How to Overcome Feeling Underappreciated At Work

You’ve spent months pouring your whole heart into your job (maybe even years). You’ve rolled up your sleeves to do the hard work, built good relationships with coworkers, and hit targets and goals no one else on your team comes close to achieving. Yet, somehow you don’t get the recognition you know you deserve. You’re not just some ordinary person. You’re an overachiever, a go-getter, and an A-player at work. So, why does it seem like your boss doesn’t care about your results? Why are there so few high fives around the office? And can we talk about that pay raise that you clearly deserve? In this article, we’re going to share how to overcome feeling underappreciated at work. So, you can keep being your amazing self while maybe getting the shift towards recognition you seriously deserve.

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How to Overcome Feeling Underappreciated At Work

1. Help others feel appreciated

A little hack about life is this: when you want something from people, show it to them first. If you want love, spread love everywhere you go. If you want kindness, be kind to everyone you meet. And if you want to feel appreciated at work, make your colleagues feel appreciated every day when you go to work. Sometimes, people need role models to show them how something is done before they’re able to do it. Without someone like you leading by example, they don’t realize or see the benefit of doing something. But when you model it for them, suddenly they realize how nice it is to feel appreciated by someone. And they’ll start appreciating the people around them too (and that includes you). People often mirror others. Just as hatred can spread like wildfire, so can kindness. Appreciate the people around you and you’ll see a shift in how people communicate appreciation to one another at work.

2. Talk to your boss

The hardest thing to do at work is ask for feedback. But if you feel unappreciated at work, it’s possible you’re doing something wrong or that your boss doesn’t like. Having those hard conversations can be tough to hear. No one wants to be told where they fall short, especially when already feeling unappreciated. Emotions can run high with hard conversations. But if you can bite your tongue, be open to critical feedback instead of reacting defensively, and work on building the habits to overcome professional faults, you could inch closer to getting the appreciation you want from your boss at work. Most people only get feedback from their boss at a performance review. But because it only happens once a year, there’s a long gap before any of the progress is made on making positive changes. Asking your boss and colleagues for feedback can help you level up as a colleague. And those positive changes you make after learning where you fall short can help you get more appreciation at work.

3. Create a list of your accomplishments

If you’re feeling underappreciated at work, it might be time to sit down and look at everything you’ve accomplished lately. Creating a document or folder of all your accomplishments can help you recognize if you’re really having a great impact at work. If you are, you can take this list of accomplishments and present them to your boss. You might be able to negotiate a pay raise (if the company is doing well and financial perks help you feel appreciated). Or you’ll at least be able to see what your boss thinks of your accomplishments. You might ask questions about whether or not these accomplishments are aligned to what your boss views as wins. Maybe your successes aren’t focused enough on the company’s bottomline or revenue goals. By finding ways to tie more of your accomplishments to the company’s revenue goals, you’ll likely begin to feel more appreciated by your team.

4. Direct some of your talent elsewhere

If you’re feeling underappreciated at work, it’s possible that you need to level up some of your skills (or maybe find some better people to work with). You can do this by directing some of your talent to a new channel. Maybe you pick up freelance work to find out what clients think of your work. Or you start a business where you apply your skills to a new context to see how that works out for you. You could also volunteer for an organization where you perform similar work tasks for a charity and see how they respond to your performance. It’s key to figure out if you are unappreciated at work because you’re doing something wrong or if you’re just around the wrong type of people. By showcasing your talent elsewhere, it gives you another opportunity to find an environment where you might feel more appreciated.

5. Apply for a role at another company

It might be time to build your resume to lead you to your next opportunity. Sometimes, you can put so much heart and energy into a role at a company, and they just don’t get you. Finding your people is possible. And they’re out there. By applying to other companies, you can find cultures with more positive, supportive, and uplifting environments. So, you can have the freedom to be yourself at work, feel appreciated by others, and enjoy going to work for your 40 hours each week. A lack of appreciation is a common reason why people end up leaving their jobs behind. You work tirelessly to help build something for your company or to hit a key target and then they don’t even notice you’ve done all this hard work. It can feel discouraging. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. So, you wanting this too isn’t some weird or strange thing. Just know that there are places and people that will appreciate you. If you’re looking to change roles, you can use Huntr’s resume builder and AI cover letter generator to help you land more interviews.

6. Talk to your peers about it

When it comes to talking to your peers about your feeling underappreciated at work, don’t start by talking about yourself. Instead, make it about them. Ask them if they feel appreciated enough at work. Then, ask if you show them enough appreciation at work. By approaching it like this, you might see that maybe you’re not showing people appreciation in the way they need. And by opening up the conversation, you could find out how different people view appreciation and what their needs of appreciation looks like. How you view it may be different than how someone else views it. And if there are inconsistencies, you might find they’ve been trying to show it to you but it just hasn’t been landing. Most people are scared to have these kinds of conversations as it can leave them vulnerable to criticism. But if you approach it with openness and avoid getting defensive with the feedback you get, you might learn how to better appreciate your coworkers while they also learn how to better appreciate you. All it takes is having that first difficult conversation with others to learn how they view the same topic, so you can better support one another in feeling appreciated and valued at work.

