Are You Being Undervalued in the Workplace?

November 22, 2021

Work is so much more than just work. It is the place—whether virtual or in-person—where the majority of the day is spent and is also the place where you can flex your creative and intellectual muscles. For many Americans, work allows us to showcase our talent, expertise, and ambition for getting things done. But imagine earning all the degrees you’ve been told you need to succeed, yet you still feel overworked, underappreciated, and underpaid. If you can relate, there may come a time in your life where you need to determine if your current career path is still working for you. You may have accepted a position because of the pay or because it was a passion but if you no longer feel value or satisfaction, then it may be time to reassess.


A third of American workers feel undervalued at work. They have cited a lack of growth opportunity, dissatisfaction with pay or benefits, and some simply feel stuck in their position. The interesting part is that most people undervalue themselves because they have been told to play their part or not get ahead of themselves in the workplace. It’s no secret that professional levels and positions play roles in contributing to the self-doubt and nervousness that people feel at work. Some workers are inclined to shy away from standing out rather than face disappointment because their efforts aren’t appreciated. It’s troubling, but these are some contributing factors that workers face when undervaluing themselves, leading them to artificially constrain their own career and personal growth.


Feeling undervalued can take a toll on a person’s self-esteem and can be difficult to bounce back from when there isn’t a concrete reason to do so; it’s easy to fall into a rut at that stage but whatever you do, don’t douse your growth flames!


Don’t take it personally, take it seriously. It may be hard but don’t take everything as a personal attack. Managers and colleagues are affected by life’s curveballs and challenges like everyone else and they may quietly notice your effort, or they may unintentionally disregard it. If you know you’re performing your work well, don’t feel targeted. All that may be missing is a conversation.


Talk it out. Have an intentional conversation with your manager and express how you feel. Priorities change constantly in the workplace as do the results they desire from employees. Getting clarification can only help the situation, especially when it comes to understating the types of outcomes the company is seeking. Don’t throw blame or compare yourself to your colleagues because you are the focus.


Validate yourself. Reflect on what you do well and don’t wait for motivation to come from somewhere outside of yourself. Your desire to succeed can only come from within. Lean in on your skill set, experience, and personal qualities and focus on finding real meaning in what you do because if you don’t have meaning, it may be time to move on.


If all else fails, move on. Don’t hold yourself hostage in a hamster wheel. Allow yourself and your ambitions to evolve. Maybe you’ve tried everything or it’s just too much to take…hell, maybe you’ve just decided that it is time for real change. Whatever the case, you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take so if feeling undervalued has led you to want to move on, protect your peace and discover better and brighter things.


Remember, your job title doesn’t determine your monetary value. Sure, your salary may be capped at a certain amount due to budget but don’t hold yourself back from exploring more. No one will value you any higher than you value yourself.