Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Unappreciated At Work? 10 Ways To Cope When Undervalued
Published Apr 27th, 2021 & updated on Dec 7th, 2021
Feeling unappreciated can be a real blow to the ol’ self-esteem and make you feel totally invisible. And when we feel undervalued at our job, that shit can be especially frustrating. You’re constantly pushing to do your best! Crush those goals! Make your team proud! But when it comes to receiving praise from your boss…all you hear is crickets. Maybe you’re starting to wonder, wtf am I doing here? Just a lil’ crumb, or a crumb-let, of appreciation would be nice! Is that too much to ask??
Hell no, it’s not too much to ask! Your feelings are always valid, friend. So if you don’t feel appreciated at your workplace, here are some ways to dive thru it. ‘Cause you’re a rockstar and deserve to feel like one!
1. Recognize Your Value
Hey, if no one else will, hype yourself up! You know how amazing you are deep down, but maybe you could use the extra reminders on days where you don’t feel valued at all.
Leave yourself little notes on your desk with personal affirmations. I’m doing my best. I’m a hard worker. My skill set is valuable. I’m valuable. I’m amazing at my job. You deserve to feel proud of your accomplishments! Or, start a gratitude journaling practice and take notice of all the things you love about your life and yourself. Alllll of these positive lil’ thoughts add up!
You still 100% deserve to feel appreciated by your workplace, but there’s no shame in showing yourself some love for kicking ass at your job. So, flatter yourself!
2. Learn How To Set Boundaries
We’re lookin’ at all of you people-pleasers out there! Boundaries are a MUST when it comes to your mental wellbeing. They keep you from burning out and becoming resentful (which you’re maybe experiencing right about now). If you constantly feel resentful of being asked to do more more more, like you always have to say YES to avoid letting people down, or like you give sooo much but get little in return — it’s time. Set those boundaries.
Next time you’re asked to stay late (AGAIN) or asked to put out a fire for someone else, remember that you’re allowed to say no (no, it doesn’t make you a bad employee). The boundaries you place around your time and energy deserve to be respected.
3. Reframe Negative Thoughts
My boss hates me. My coworkers are always so ahead of me. I suck, majorly.
Sound familiar? Yaaa, these negative thoughts can really run rampant in your mind. It’s easy to get down on yourself and get caught up in negative self-talk when you feel undervalued at your job. The thing is, you might be listening to your inner critic a lil’ too much. Just because you aren’t getting the praise you deserve, doesn’t mean you’re undeserving. So instead, reframe those negative thoughts you’re having about yourself using those affirmations we talked about. I’m doing my best. I’m a hard worker. My skill set is valuable. I’m valuable. I’m amazing at my job.
4. Look For Underlying Signs Of Appreciation
Okay, realistically, our bosses aren’t gonna praise us 24/7 even when they really do appreciate our kick-assery. Ask yourself if there are other ways you receive appreciation at work aside from words. You might be chosen for certain projects because of your wicked skills. Or your team might come to you with questions because they trust your judgement.
There’s a good chance your team is super grateful for you, just in ways that aren’t always so obvious!
5. Show Appreciation For Others
Tell your work bestie how much you appreciate their help on a project. Bring your coworker their fave drink from Starbs when they’re having a hectic day. Plan a group lunch with your team in the park.
Showing how much you appreciate the people you work with will help increase morale (bets are everyone is feeling underappreciated in some way), and might make others be more intentional with showing their appreciation too. Maybe your workplace just needs that lil’ push to be a more supportive culture.
6. Ask For What You Need
Harsh truth…you’re probs gonna have to talk to your boss about how you’re feeling. You might be thinking: Haaa, as if! I’ll just hold this inside and suppress it until it goes away, like an ADULT. We get it. Confrontation can be super awkward. But there’s no shame in sharing how you truly feel, especially when it’s starting to affect your wellbeing outside of work too.
Ask your boss if you can have a talk one-on-one and let them know how you’re feeling. Share if you feel like your efforts are going unnoticed, or you feel undervalued in your position. Some people dread public acknowledgement, while others crave it. Maybe, for you, success looks like receiving praise and recognition for your hard work (totally valid, btw). And there’s a chance your boss has no idea you’re feeling this way! Hopefully, they are the kind of boss that loves feedback, and you two can work on making things better together.
7. Lean On Your Support Team
Before you have a major breakdown in the break room, turn to the people in your life who you can count on. Ask to go for a walk, a drive, or to FaceTime after work just to vent.
Your loved ones will be there to support you and remind you just how ahhh-mazing you are. When you’re feeling unappreciated, it can be so nice to hear some of that validation from someone else! They can also talk you through any scenarios that happened at work, like your boss not acknowledging the joke you made in the team meeting. Maybe they didn’t catch what you said, or just didn’t get it! Maybe they were thinking about their next meeting, and stressed out? Sometimes we just need a little help to rationalize so that we don’t lay awake at night, picking those interactions apart.
8. Take Time For Yourself
Here’s your friendly reminder to incorporate self-care in your life! Work can be draining af, so make sure that you’re taking some time for yourself. Like, as much as possible. Mark it in your planner, or set a reminder in your phone, you lil’ go-getter! Scheduling some me-time is just as important as your working hours (even more important, tbh).
Order dinner from your fave restaurant after completing a super time-consuming project. Finally check out that big purchase that’s been sitting in your online shopping cart for months. Celebrate those little wins. They matter!
9. Talk To A Therapist
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again…THERAPY. Talking through your problems in therapy can be sooo helpful when you’re second-guessing yourself, dealing with low self-esteem or just need to vent about your feels. Your therapist will walk you through all of those thoughts you’re having and give you some new perspective.
They can also give you some much-needed advice about your work life. Is this job really serving your wellbeing, aside from earning a living? Is it doing more harm than good?
10. Consider Moving On
Obviously, feeling unappreciated at work can look like a lot more than not getting enough pats on the back from your boss. Being undervalued at work can also look like: being underpaid, not getting raises, not receiving credit for your work, a lack of promotion or growth opportunities.
If you’re dealing with a toxic workplace and not getting the respect you deserve, it’s okay to look at other options. Or maybe you’ve outgrown where you’re at right now, and that’s okay too. Truly, if you’re unhappy and things don’t improve…you don’t owe anyone more of yourself.
We’re sorry if you’ve been struggling with feeling undervalued at work, friend. Hopefully these tips help better your situation, or at least know that you’re ready to move on to bigger and better things! Always know your worth.