We’ve all had bad days at work that we just couldn’t wait to be over. Things are never easy all the time. But if you find yourself having way more bad days than good, and you feeling unappreciated at work on top of all that, then you’ve got serious problems to address. And fast!
I’ve had all types of bosses in my career, and fortunately most of them have been great. But if you work long enough, even if you’re a rockstar employee, you’re going to have to deal with disappointment, stress, and being overworked at some point. What matters most is how you react and grow from those experiences. Here are some solutions for feeling unappreciated at work.
Solutions For Feeling Unappreciated At Work
1) Take Your Emotions Outside: If you’re feeling unappreciated at work, chances are your emotions are also running high. You may feel depressed, frustrated, angry, exhausted, or everything all at once. I’ve been there and know how hard it is! But you have to maintain your composure on the job or people will quickly lose respect for you no matter what the circumstances. So if you feel like you’re about to explode or burst into tears, take a walk outside and get away from everything for 5-10 minutes to cool down. I can say from my own experience that it really helps!
2) Don’t Underestimate Stress: Stress has a sneaky way of creeping up and consuming every inch of your body and your mind. Your health can become compromised quickly if you aren’t sleeping enough, develop high blood pressure, stop eating healthy foods, and give up exercising all together. Make sure you take time for yourself and your loved ones each week to unwind so your life away from work won’t suffer.
3) Make Your Contributions Known: You could be the own cause of feeling unappreciated at work without even realizing it. If your managers and colleagues have no idea what you’re doing all day, how do you expect them to look up to you or acknowledge you for any of your hard work, ideas, and contributions? Make sure your boss actually knows what you’re working on.
4) Speak Up ASAP: When was the last time you had a private conversation with your boss? Hopefully it hasn’t been more than 6-12 months ago. Sadly, there are tons of people who never speak with their managers one on one unless they have absolutely have to in order to meet a mandatory requirement like a performance evaluation. If something is bothering you at work and you’re feeling unappreciated, you need to vocalize your concerns. I’m not talking about complaining and gossiping in the halls; I’m talking about making an appointment to professionally voice your feelings with your manager this week. Not next month, or a year from now.
5) Raise Only Real Relevant Issues: When you’re overworked and feeling like nobody cares about what you’re going through, it’s easy to start endlessly ranting about how tired you are, complain about other people screwing things up, whining about how your commute takes forever, etc, etc. Choose wisely what you bring up with your manager because he/she doesn’t want to see you overly emotional or acting immature. Raise only real relevant issues that you believe are directly contributing to your unhappiness and feeling unappreciated.
6) Work On 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 work on some of your weaknesses, learn new skills, and increase your productivity.
7) Request A Smaller Workload: This is sometimes much easier said than done but it’s important that you bring it up if you have more responsibilities than you can comfortably handle. A lot of companies still haven’t restaffed to the levels they had before the market collapse and a lot of people are overworked, myself included. If your manager has no idea that you feel overwhelmed with your current workload, you can’t expect them to read your mind and reallocation resources or hire more people. You may not get an immediate reprieve if other people need to get trained to take over some of your tasks, but it’s always worth asking if you’re getting burnt out.
8) Ask For A Raise And Get Promoted: 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 and a promotion if you’re worth it. Check out my 10 easy steps to ask for a raise. And if you want to get promoted, trust me – you really need to speak up and make it clear that you want to move up. If you’ve been rejected before don’t let that stop you, I didn’t! You can read my story about how to handle being denied a promotion after my boss screwed me over.
9) Delegate And Ask For Help: My career improved tremendously once I started asking for help, and learned how to delegate tasks as I gained more authority. I used to think holding certain responsibilities close to my chest gave me power and saved me the trouble from having to train others. But thank goodness I learned that was dumb. We all work in teams in one form or another, so we have to find the most efficient ways to work together. We all win when we work as a team and learn from each other.
10) Consider Switching Positions: If you’ve already met with your manager several times and things aren’t getting any better, it’s time to consider other options. Look into switching positions to a different department, moving to another office location, or landing a new job all together. Just ask yourself these questions before you quit your job.
11) Figure Out What Will Make You Feel Appreciated: This may sound silly, but it’s actually really important to ask yourself why you’re feeling under appreciated in your current job. There are lots of reasons to consider. And maybe you have several things causing your feelingssuch as having to work overtime, juggling more clients than your colleagues, not having access to resources, being underpaid, falling behind your peers, never being thanked or acknowledged for your efforts, or never getting time off. Once you can identify what you want, talk to your manager about it and work together on a plan of action. Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish.
12) Find Ways To Contribute In 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. So find some ways to get more meaning and happiness in your personal time. Volunteer, help a charity, spend time with your significant, go out with your friends, visit your family, and get your personal finances in order.
13) Be A Better Coworker: Have you stopped to think if you’ve been a lousy coworker lately? How you interact and communicate with your colleagues could have something to do with why you’re feeling unappreciated at work. When was the last time you held the door for someone, said hi in the hallway, or used “please” and “thank you” in your emails and conversations? Just don’t turn into a push over because if you’re too nice and always say “yes” to everything, you could end up with people walking all over you and still be unhappy.
