This is the Reason You Don't Feel Appreciated at Work

Assuming you're not a total slacker

April 18, 2017

I’ve a friend who’s been at her current job for 5 years and the reason she knew this was that the head of her department sent a note saying her fifth year anniversary gift was on the way, so lookout for a FedEx. Her company gives a gift card on the corporate anniversary so employees can treat themselves a little. It’s a nice thing to do. Especially since a lot of companies do nothing.

What she didn’t expect was A) the heads up that it was coming and, B) the charming little thank you note that came with it. The head of her department is new; he was promoted a couple of months ago, and this unexpected show of appreciation caught her off guard since his predecessor was not known to say much, let alone “thank you.”

Study after study shows that happier employees are more productive employees and what makes you feel happier at work than knowing you are valued? But, ask a few of your friends, “When was the last time your boss said he/she appreciated your work?” and you’ll hear crickets.

If you don’t feel valued at work, it’s probably because your boss hasn’t shown you any appreciation. Maybe he’s overwhelmed and hasn’t made the time, maybe no one ever said it to him, or maybe he thinks (like Don Draper) that that’s what the money is for! In any case, it’s a mistake. People value feeling appreciated over lots of other things, including compensation. You can always get some more money by getting a new job, but if your boss values and recognizes your work, is the switch really worth it? Job satisfaction is never about the money alone --- how many people do you know right now who are highly paid and still miserable at their jobs.

I wish I could tell you, just do a good job and you'll feel valued. Most company cultures just don't work that way, even if they say they do. But, here's something to think about; appreciation can be a two-way street. If you have a good boss that you value, why not let him know today? ‘Hey, Boss, I really appreciate how no matter how busy you are, you always make time for me when I need it.’ Or, ‘I really admire how you communicate with stakeholders in difficult situations and I hope to be like that one day.’ You’ll find those in management rarely get honest feedback from those they manage (for obvious reasons) so if you have something positive to say, imagine how much more fun that is for your boss than when you present him with a problem that needs solving.

Maybe he’ll like it so much, he'll start doing the same for you.