Hard and Risky Work But Unappreciated

A question to Ask theWorkplace Doctors about hard work not being appreciated:

Why some are underappreciated in the workplace for putting in more effort.

I have worked at a nursing home/assisted living facility for over a year and a half. I have been there long enough to see that there are a lot of people, including me, who get taken advantage of. Not to sound full of myself or cocky, but I put in a lot more effort and care a lot more about my job than most people and I am not being treated like I do. I train all the new employees and do all kinds of extra work and I am actually thinking of quitting because the raise I was given was not a reflection of the work I do. I just do not understand how over the last few months, they have let all these amazing employees leave because of their treatment.  Signed–Unappreciated

Dear Unappreciated

You are doing the most difficult, lowest paid, and risky work. Saying God bless you and all those like you who are tending to nursing and assisted living homes simply is not enough. Neither is it enough for me to suggest that each day you should be rewarded with the smiles and words of praise from patients although that is much for which to be grateful. I have shared your question with Jessica Stanley, who was my student for several years. She knows the great challenge caregivers and may someday when she completes her education take a career path administering nursing and assisted living homes.                    

Jessica’s comments on your question provis more empathy than solution, but, I trust they will help you see that you are not alone: “Within my nursing home they cut my position due to low census (residents) were a 99 bed facility with a 68 resident avg due to Covid. We used to sit at 83-88 on an avg. So now I’m filling in for the activity director while she is on leave and I am so stressed, overwhelmed and underplayed doing 6 jobs as one person and no activity assistants, working 40 hours a week and taking 9 credit hours isn’t what I signed up for. I’ve thought of quitting myself, until I met the VP of the company and he said he heard amazing things about me. So that was nice to know higher up corporate that I didn’t even know knew my name are seeing and hearing about my hard work, it’s a reminder to keep working hard and doing all you can do but don’t over do it, you’re one person, don’t stress, it will get better and your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed even if you think it Does. 

I could agree with her, I wish I had an answer myself. Unfortunately within this field, it’s full of overworked and underpaid/appreciated staff. The managers are short staffed and overworked and stressed and it’s a reflection on the other staff and turn over rate. Just have to remember the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and with this pandemic it’s happening all over the place is every assisted living/SNF. Gotta keep your head up!”

Is it fair for some to work so hard and others just slide by? No. So what are your options? You have suggested one–to quit. To vote with your feet and seek a job elsewhere.

A second option is, as Jessica suggests, to continue to do a good job but not to over do it. You are just one person and don’t take on work that others should be doing.

A third option is to request a review of how you are doing by your superintendent. A written and oral meeting with her or him is a time to share the many unnoticed ways you tend to patients and  the tasks that need special attention that you simply don’t have energy or time to do. You can share the sadness you feel for specific patients and the joys you want to bring for those you have come to care for as if they were your own mother and father. 

A fourth option is to raise the matter in a staff meeting. If you don’t have one, you might suggest that your workplace set aside a few minutes a week to discuss how you might work together as a team. Specific questions you might pose are,”How might all of us employees communicate better? What are we doing that deserves applause? What do sports teams do to correct what is not effective? I hear they have regular skull sessions before and after games. 

These are several options you might consider, perhaps talk with your coworkers about them or you might raise them with your supervisor. Let me know if any of them make sense. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.  –William Gorden