Classic Job Problems: Lack of Recognition

Classic Job Problems: Lack of Recognition

This is one of the all time biggest job problems. It infuriates people. Lack of recognition to many is considered an insult, or worse. At least some of the time, it's justified, which aggravates other problems at work. However, getting aggravated solves nothing. You need to deal with it, and start getting some praise for your work, instead.

Defining lack of recognition is also a matter of defining your own expectations. If you expect appreciation for a job well done, fair enough. If you expect applause for doing what you're being paid to do, it's not going to happen.

This is real lack of recognition:

  • A lot of extra work is unacknowledged.
  • High quality work is ignored.
  • Very productive performance is overlooked.
  • Difficult jobs are down valued by management.
  • Expertise is disregarded.
  • Good work ethic and standards are overlooked.

You can see why anyone would get aggravated, particularly if these forms of lack of recognition are repeated regularly. The most common reason for the lack of recognition isn't malice, however. It's sheer lack of understanding. The people supposed to be giving the recognition are often distant from the job itself. Senior management usually doesn't know what's happening a few levels down.

There is such a thing as malicious lack of recognition, professional jealousy, and taking credit for the work of others, but they're comparatively rare. More likely is a scenario where how something was achieved wasn't even mentioned, let alone who did it. So anyone getting aggravated against a perceived personal insult is focusing on a problem that usually doesn't exist.

The real problem is not getting noticed, or not receiving kudos needed for promotion and career credentials. That is definitely a legitimate gripe, and one that has to be addressed. It's not the only problem, though. There are several things to be considered with lack of recognition issues:

  • If lack of recognition is considered normal in the organization, that's very poor management practice. There's a cultural problem that is of no benefit to anyone.
  • If there's a cultural vacuum for staff recognition, that's not the place to be in career terms.
  • Even the references from the employer will be mediocre, or worse, vague.

Getting recognition

Getting recognition is the real issue. You can do this by changing how you approach your work.

Here are some tips:

  • Well written memoranda with your name on them are primary attention getters.
  • cover note as part of a briefing, signed, keeps your name in view.
  • Any job where staff is appointed as part of a team can also assist in getting attention, depending on your stated role.
  • Independent work related to the organization done on your own initiative can get positive attention if done through the right channels. Avoid treading on toes or going over anyone's head if you take this approach.
  • Volunteering for difficult jobs gets recognition.

If these approaches don't work, it's time to move on. The lack of recognition is systemic. Your career can't wait for someone to notice you. Get moving, and find a job where you are appreciated.