No Praise at Work? 5 Reasons Why Good Employees Are Ignored

Man with hand on head

A frustrated employee wonders where his praise is. | iStock.com

Are you the “good” employee? Do you perform your job well but receive little back in terms of praise and rewards? If you can’t seem to figure out why you keep getting passed over for raises, promotions, and other perks your co-workers seem to get, the problem could be your behavior (unless you have a boss who just doesn’t like you).

If your boss is ignoring you, workplace expert Lynn Taylor advises not to get caught up in a cycle of worry. “When your manager ignores you, the lack of response can make you fall into a cascade of wasteful worries: Does he or she dislike what I submitted … my work in general? Is my job on the line? What might this mean to my financial stability?” Taylor said in her Psychology Today column.

Instead of getting wrapped up in a ball of anxiety, step back and examine your work interactions. Here are five great reasons you might be getting ignored at work.

1. You wait to be noticed

You can’t do a terrific job and then sit back and wait for someone to take notice. Sometimes, you have to make a little noise, so your co-workers — and more importantly your boss — realize how much you contribute to the team. If you’re a good employee, make a point to toot your own horn once in a while. If you’re worried about being obnoxious, just steer clear of bragging or mentioning accomplishments too often.

When self-promotion is done the right way, it can yield great results for your career and paycheck. In addition, access to opportunities could depend on your ability to promote yourself, said Cynthia Thomas Calvert, president of Workforce 21C.

“The issue of self-promotion is huge because it affects not just advancement and compensation, but also opportunities, mentoring relationships, assignments, and evaluations,” Calvert told Career-Intelligence.com.

2. You’re forgettable

Man with hand on mouth at a computer

Actively engage in the company as a whole, not just your own work. | iStock.com

It’s not enough to just show up and do your job. You have to actively participate to be noticed as a good employee. For example, if you don’t contribute during meetings but opt to sit quietly and take notes, it’s unlikely you’ll be remembered when it’s time for your boss to make decisions about raises and promotions. Make an effort to actively contribute to discussions and come up with new ideas that can help move the company forward. No one will remember a worker who is just doing his or her job. You might think it’s enough to do good work and then go home, but that won’t cut it in the long run. Aim to be actively engaged.

3. You’re too nice

Woman holding red folder

You don’t always have to self-sacrifice. | iStock.com

Do you agree to stay late at a moment’s notice because one of your co-workers has tickets to yet another baseball game? Are you the dependable one all the other team members have come to rely on? Stop playing that role, and learn to say “no” when necessary. It’s important to be assertive if you want to maintain your sanity and avoid burning out.

If you’ve fallen into the “nice girl” or “nice boy” pattern at work, give yourself permission not to be nice. Remember you also have a life outside of work and important things that need to get done. Just because you have been labeled the good employee doesn’t mean you have to be nice to everyone all of the time, regardless of how you’re treated. The good employees get ignored because they’re expected to clean up after everyone else without complaint. Do you really want to be that person? If not, speak up for yourself.

4. You don’t stand up for yourself

gossip at work

Don’t let work bullies get the best of you. | iStock.com/dusanpetkovic

Not everyone will be nice to you at work. There will always be that one person who gets under your skin and tries to make you look bad. If you’re a nice employee, then you likely let that co-worker step all over you and push you around. Or maybe your boss is a bully, and you let him or her get away with it because you’re afraid to lose your job. If you let this behavior continue, no one will take you seriously, and you’ll continue to be ignored.

5. You isolate yourself

Man working on his notebook

Make an effort to get to know your co-workers. | iStock.com/NakoPhotography

You might not be much of a people person, but you should still make an effort to socialize with your co-workers. Accept offers to go out for drinks after work. And even if you have tons of work to do, attend the office birthday and holiday parties. Show you’re interested in the people you work with. This way, when it comes time to recommend people for promotions, your work mates will actually remember who you are.

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