14) Take A Long Vacation: I try to schedule a few long vacations a year to recharge and get away from it all. If you’re tight on money just take a staycation. I’ve done that several times and it’s actually quite a lot of fun and relaxing. Being out of the office on longer trips also helps your colleagues and managers appreciate you more when you come back because they start to feel the pain of not having you there. Just don’t abuse the privilege or you’ll end up with enemies and an angry boss.
15) Reconnect With Your Goals: When we’re under pressure and working on so many things at once, it’s easy to forget all the positives about our jobs and the goals that we’ve set. Don’t lose sight of your career goals! If you feel like you’ve gone way off course or feel like your contributions have become meaningless, ask a mentor or your manager for advice and support. Thinking about the big picture, remembering why you’re doing what you’re doing, and re-centering yourself really helps.
I hope these 15 solutions for feeling unappreciated at work will help you. Want more suggestions? Here are even more solutions for feeling unappreciated at work. If you’re unhappy, don’t keep everything all bottled up inside – take action!
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If you’re feeling unappreciated at work, you’re not alone. Things can get better. Never give up!
Leave. If they don’t appreciate you now, they never will.
Betty F says
This information helped me to get clarity about what I need to know in my specific situation. Nearly two years ago I returned to work as a senior and at the time I believed I could use my career skills and education in a valuable way. This was one of the first time I had worked where the employees are required to do a lot of daily cleaning. At first this was not an issue till employees quit for better benefits and money, then the bulk of cleaning was left up to me. Recently I have started to feel devalued and not working in the upper managerial role for which I have a proven outstanding track record. I feel this is not going to change as long as I am willing to go on in the role I have allowed myself to get in. When I applied for this job, I assumed far to much and took the job without getting a job description-big mistake. I have been open and receptive to learning new work skill requirements for this job, As my present reality becomes more evident that no matter what I do this job is taking me nowhere skill wise or monetarily. There are few if any benefits offered and upward mobility small if any opportunities. I have a 26 year outstanding work record and i feel that i am not receiving recognition i deserve where i am presently. I will say i have learned a great deal as what to not expect. I feel that talking with the Director will not be valuable. Also i have found out that working in a role far less than i have previously in my career, does not resonate with me as i thought it would. From what i have learned from reading your articles, it appears the best option for me is to start looking for another position and assume nothing….get as many facts about the job applying for as possible. I feel confident as to what i have to offer any place i am employed, not now i am interested in finding out what can an employer offer me, and why. Thanks for interesting and helpful articles. I intend to keep reading, learning and applying.
Thanks for reading Betty and I’m glad to hear you found the article helpful. Best of luck in your job search and I really hope you find a better opportunity!!
Thank you Sidney, I really need this. For sacrifices that i have made i still feel invisible . Good tips and so true,
No matter what we do, should focus more to our love ones,
Your article puts everything on the shoulders of the employee. Yes I get the whole “people don’t like whiners” bit, but maybe sometimes it is simply a matter of having a boss that doesn’t know what they are doing.
Of course there are plenty of situations when one’s boss is the source of the problems. But sitting around and doing nothing isn’t going to help especially since that boss could be there for years and not change. If you find yourself with a lousy boss, it’s worth looking into other options whether its trying to get transferred to another department or looking for other opportunities elsewhere.
“Your article puts everything on the shoulders of the employee.”
-Well it should, because WE can only control ourselves and not others. 🙂 The effort should come from us. If you don’t like something, change the way you see or handle it. Thanks for this article by the way. 🙂
Read your suggestions and while good, there is one thing that I don’t think is mentioned. I think it goes a long way when you are acknowledged for your contribution without having to “speak up” and say “hey I did this”. In some cases your work is seen; there is even photographic evidence of such (lol) but when it’s time to acknowledge the team that worked to put on a show or complete a project, you are not mentioned. It’s hard to be “chill” when that is your reality and when your boss is the one doing this why say anything?
I just found your site/blog… And whan an amazing tips and advices! (Sorry, english isnt my 1st language…).
I’m in a job with a pretty nice pay and a “solid base” (no fear for the layoffs etc.!). But I’ve been at the company like almost 4 years, with the same tasks, title etc.
I have a co-worker who cane into the company like 2y ago (so half of the time Ive been there…). At the time, when my co-worker started, I had a one very nasty divorce/costody battle etc… She has kids and was very kind to me, asked about “how am I doing?” Etc. “Small talk”….
Anf all the while, while I was stuck with a personal chrisis (it affected me, no sleeping & eating etc.) she took very well advantage of it…!! (Didnt see it then, do see it now…!).
At the time our boss was a man with a big heart and full of ideas, which was in a way a good thing (w/a bit too big heart on some issues though…). So she “crawled” her way up then already and when the boss changed to a woman (she heard all the stuff/recommendations/gossip from the previous boss…)…
And now my co-worker got promoted, has “very inportant tasks” (which she has no knowledge but she uses pther peoples effort to “shine”…!).
