How To Know If You're Being Undervalued At Work

A positive work environment is an integral part of a happy and balanced life. Not everyone adores every single aspect of their job, of course. But working somewhere you absolutely despise can have several negative effects on your overall health and well-being by leading to adverse mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, burnout, and low self-esteem (via Dive Thru). When your workplace is toxic, you might also experience the inability to fall asleep, severe cases of the Sunday Scaries that make you dread the work week, and even an inclination towards substance abuse.

A variety of factors can lead to negative workplace culture, even while doing a job that you would otherwise enjoy. According to Career Contessa, common signs of a toxic workplace include bad leadership, unmotivated co-workers, zero work-life balance, high employee turnover, and little forward movement. Other signs that your work environment is starting to become toxic for you, even if you once loved it, are you constantly being unnoticed, unappreciated, and undervalued in your career. While having occasional bad days or weeks is a normal part of the work cycle, recurring negative experiences usually signify a greater problem. Once you have identified that you are being undervalued at work, you can begin to take action to deal with the issue. 

Signs your workplace doesn't value you

There are some clear signs that may suggest you aren't valued at work. Ivy Exec explains that one of the most common is not being paid fairly. If you're doing the same work as another person but being paid less, or feel that your pay pales in comparison to the amount of work you're doing, it could be that your employer doesn't value you. You might also notice behavior around the office that belittles and disrespects you. This can include people dismissing your ideas, speaking over you in meetings, and declining to praise you but constantly criticizing you in non-constructive ways (via Empower Work). When you're not valued at work, you may also be assigned tasks that nobody else wants to do and even have other people's responsibilities dumped on you.

Those who are undervalued in the workplace also tend to experience a lack of autonomy (via Camden Kelly). In other words, your superiors might not trust you to complete tasks without micromanaging every step of the process. Another sign that you're not valued is frequently being passed over for promotions and raises. If you are always working hard and completing tasks to a high standard without receiving rewards for that contribution, it's likely that your boss doesn't value your presence in the workplace. If this sounds like your situation, there are things you can do.

What to do if you're undervalued at work

Speaking to Huff Post, Anyelis Cordero, founder of career coaching service Propel on Purpose Coaching, says you should speak up if you suspect you're not valued at work: "You owe it to your mental health to advocate for yourself."

If you don't know how to approach your boss, you could start the conversation by asking for feedback (via Bright Space Coaching). If there is an underlying reason why you haven't achieved the growth you desire, seeking feedback can give you a chance to improve if needed. Also try keeping track of all your achievements at work, including examples of positive feedback from clients or customers. Making a list of everything you have accomplished can help boost your confidence if being undervalued is eroding your self-esteem, and can also serve as evidence when you do raise the issue.

A lot of the time, speaking up will prompt your superiors to stop overlooking you. However, in some cases, you might continue to be undervalued even after voicing your feelings. Forbes recommends considering changing jobs when this happens. You can't fulfill your potential and advance professionally in a toxic workplace that doesn't value your presence, so it may be best to consider an alternative path.

It can be daunting to speak up about being undervalued. But when you work hard and contribute to your workplace, never feel guilty for seeking out the recognition you deserve.