There are wide-ranging signs that you might be undervalued at work, which are not always easy to pick up on. When you feel undervalued at work, chances are you will feel discontent, which, over time, can take a toll on your well-being.
According to experts, it takes a high level of emotional intelligence to pick up on the early warning signs that your employer is undervaluing you, mostly because the pattern starts out rather subtle.
Here are five warning signs to look out for:
1. YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ARE INVISIBLE, AND NO ONE REALLY TAKES YOU SERIOUSLY.
Have you ever been in a team meeting and felt your perspective was being rejected or eclipsed by other people’s opinions? That is a sure sign that you are undervalued.
When you increasingly feel as if your thoughts are being discounted or others are passing off your ideas as their own, look inward and determine whether or not you are clearly communicating your ideas. If you believe you are communicating clearly, ask follow-up questions in order to determine why your ideas are being overlooked.
Be sure to approach those follow-up questions without attacking or becoming defensive. Ask questions like, “Would you help me to understand where I went wrong in my thinking?”
2. YOU’VE COMPLETELY CHECKED OUT AT WORK.
A common symptom of being an undervalued employee is feeling disengaged.
Whether in our personal or professional lives, we all want to feel like we are valued, connected, and heard. According to experts, when we can’t get that, we tend to become disengaged, and we essentially check out.
If you feel checked out, you’ll want to reflect on whether or not it stems from a feeling that you are unappreciated or undervalued.
3. YOU’RE DOING ALL THE GRUNT WORK.
Do you continually get stuck with thankless tasks that are not part of your job description, like making coffee or taking notes in staff meetings? If so, you are probably undervalued and underutilized at work. The problem becomes compounded when those around you get the exciting and challenging assignments you can easily handle.
Before agreeing to take on another menial task, think about your priorities because there comes a point when doing jobs that are beneath your level of training will make your job incredibly dissatisfying.
To counteract this, pay attention to the people who matter in the office and volunteer for job responsibilities that align more with your expertise. Speak up when you have the opportunity. If you are ignored, and your situation doesn’t change, it may be a sign that you should seek employment elsewhere.
4. YOU ARE BEING MICROMANAGED.
When you have no autonomy and are constantly being micromanaged, it can be a major sign that you are undervalued. Basically, your employer doesn’t trust in you and your abilities to allow you any autonomy, which can get old fast.
One way to counteract a boss constantly monitoring rather than managing is to suggest a new way to report to them, couched as a short-term experiment. Experts say that framing such an idea as a short-term experiment will make them more open to it.
For example, say, “I know this deadline is important to you, but your repeated check-ins are distracting me from this work; maybe we can try this instead…”
5. YOU DO GREAT WORK, BUT YOU ARE UNDERPAID.
Unsurprisingly, your salary is a critical indicator of how well you are valued or how undervalued you are at work. If you constantly receive accolades and positive feedback, but your pay raises and performance reviews tell a different story, it may be a sign that you are undervalued.
The bottom line is that undervalued people are usually more likely to be the ones who are underpaid.
If you suspect you deserve a raise or promotion, gather data regarding appropriate salary ranges with online tools such as Glassdoor and discuss the issue with a trusted co-worker. Once you’ve done your research, approach your supervisor.
IF ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU, HERE’S WHAT CAN BE DONE.
At the end of the day, if you resonate with anything outlined in this article, talk to your employer. Accepting the status quo while you feel undervalued and your potential continues to be wasted will only lead to misery in the workplace.
Unfortunately, many employees simply sulk or privately complain about the issue and never take action. However, you owe it to your career growth and mental health to advocate on your own behalf. If that isn’t enough of a reason to take action, consider how much money you are losing by working for an employer who continually undervalues you and the skills you bring to the workplace.
Experts say that being undervalued has significant financial implications. If you are undervalued in the workplace, your skills are likely underdeveloped, and you are more than likely underpaid.