perspective.
My other solution was suggested to me after I got laid off last summer. Rather than stew over things, a friend suggested I go back and calculate how much I had earned from that employer during the entire tenure of my employment. That exercise helped me see that the job was simply a way to make money. My self worth didn’t need to be tied up in the role.
Again, keep your perspective.
Money Beagle says
I have definitely had many if not all of these at some point along the way. I think that the key is when you have too many piling up or some that linger for too long. That’s when you need to deal with it in some fashion.
For me, I currently am just sort of ‘sick of work’ but it’s just that I need a day or two away. The routine is getting to me, so to speak. Our kids are off with spring break this week, so I’m thinking maybe taking off this Friday…just because. Sometimes little things like that can go a long way.