I think we have all been there. We have all found ourselves, at one time or another, in a position where we feel undervalued, underutilized, and unheard. It’s not fun!
Nearly 6 years ago, I survived a life-threatening health situation. I won’t go into the details because they are not important here. After weeks of leave, I returned to work anxious to get back to my normal routine. I was still in the recovery process (a process I was told could take up to a year) and my boss didn’t handle the situation well at all.
I was demoted and told that I was no longer worth what the company was paying me. I was also informed that despite my hard work for several months prior, I would be denied my bonus. None of this was my fault. I had just survived a traumatic medical event. There was nothing I could do, and yet this was my reality.
During the weeks and months that followed, my boss made my life miserable in an attempt to get me to quit. Retaliation anyone? She knew she couldn’t fire me because what kind of person fires a survivor of what I’d been through (irony!) and the threat of a lawsuit was very real.
I went from being respected, heard, and valued to being treated like an inconvenience at best and a liability at worst. It was awful! I realize my example of an awful work situation is pretty extreme, and yet it would be my guess that most of us have been treated unfairly at one point or another due to no fault of their own.
The question then becomes, “What do we do when we are treated miserably at work?”
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Hey, there. I'm Annie of wholeassistant.com, and today, we're going to be talking about what to do or how to handle when you feel undervalued or under-appreciated at work. I'm sure we have all been there. I'm sure we've had interesting work situations. I know I've gone through a couple of transitions in companies that I've worked for that have created some interesting work situations for me where I just walked away kind of feeling unheard, undervalued.
Today, we're going to be discussing how to deal with those situations, and I've got a few tips for you guys. My first tip is to increase your self-care. It's more important in these situations that figure out what it is that you need to fill your soul. Do things that give you joy. For example, for me, that's dancing the tango, going salsa dancing with my husband, happy hour with my girlfriends, going for a run or going to yoga. All those things tend to de-stress tend to get the endorphins going and tend to make me happy. Figure out what those things are for you, and then make sure that you're doing them on the regular.
Also, explore and try something new. Have you always wanted to take that painting class or that pottery course? Do it. This is a time to really invest in yourself and to take extra good care of yourself.
Then, also, I know I've talked about meditation in the past, but only because it has really helped me. I like to meditate to let go and release on a daily basis, those things that tend to build up throughout the day or tend to mess with my mind a little bit, tend to cling to me, and so I will just meditate and release those things. I found that to be really, really helpful in terms of my self-care.
The second thing is to speak up. If you feel undervalued, maybe toot your own horn. Be proud of the things that you're doing at the office. Show those things to your executive or a manager. Really stand up for yourself in that way, and be sure that people know what you're contributing because it may just be, and I know for me in the past, this has been the case, everything going on around the situation during a transition. I know we transitioned a CEO out of her company once, and it was just a really hard transition, and everybody's minds were focused elsewhere. It's always a good idea to toot your own horn to stand up for yourself and just show what you are contributing to your organization and to your executive as well if that's applicable.
Then also consider a job change. At a certain point, you just have to go, "This is no longer a healthy situation for me. I'm going to find another work situation that will be better." I know I worked one job, actually, I've worked a couple of jobs actually where I just didn't feel like I was going anywhere in the company or that the company was aligned with my values any longer, so I sought employment, and I'm so glad I did. In fact, in a couple of those situations, I actually waited too long. Make sure that you're aware that maybe this situation is no longer good for you, and maybe you need to figure out a new working situation and a new working environment and get clear on what you want that environment to have for you. Get clear on those things that you really want in a good work situation so that you know what to work towards and how to steer your career.
Then you also want to protect, develop, and embrace your confidence. Add mantras to your meditation practice. Mantra's like, "I am an incredible human being, and I contribute a lot to this world," or something of that nature that really resonates with you. Those mantras are just words of affirmation, and words of affirmation can help build your confidence.
Remember who you are or what you're all about and what you're all about. I have this bracelet that says "I can do hard things," and I wear that on days where I'm just feeling like either not as confident as I'd like or unmotivated. I can do hard things, and so can you. That's a phrase that I've really chosen to embrace for me. Feel free to steal it if you'd like.
Then find your value elsewhere. Consider what you could do that would fill you up both at the office and at home. I know for me for a while, volunteering was a big thing for me. I would volunteer at this homeless coffee shop once or twice a week, and that really filled me up. My office actually allowed me to volunteer there, which was even better because we were trying to develop a relationship with this coffee shop. I love that, and I found even in a hard work situation that being able to volunteer about something that I was really passionate about, about a demographic that I'm really passionate about really helped me to move past that feeling of being unseen or unheard at the office.
These are my tips for you guys. I hope it's been helpful. Please leave a comment below, and I look forward to speaking with you all next week.
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