Are people aware of the work that you're doing? Could it be that you're not being appreciated because people aren't aware of your accomplishments? Sometimes you need to toot your own horn and tell people about your successes. You never know when your manager is going to be in a meeting deciding which job to eliminate, and when they are, you want your achievements to be at the top of their mind.
Do people have a problem with your personality? Being liked by your coworkers and managers is very important. Even if you are top performer, if people don't like you, you will never be truly appreciated. If you don't have a lot of friends or allies, stop and ask yourself why. Have you made an effort to connect with your coworkers? Do you help and support them when they need it? Have you behaved in a way that has annoyed people or made them angry? If you aren't sure, find a coworker that you trust and ask them for their honest feedback.
Are you sure that your performance is strong? Could it be that you are the only person who is mistaken about your performance? Is it possible that your performance isn't as strong as you think it is? If you aren't clear on your manager's priorities, you could be spending a lot of time focusing on tasks that your manager doesn't care about, while you neglect those responsibilities that are crucial to your job. Ask your manager for feedback on your performance so that you can be clear about where you stand and you can make adjustments as needed.
What is making your feel unappreciated? Take a step back to analyze your feelings. Think of times in your life when you have felt appreciated and ask yourself what's different. What do you need to feel appreciated? Do you need your manager to periodically tell you that you're doing a good job? Do you need to be given more opportunities to expand your skills? Or do you just need to be left alone to do your work? Is it possible that your manager actually does fully appreciate your work but is not expressing it effectively? Before you jump to conclusions, take the time to consider that your perception may not be completely accurate.
Now that you have delved a little deeper into the situation, you are in a better position to determine your next step. Don't just hope that things will get better; you have to take action. You don't want to just allow yourself to stay unhappy in your job and if you truly are not appreciated by your employer, it is not good for your career. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to change your habits or behaviour? Will you start focusing more on promoting yourself? Are you going to talk to your manager? Will you work on modifying your own perception? The key is to make a decision and get moving!
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo from: photostock/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net)