Thursday, October 21, 2010

Feeling Valued

I believe there are telling moments in a relationship, where you realize your value.

I remember on my 5th wedding anniversary, when my husband treated it as an after-thought, I felt very unvalued.

Gentleman Jack reminds me often how valuable I am to him. This weekend, for instance, when he emotionally expressed that I was as precious and rare as the oxblood lily that appears in his yard every fall.

I understand that much of these feelings and expressions of value must concur with my love language. Otherwise, I may not recognize them. Thankfully, I hear Jack loud and clear!

Unfortunately, one of those "telling moments" happened at work recently.

***

I work for a really small company of 10 people. We have a lot of fun and are very much like a family. Just as with family, however, people do get their feelings hurt, fights are fought, some get along better than others, decisions are taken personally.

It has been quite a new experience for me these past 3 1/2 years. Prior to this job and a few part time jobs while I was a stay-at-home mom, I only worked for extremely large corporations. I wasn't used to this.

When I started working here, I'd only been separated from my ex-husband for 6 months. I was feeling very undesirable, lost and unvalued. I NEEDED a job and this one seemed perfect for me at the time.

*Like attracts like.*

I KNOW that my job is a valuable position. I understand that no one else does what I do. I realize that I am making a difference.

I'm not feeling it from everyone else though. There are a few, who realize the contribution I make. Others... not so much.

Like, for instance, the person who decided that everyone in the company PLUS their spouses PLUS the older teenage children of these employees would get an upgraded 4G phone. And I, sadly, wasn't even offered one.

As a matter of fact, I was told well over a year ago, to get my own plan and get off the company's phone plan because they were cutting back and I didn't use my phone for much business use anyway. So, I went on a really cheap plan with a really cheap phone.

This, my friends, was like a kick in the head.

***

I don't really have a job title. I do.... well.... everything. When they told me I'd 'wear many hats', they weren't kidding.

The guys jokingly refer to me as their 'office wife'.

I take care of them. I even take care of the other female in the office. It is almost like being married. Some appreciate it. Others take it for granted.

And lately I've been feeling uninspired.

They're asking for more. Always asking for more. Without any more compensation. Without any more respect. Without any more value.

I've been going along with it, all this time. The girl they hired is different than who I am now, though. I'm starting to resent it. Starting to resist wanting to work there anymore, despite the lenient hours, fun happy hours, silly days and good things I like about my job. I'm feeling undervalued and taken advantage of.

As my Gentleman pointed out to me recently: Unless you vehemently say 'no', silence or any other non-answer always means 'yes'.


I suppose, just as with my marriage, I have a choice here:

  • I can say no, much more often. I can begin to put down boundaries and learn to see MY OWN VALUE in my job and what I provide to this company. I can get angry, decide that I want to face these issues and show them my worth.
  • Or I can simply find another job with the things I love about my current one PLUS added value and compensation.

Divorce is a little more devastating than leaving a company. Just sayin'...


"In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way."
~Yoda

13 comments:

  1. *wink* My email was perfect timing! You are valued by me!!! I am learning to let people know when I appreciate them. It feels good from both sides.
    On another note, it sounds like we have the same job in the same company. You sure you don't live in CO?

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  2. I feel like this T!

    I have just been given a team of 3 to manage - no offer an increase or any other sort of benefit!

    It sucks!

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  3. Oooh, this post gets me riled up! That's because I know first hand how smart, intuitive, hands-on, and amazing you are!! You have SO much value and deserve to be recognized.

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  4. Here was your first listed choice: "I can say no, much more often. I can begin to put down boundaries and learn to see MY OWN VALUE in my job and what I provide to this company. I can get angry, decide that I want to face these issues and show them my worth."

    There is another choice: Say no more often. Put down boundaries and learn to see your value. But do not do it with anger. Do it in a way that allows the decision makers to remember/realize your value. All too often I think empoyees reach the end of their rope and make a decision without trying for a mutually beneficial solution. It still may be time to look for a job that is a better fit for who you are now, but you can do it on your terms. And without anger.

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  5. I can relate to your post very much. I changed jobs around the time of my divorce which made things even harder. I had been there for 15 years and after some interpersonal things that happened I was asked to quit. I couldnt believe after 15 years it comes down to this? The first year after my ex filed I was at first mostly non-functional. I had taken time off work (actually quit and was rehired, hence their control in forcing me to quit. I was considered a new employee again) and because my position was still vacant went back to it. Well I had a conflict with someone that my manager never got over. Thats the short version. Anyway, I found myself losing my husband and my job that I loved. It made for a very difficult year. Thanksfully, I did finally get another position with benefits. We were a year without insurance. I had my fingers crossed the whole time! Not really..I truly prayed constantly. Anyway, I think when you are going through a divorce you are raw and vulnerable making everything else you face much harder. I still miss my job and my friends there. I still miss my husband - at least the guy I once knew.

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  6. Ugh, that is SO maddening. Pisses me off for you! I'm feeling the same at mine, needless to say. It leads to lack of inspiration, for sure...xo hang in there.

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  7. Hi T,
    I've only worked a small percentage of my life for other companies. Having always worked for my family or myself but I can relate to some of the things you've mentioned. When I do a job, I do it as if I were doing it for myself or a dear friend. I always do the extra things, hate charging full rate and often give people discounts because it feels good to help out. Sometimes, it would be nice to hear a "ATABOY" or something. Today, I presented a bill to a client and they added an extra 100.00 because they liked my work. That FEELS GOOD ! It goes the same way in a relationship. With my ex, I never did enough... A show of appreciation goes a LONG WAY... I try to do that for people because I know that it feels good for me.

    Your friend,
    KC

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  8. Because you've been through divorce, T, you know that you are strong. You know that you are worthy of good things (even if you don't always remember it). Whatever you decide, if you search your heart, you won't go wrong.

    *hugs*

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  9. The key is for you to believe and feel your value and not to allow yourself to feel devalued by others. Perception is key.

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  10. I have a lot of the same feelings at work. In the seven and a half years I have been working at my job, I have greatly expanded my job responsibilities. I get my work done in a timely manner and never ask for assistance. But I know that I am definitely taken for granted. Others in our department have gotten pay raises. I haven't had one in 18 months. I even talked with our HR representative about reevaluating my job description but nothing ever came of that. I sometimes feel like leaving but, with today's economy, there are many positions for me. One of my other problems is that there is no one in my life to give me the encouragement that Rascal and your daughters give you. The only companion I've had in my cat and I had to put him to sleep two weeks ago because he had cancer. That's all for now. Thank you so much for your blog. It means a great deal to me.

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  11. I'm going through an identical situation at work. And I have to tell you, that's why I'm working on being self-employed. I know what I'm worth. You do, too.

    Thinking of you.

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  12. Feeling valued. This is huge, and I think more so for women because our caretaking role is assumed in this culture. (In every culture?)

    Feeling valued is critical in a relationship. And just as critical with your kids. And certainly, in your work situation.

    But let me say from experience - while the "independent" (or self-employed) route may sound like the way to beat the office wife syndrome, it comes with a whole set of headaches of its own. And being valued remains one of them.

    I think it's a fight we wage in different ways, throughout our lives.

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  13. Divorce is awful but work is, for me at least, just a way of putting the food on the table that feeds my kids. I don't really enjoy it but it is a necessary evil - without it I can't enjoy the other parts of my life so much!

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