So I feel very stuck!!! Big time. I’d quit if I wouldn’t have tons of debt from divorce/custody issues….! I’d rather get laid out (with all the benefits) than just quit! (And im not a quitter!). I used to blog for over 3 years in english + w/my naitive language! (Got followers from 82 countries). Im from Europe but dont wanna tell mt country here…
So if you have any tips how to handle this w/my current boss (who is “smitten” w/my co-worker…), I’d highly appreciate it…
Thanks and now you got one more reader!
Hi May. Sorry to hear about your tough situation. My first tip is even as much as you may not like your co-worker, don’t speak poorly of her to your new boss or colleagues. Talking bad about coworkers can weaken your position. Try getting to know your new boss. The more you get to know her, the easier it gets to gain her support and talk about difficult issues. Think about all of the positives you add to the company and the value that you’re adding. Talk with your new boss about your achievements and let her know that you are interested in working towards a promotion. Ask for her guidance and suggestions on how you can achieve that goal. If you just don’t want to stay, start searching for a new job aggressively and aim to find a new job while you’re still working. I do not recommend quitting without a new job lined up. Best of luck!
Thanks for sharing this. I made my contributions known today. I felt better afterward.
Nice job taking a stand and coming forward!
Thank you–this was a really helpful article and I’ll think about your tips.
Glad you found it helpful KM. You have the power to change your work situation for the better. Best of luck!
Paul @ The Frugal Toad says
Most of these do not apply to me since I am a Public School Teacher. There really is no career path unless you want to become a Principal and I am not interested in that path. It really makes my day when I get an email from a Parent thanking me or one of my students lets me know I am appreciated!
I really like point #12, to volunteer with a charity, spend time with your signficant other, etc.
I’ve found that channeling that build up stress from into something productive works for me.
I once had a regular job with a bad boss and I channled my frutstrations into writing a book. I rmemeber many times I would be so frustated by work that I would get up at 2:00 am and pound away on the computer for several hours at a time.
Looking back, if it hadn’t been for that job, I may never have taken a different, and more satisfying, path in life.
What a cool story Terry. Sometimes frustration can be an excellent source of motivation and change!
My Money Design says
These are all really good. I especially like “bringing up only relevant issues”. As humans we tend to bring up each and every problem when we feel like something is wrong. And then half way through our rant to our boss we realize that 75% of what we’re talking about has nothing to do with the problem at work. It really just helps to catch your breath, take a step back, and look at the situation objectively.
Michael @ The Student Loan Sherpa says
Bringing up only relevant issues is a huge point. Regardless of how well you do with the others, if you complain to your boss about things they cant control, you wont be doing yourself any favors. Focusing on quality of issues is far more important than quantity.
So true. Complaining just makes you look immature and weak. Bringing up real issues and talking about solutions shows initiative, problem solving skills, and leads to results.
Thanks MMD. It helps to take time to cool down before meeting with your manager too. I’ve had to restrain myself a few times when I wanted to rip apart my boss so badly for being insensitive and unhelpful. I’d play out what I really wanted to say in my head but then say something like “let’s discuss tomorrow” to give myself time to get the anger monkeys out of my system and the rational thinking return.
Financial Samurai says
One of the most disappointing things about work was how unappreciative some bosses or colleagues are about your efforts. This is why it’s so important to set expectations and manage our bosses. Those who don’t speak up and think their work is going to speak for itself will be in for a rude awakening. Bosses have their own stress to deal with.
It’s also important to look around you and see what your fellow co-workers are doing. Are people quitting to leave for other companies? Or are you surrounded by people who’ve been there for 5-10+ years. You don’t want to be undeappreciated, underpaid, and overworked. That’s bull crap.
Speaking up ASAP is so key. It’s like scolding a dog one hour after its pooped on the Persian carpet. He ain’t gonna know what you be talking about!
Bosses definitely have their own stresses even if we feel like they don’t. That’s why it’s important to pick a good time to sit down and talk with them when they’re not scrambling to prepare for a client pitch or the like. Haha hilarious analogy btw.
Your Daily Finance says
I left the work force because I was unhappy because it seemed no one appreciated or understood what I was doing. I agree that you should speak up but would only do so with relevant issues. Don’t look stupid talking about things that don’t matter or you know little about. Make sure you do your research. Stress can be a killer at work. Asking for help can really actually “HELP”
Sorry to hear you had to deal with that. It’s good you made the decision to move on. Stress can get so bad if it’s not dealt with. I like listening to slow classical music to calm myself down when I feel a lot of stress coming on.
Excellent tips Sydney! And I love the image you chose! One tip I found very useful was to have measurable goals. For example, if you are in say retail dealing with customers, keep a count of the number of customers you helped, list that in your performance evaluation.
No matter what job you do, have some methodology to measure it and track it.
Thanks! I found that picture in my library which I took a long time ago and thought it fits perfectly for this post. Measurability is very important, I agree. Vague goals like “do better at xyz” aren’t really helpful. Specifics make a big difference.