Credit Where It’s Due

Tweet1I’ve spent the month of August up to my eyeballs at work.  Normally, my work life is fairly laid back.  By that, I mean that I’m usually out the door by 5, or very soon thereafter.  I don’t have to check my email at night or keep tabs on what’s going on all the time.  It’s a pretty good job in that respect.

However, as I said, I’ve been super busy lately (for me).  Working till 7 or 8 o’clock a few times, doing stuff on the weekends.  I’m not saying this for pity; I know a lot of folks that do this regularly.  It’s just been quite a change for me.

I’ve been working on a project that’s very important to the company.  It’s much bigger than anything I’ve ever worked on before, and I’ve been given a lot of leeway to do things the way I see fit.  As such, I feel a tremendous sense of ownership and a certain amount of pride.

So, when the sum of a month’s effort is rolled into a presentation delivered to the company’s COO and the financials weren’t so much as even questioned, I was a little irritated.  I mean, this was important to me, and it seemed as though no one even realized it was there.  I know I should have been happy that the project was over, and that the business plan was approved, but I couldn’t help wanting a little pat on the back.

So, I posted the tweet you see above when I got back to my desk.  Had a few people make some comments about “keep your head up” and all that, including one by my friend Tim Brownson.

He and I got to tweeting about it, and I confessed that I wasn’t happy that my work wasn’t acknowledged.  He came back with the following, which went immediately into my “Favorites”:


Tim skipped an “o” in “other”, but his message hit me like a ton of bricks.

Aren’t I always griping about my job not being “fulfilling” when I’m not doing something important?  But when I get to do something that I KNOW was quality work, that tested my abilities and proved my value to the company, I find something else to get upset about.  Talk about hard to please, right?

Why do I care if I get applauded?  Shouldn’t grown ups do what they do just because they know they should do it?  If I needed constant affirmation every time I did my job, then I’m kind of missing the point, aren’t I?  Even if you’re one of those people who hates their job (or just feels like you’re a round peg in a square hole, like me), shouldn’t your pride and integrity be enough to motivate you?

Interestingly enough, a few hours after I tweeted about this, the director of the project I had worked on talked to me in front of my boss and told both of us what a good job I did.  Man, did I feel like a tool.

So, from now on, I’m just going to do what I know I’m supposed to do.  I know that one of my big challenges in life is approval seeking, but it helps to be reminded of it every once in a while by someone besides myself, you know?  As long as I can honestly say that I did a good job, and contributed to the success of the team, then that should be okay.  I firmly believe that, if you do a good job, the recognition will come (and it did for me the very same day).

Ever been in a situation where you felt you didn’t get the credit you deserved?  How did you deal with that?  Let us know in the comments…

7 thoughts on “Credit Where It’s Due”

  1. See I actually don't see a problem with wanting to hear a compliment, instead I use this as a reminder to compliment others every chance I get. I know it can make a huge difference for me.

  2. Not being recognized is a way of life for me… at least at work. And I, like you, am sort of an approval junkie. If I don't get approval, it feels like wasted effort. Maybe that's why I blog…

  3. Great story Jason. I've gone through this…as long as I know I've done a killer job, I still have pride in my work and just tell myself that the unappreciative people are stupid. But appreciation is always gravy (unless you're a robot…which is how some corporations make you feel). Usually in corporations, the small fish are WAY smarter and real than the suits anyway. Here's some affirmation for you…you kick major ass, you are one of my heroes.

  4. It's true about being an approval junkie – my weak side I admit.
    What good can be distilled from it? I think that's a good "weakness" to admit at a job interview when asked specifically to list your weaknesses – like: "I crave approval, and I work hard to get it – it wears me down sometimes though".

    I think that instead of fighting it, one can sublime it – set a standard to adhere to, and each time you achieve it, say aloud "I'm proud of myself :)". Any other signs of approval from people around you will be just an added bonus, and unnecessary for you to feel good about yourself.

    One powerful thing about receiving praise is to praise them back – prepare in advance and have sth to praise about everyone – when they praise you for sth you've done, just say "Thank you. You too did an awesome job with the (… ) last week" – it is even better if you can thank them for any help they gave you with your work that led to the object of praise – "Thank you – I appreciate very much your advice about (…) – it really helped me".

    This way you're even and not attached to their praise – it doesn't control you…

  5. I can very much relate to this post, having been brought up by a mom who was so insecure that she was obsessed with what visitors thought about our house, the clothes she, Dad, and I wore, and what grades I got in school because she couldn't brag about me to the rest of the family if they were too low. I think his post relates directly to your Life Design Series in that defining your personal values and then moving towards goals that embody those values is all the affirmation you need. I forget that constantly and it's certainly easier for me to tell folks to ignore others' apathy towards their hard work than it is for me to be OK with apathy regarding MY work, but this post was a useful reminder to do just that and to focus on larger personal goals.

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