We all like to be appreciated, or at least acknowledged, for the work we do. Most times, we do a good job not just for personal satisfaction but also in the hope of a pat on the back. This can be applicable for anyone – the housewife who does the chores at home, the child who does the work in the hope of being recognised and appreciated by his parents, or the employee who does a good job in the hope of being rewarded for the hard work he puts in. However, we’ve all gone through a time when we feel like we’ve been slighted by a neglect for our efforts. Even worse, sometimes other people have taken credit for our work. So, how do we ensure this doesn’t happen so that we don’t feel like we’re being taken for granted?  

The Being Taken For Granted Bug

Wellness coach Ramona Mordecai says, “Let’s talk about the being taken for granted bug – it’s a sort of infection we all counteract at every given point of time. For housewives, this bug bites them each time they do something in and around the family they are nurturing and taking care of. If she likes the house clean, tidy and organised she makes the effort to handle it the way she wants it. But if she isn’t shown gratitude she would be very upset and might even stop doing her core duties. “A working man works hard and brings home the money, but often isn’t shown gratitude for the effort he has put in at work; sometimes even at home. So, what does he naturally do next? Over-perform! And once that happens you will soon be exhausted doing something that came naturally to you once upon a time until, finally, your creativity stunts. Just like when you cook a meal with guests in mind, or when you make a movie with the audience in mind, every effort that a person makes towards a particular situation needs appreciation for continued growth and creativity.” The solution isn’t simple. To begin with, there are two kinds of outcomes – the other person not appreciating your work or the other person taking credit for your work. But with certain changes you can get over this feeling.  

Beating The Bug

For those who don’t get appreciated for their work, and whose work often goes unnoticed, here’s an excerpt from an article in Psychology Today, “Failure to notice changes may be a critical feature of failures to be appreciative. Change-blindness is the failure to notice that things have changed. We think that we are alert to our environment but, in reality, we keep only a vague idea of the world in our heads. So no one notices when you make a change in the house. They can’t see that the dishes have been cleaned and put away, or that the laundry hamper is now empty and drawers are filled with clean underwear.” The best solution to this is to leave the task partially unfinished. When you’ve washed the dishes, leave one or two in the sink or leave them to dry without putting them away. If you’ve taken the trash out, leave the bag visible so that the other people in the house know it’s empty. Mordecai offers us another interesting tactic: “If you end up doing certain chores, include others in the process and ask questions about how they would order and organise. You gain a certain level of independence and an expansion in creativity when you include inputs of others in a situation that you are dealing with.”  

Claim Your Work

For those who find that other people steal credit for their work, it’s a more complex situation, but there are certain ways you can turn it around. A Huffington Post article stresses the importance of going public with your own work and ideas as soon as you’ve thought them through properly. This ensures that it’s less likely that someone can steal credit for your work since quite a few people now know that the work originated from you. Another way to avoid this is to document your work and make sure you mark your ideas to more people than just your boss when you email them. Also, keep some extra information handy with you. So if someone wants more detail, you can pipe in and add to the idea, effectively letting others know that you were the source for them. Or, if you feel that your boss is the listening type, have a heart-to-heart with him about your issues. It might be unpleasant, but it’s better to address the elephant in the room rather than let resentment fester. Just remember to start and end positively. Finally, it’s important to not assume the worst. There are times when your boss will speak in a proprietorial way, but it’s important to remember that it’s just part of how they encompass all aspects of their team when sharing feedback with others. Give your boss the benefit of the doubt but, if it’s been happening too often, address it.


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