Feeling Under-appreciated & Undervalued
Itís time to value yourself when those around you arenít the best at showing their appreciation.
Youíll always remember your first real "grown up" job. Like any first in life, itís pretty memorable.
Was it a good work setting? Did you feel valued? Appreciated? Or did your efforts go unnoticed or worse were they put down? Belittled?
I always enjoyed working at a large stockbroking firm during my summer vacations. I felt grown up, working in a corporate atmosphere, my first real exposure to the real world.
When I look back at my work experience at the stockbroking firm, I have mainly good memories. For the most part, I felt appreciated and valued, especially by my direct superiors.
However, after my third summer at the firm, when it became clear that I would need everything I could get in order to put myself through college, when I asked for a raise from the owner of the multimillion dollar securities firm and was offered an increase by only five cents, I decided that my time would be better spent elsewhere.
Looking back I sometimes ask myself, did I make the right decision by leaving the firm? The culture was good, the co-workers were pleasant, and the commute was decent. I probably could have stayed and perhaps pursued a career in finance or investment planning and done really well.
The shame of standing before the wealthy owner of the firm, asking for a raise in order to further my education, only to be offered 5 cents, was enough to stop my potential career in its tracks, however.
Was it ego? Perhaps. Pride? Probably.
As a marketing consultant to my husbandís marriage and relationship counseling practice, I now realize that what got me packing my private comfortable office and walking out those double glass doors was a feeling of being under-appreciated. Itís the same feeling that causes spouses to leave each other. When people feel under-appreciated and unnoticed they in turn feel depleted, put down, and like they would be worth more to someone else.
And itís a real shame, because their "digs" might be really comfortable, like my fancy stockbroking office was.
If youíre in a relationship or employment situation and you feel undervalued or unappreciated, should you leave? You can, but there are probably many reasons that would be good to stay.
I think, like me, people are often too quick to give up their job or their relationships if they feel like theyíre not getting what they are worth. I know now that I could have done a better job communicating what my needs were, or perhaps getting help from someone else, a third-party like HR, that could have gone to my boss on my behalf, explaining that college was on my horizon and thatíd Iíd proven to be a dutiful employee for over three years, with measurable results to my performance.
I donít think they would have hesitated for a moment! While the boss never praised me publicly and was pretty conservative with speaking words of praise, there were many others in the firm who valued my work and were very verbal about it. Would it have been uncomfortable to stay the course and stretch to go to bat for myself? Yes. But worth it to stay? Probably. Hindsight is 20/20.
Itís unfortunate that there are still company cultures that devalue their employees, creating hoops for their staff to have to go through, only to be left feeling like they are getting nowhere, kind of like a hamster on a wheel. Itís even more unfortunate if youíre living in a marriage where you feel unappreciated because the ramifications of leaving are so much scarieróitís your marriage, for gosh sakes.
What I know now is that self-worth can be intrinsic. It need not be dependent on whether those around you express or donít express appreciation in a marriage, at work or as parents.
We can honor and value ourselves by doing whatever it takes for us to feel nurtured, even if those around us arenít good about showing their appreciation. We all have love languages, things that fill up our cup when we are depleted, and you may need to give yourself permission to do those things. That might mean going to the spa or going out to eat, or even going to a professional counselor. Fill up your cup and thereís no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater, because youíre worth it.
Rivka Slatkin is Marketing Director at The Marriage Restoration Project, a global initiative that she founded along with her husband Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC, to keep couples and families together and happy! Discover how The Marriage Restoration Project can help you by visiting www.TheMarriageRestorationProject.com.