Not Appreciated In Spite Of Hard Work

Question to Ask the  Workplace Doctors about disrespect in spite of accomplishments:

I joined this company few years back as a single resource in one of the technologies. We were a team of 7 people but I was working alone in my field. When I joined it, the project was in a very bad condition, but with all my hard work and commitment I brought it in a good position and I got acknowledgements from my clients. I traveled a lot, stayed late nights and got several new processes implemented for the benefit of the project.

In due course of time I got my first on-site opportunity and traveled out of the country for an assignment. When I returned from the on-site assignment I noticed that my co-worker’s behavior towards me changed all of a sudden. They started gossiping about me, started speaking in a sarcastic tone and made remarks. I was stressed and upset.I spoke to my manager about it, but to my surprise he didn’t support me at all and said that I should pay more attention to my work!

I was expecting a promotion for the good work I have done, but instead of promoting me, my manager got a senior resource to head up the project, which stopped all my chances of promotion.This new person is even more difficult to deal with than my manager is. He does not take any responsibility and just wants me to do all the work. I don’t understand why this person was brought into the picture when I have to do the entire job.

The project which I treated as my baby, is no longer mine. I am just asked to follow instructions even though I know that those instructions are meaningless. I am really upset by all this. What should I do? I don’t want to leave the company because I am getting a good pay here, my client still appreciates me and is also near to my house. But, I also want to be treated with respect and dignity.

Signed, Hurt and Angry

Dear Hurt and Angry:

One of the biggest frustrations at work is feeling that you have worked hard only to find out that your hard work seems to go unnoticed and unappreciated. It’s even worse when someone else seems to get the benefits. So, I can understand your frustration and hurt about it.There are probably several things contributing to the situation.*I suspect there is some jealousy on the part of your coworkers about your chance to go on-site, which they may wish they could have done.

*It could be that you have seemed to them to be taking credit for saving a project when they feel they have worked hard as well.

*Your manager may feel caught in the middle and resents that you seem to not be part of the rest of the team.

*Your treatment of the project as your baby may have been seen as being territorial. Or, it may be that your manager thought you were too focused on the one thing and there was other work you could do. (I don’t know the nature of your job so that may or may not apply.)

*Your manager and your team may feel that all you do is focused on you and your project to the exclusion of anyone else. There may be a perception that you are building your career at their expense.

*In spite of the fact that you were working late and felt you were working hard to do your job, it may be that your manager doesn’t agree that your job was being done correctly. He said you need to pay more attention to it. It could be you are in error about what was wanted from you and what you did.

*I think, from your email address, that you live and work in a country other than the U.S., so the work culture there may have an impact on the situation as well.Not all of those issues may be part of this, but you can bet many of them are. It would be worthwhile for you to consider when things started going wrong, when was it going right, who were formerly your allies who are not now, who-besides customers–have benefited from your work.

Considering those things might help you in the future and might help you fix some things now. You want to stay working there for several good reasons, so what can you do to improve the situation? Consider some of these thoughts, which you can adapt:

1. Keep lines of communication open between you and your manager. He may or may not feel positively about you right now–or ever–but he has decision-making authority and enough influence to make a difference in your work life.If he sees that you are continuing to work and contribute and that you handle this situation, which seems like a “put-down”, in a professional way, he may decide he was unjust or at least that he reacted too strongly. Also, give him a chance to advise you, whether you feel good about him or not. It won’t hurt to have him share his perspectives of what you can do to get back on track from his viewpoint. If you don’t know already, listen to him talk to you and others to find out what he values and incorporate as much of that as possible into your work.

2. Keep lines of communication open between you and coworkers. They may have been poor contributors in the past and resent that you showed them up. Or, they may have felt they were working hard when you arrived and you have ignored their efforts. Whatever the reality, you should at least ensure that you exchange smiling greetings, respond to them appropriately and make yourself part of the team.If someone says something very inappropriate or discourteous, ask them directly about it. “What do you mean?” “Why are you using that tone with me?” “Are you angry about something?”I don’t agree with the “ignore it” philosophy, but I don’t think a person has to confront in a mean way over every little thing either. Just consider each situation and decide what is tolerable and what is not.When there is unpleasantness, it is very easy to shut yourself off to the point that a big barrier develops that can never be removed. Don’t let them do that to you and don’t do that to yourself. You will probably never be close friends with the group, but you may find one or two with which you can establish a friendly working relationship.If you already have a good relationship with some of the people you work with, build on that to ensure that you are a strong component in the overall work environment.

3. Keep lines of communication open and strong with the senior resource. He may be doing what he has been told to do–which is essentially to provide oversight for you. That hurts, I know, but it seems to be the truth of the situation.

4. Remember that this is temporary. You don’t know how long it will last, but it won’t last forever. Either there will be changes or you will find other ways to achieve your goals.

5. Focus on your work and continue to do it well and with a cheerful frame of mind. You were happy doing the work before and that work hasn’t changed, apparently. Think of it as time for gaining influence that transcends this one situation. I often mention the three steps for gaining influence: 1.) Be credible. 2.) Be valuable. 3.) Communicate personally and effectively. Be the kind of employee who contributes to the whole team and to specific tasks, that it is impossible to deny your value and credibility. Communicating effectively and being clear about what you’re supposed to achieve can help make that happen. Probably nothing is going to make the current situation more satisfactory to you. But, at least you have a good work foundation and if you can hold on you will be better able to move forward. Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.