We all have a need to know that the work we do is making a difference out there. We need to be valued and appreciated. This is not about getting verbal praise, although that can be nice too. It’s about knowing, feeling confident and believing yourself to be good at what you do. It’s about giving and knowing that your gifts are received and appreciated.
What is value?
Value is your contribution to the world out there and the difference you make by doing what you do in your profession. To keep your passion alive, you need to know that you bring value to others. And you need to know that you are being valued in your workplace. Nothing brings me more joy than a message from a happy client who just received a job offer, telling me how my interview tips really helped.
Whether you’re an artist, a doctor, an engineer or a project manager, learning how your work has saved someone’s life, brought someone joy or improved the function of a system will inspire you and give you a great boost of motivation to do more of this amazing work.
You need to know you’re valued.
I often hear people tell me “I’m not the kind of person who needs to hear thank you all the time.” This is not about getting a “thank you.” Some managers are really good at praising their team members, others, not so much. But it’s not really the verbal praise that often counts, actions speak louder than words. Your boss may constantly tell you how great you are and how much he or she appreciates you. But if you are passed over for a promotion, yet another year, and if you keep being underpaid, you will most likely feel undervalued.
Unfortunately, what most people do when they feel undervalued at their job is pull their value away. They become less motivated, don’t try as hard, start feeling resentful and, overall, give less to their jobs. And furthermore, as they give less, it becomes noticeable. It not only affects your performance and satisfaction, it also affects what you put on your resume.
What Could You Do Instead
Pulling your value away is the worst thing you can do. Continue doing the best job you can, even though you may feel a bit underappreciated at the moment. Have you been avoiding an uncomfortable conversation with your manager? Perhaps this can help you get more perspective on what’s really happening. If conversations don’t work and if you continue feeling unhappy, you can start looking for another job.
Bottom line, only you know how much value you bring. Others can give you feedback about what they want and what they would like to see you do. But it doesn’t mean they have the power to define your value. All you can do is do the best work you can. And if you don’t feel valued enough, find someone else to work for who will appreciate you.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.