7. Examine the company culture

Knowing how to read the room is one of the most underrated skills. But it’s kind of necessary. If you’re feeling unappreciated at work, take a quick look at the company culture. Do people seem like they’re in high spirits or stressed? Have there been any layoffs recently? Or maybe you’ll start to see that the company culture is toxic. Noticing what’s happening around your company will help you realize that maybe the reason why you’re not being appreciated at work is because something bigger is happening around you and it’s causing people anxiety. Maybe leadership knows about an impending layoff and are making changes behind the scenes. There could be more pressure than ever before to hit key targets that not enough teams are hitting. Overall, you’ll want to be able to assess what’s happening so you can step up to solve the problems (which will also help you get more appreciation). You’re one part of a team. Help your team by filling in the gaps as you start to notice what’s happening around you.

8. Share your team’s impact publicly

To help you feel less underappreciated at work, share your team’s impact more publicly. For example, you might share some of the targets people on your team have hit. Or highlight cool things your team has done. You could do this on Slack or post about it on LinkedIn. Either way, spread the word about the good work your team is doing. Often, when we’re top performers, we have a tendency to want to share our personal wins. But when we frame them as ‘team wins’ instead it becomes easier to trace some of that feedback back to you. It’s not about you, it’s about the team. And you should be trying to make your whole team look good. Be vocal for praise for what your team is doing. Be the team cheerleader, hyping everyone up about your team’s impact. Those who spread the word about the good work their team is doing are more likely to get noticed. And those highs from celebrating wins will help you win even more. For example, you’ll often notice in sports that when a team scores first they often win a game because now they’ve built momentum. Approaching your wins and teams wins that way can also help you build momentum. Avoid letting criticism seep into your team’s culture because negativity will lead to more negativity.

9. Study your colleagues who get praise

Sometimes, a toxic boss has favorites. While it can be frustrating to see it happen, there’s also something to learn from them. Who are the people your boss constantly dishes out praise for? What can you learn from those people? Study them. Mirror their habits. They’re doing something you’re not doing. You might be so deeply buried in your work you don’t notice that they’re building relationships with others, which might play a role in why they get praise. Or maybe they’re communicating their own wins more effectively than you are. While it’s easy to just discredit the colleague (particularly if you’re feeling disgruntled), play devil’s advocate to really understand what they’re doing that your boss likes. Maybe you’ve been pushing too hard, you’ve become burnt out, and your communication skills are suffering. It could be as simple as that. If your hard skills are the reason why you’re a top performer, look at your colleagues' soft skills to try to help you become an even better employee. Remember, it’s a balance of soft and hard skills that gets people praise.

10. Focus on your personal growth

When you’re underappreciated at work, rather than seeking positive feedback, strive to learn how to achieve goals for the sake of learning instead of for the praise you’ll receive. Often, when people have big egos it’s because the people around them make them feel small. They hype themselves up because the people around them don’t praise them enough. Learning how to do things for the challenge of learning something new or for the personal growth you’ll experience, can be hard when you’re around negative people. However, when you surround yourself with people who praise you, you’ll naturally start to do things for the sake of learning and growing rather than for a compliment you’ll receive. It’s kind of like what comes first: the chicken or the egg? If you’re deprived of praise, you might just be around the wrong people. Still, it’s important to learn how to do things without getting praise or recognition for it. Instead, to do things knowing you’ll get to become better at your craft, become a better person, or learn something new.

Next steps when unappreciated at work

You might very well be doing all the right things. Sometimes, people are so caught up in their own worlds they don’t realize they’re causing you to feel underappreciated. Work can be stressful and hard sometimes. Maybe you realize the people around you are stressed about layoffs or revenue targets or personal problems. Or maybe you realize it’s time to change jobs to find people who will acknowledge the hard work you do. If you’re looking to switch roles to wind up somewhere better, where you feel appreciated by your team, and your hard work gets noticed, you can use Huntr to build your resume, tailor it for specific jobs, create cover letters, track interviews, and more. Sign up for Huntr to start your job search today!

Nicole Martins Ferreira

Nicole Martins Ferreira

Nicole Martins Ferreira, Senior Writer at Huntr, brings a rich background in marketing, tech, and ecommerce to craft insightful content on job search strategies and career advancement. With experience from Super Magic Taste to Shopify, she excels in creating engaging, actionable advice for job seekers.

Nicole's expertise in SEO and content marketing, honed across diverse roles, enables her to effectively guide individuals through the complexities of the job market. Her contributions at Huntr are vital, offering readers valuable tips and strategies to navigate their professional journeys successfully, making her work an invaluable resource for job seekers everywhere.

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