It’s appraisal (sorry, “self-development meeting”) time at work and after all the conversations at work about filling out forms listing our good qualities, goals and achievements, it’s got me thinking about the people out there who go unnoticed. I don’t know if it is the British thing of underplaying our talents and feigning bashfulness, but it just seems to me a waste of time and something that is holding so many incredible people from getting the recognition and rewards they deserve for their hard work.
I’m talking about those quite individuals who put in countless extra hours, taken on ridiculous workloads and never get the credit for it because they just brush it under the carpet and fail to point out what they are doing to their superiors. This is great for a while, but soon this extra work and time becomes expected of you and if, or when, you leave the company they will suddenly be in dire straights because they never realised quite how much you contributed. Sound familiar? Yeah, it does to me as well.
I’ve been this person who gives extra time and effort to a job and have seen how it can go completely unnoticed. I have had friends who have taken on three times their workload when people have suddenly left and have been expected to continue working like this to save the company hiring more staff. It is not fair – but is the company really to blame?
Of course, the company has a duty to its staff to make sure they are happy and that they are getting the support they need in order to work, but if we never speak up how are they supposed to know? How will our bosses ever realise our true workload and the fact that we are struggling to keep up with it, the fact that we have given up on a social life? The short answer is – they don’t!
The problem is that so many people out there take all this extra work on and although complaining to friends, family and co-workers about it, they never complain or raise their concerns to the people who can actually do something about it! Are we scared to say to our bosses that we do work bloody hard and to list all the extra jobs we take on? Why don’t we say that we deserve more money or more recognition for what we do? And why is it so hard to say when you are overworked and need to lighten your workload?
I guess it’s something to do with fear of failure or worries over what the response might be – especially in the current climate where people are being made redundant and losing their jobs all the time. But this doesn’t mean it is right. I have so many friends who drastically undersell themselves through lack of confidence or just not knowing how to go about it. It is important when you have a meeting with your boss, when writing that CV or in interviews to make sure you sell them the very best version of yourself and to blow your own trumpet because in this world, no-one else is going to do it for you!
I’ve always been a firm believer in being aware of your talents and your skills and making others aware by showing them off. Now for those who are getting nervous – I don’t mean showing off by boasting, I mean making it clear what you are capable of and what you are able to take on. Remember you are the only person who is holding you back!
Here are my top tips for showing what you’re worth:
- If you have no idea where to start, ask a friend/colleague (or your mum) to point out all the things you contribute to the workplace and your particular talents.
- Make a list of these and practise explaining them to friends and family so that you feel confident saying it to your boss.
- Keep your CV up-to-date even when you are in full-time work and make sure to add any skills, first aid courses, management courses etc.
- When you take on extra work that doesn’t come within your job description, make sure to point it out or keep a list for when you next have a meeting with your boss.
- Remember the importance of spinning things to your advantage. You could have “sent a few Tweets” or “handled the company’s social media outlets”. Don’t downplay and realise how things sound to both your boss and future employers.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more money or a new job title – if you can lay out all the extra work you do and justify a pay rise to your boss, you are perfectly entitled to ask. You might not get it, but you will make your boss aware of your workload and that you deserve more.