The Truth About Feeling Under-Valued at Work

If you're not feeling valued at work, you're not valuing yourself.

I've never seen an exception.

This isn't to say that your employer also isn't paying you under-market, for instance.

Or paying you less than someone who is doing the same job (and not even as well as you).

It's just that if you're experiencing the world as not valuing you...

I recommend starting with you.

Again, I'm not saying there's no such thing as inequity or abusive behavior. (Obviously, there is.)

I *am* saying that it's effective and free to start with you.

It's applied personal responsibility. Take any situation where you're not feeling valued and ask,

How am I not valuing myself here?

If you reject something as simple as that, it could be the complexity bias at work. It really can be this straightforward.

Under-valuing yourself can look like:

• not taking care of your basic needs

• putting up with rude behavior from customers or colleagues

• staying silent on something that matters to you

• not asking for the resources you need to do your job well

• not valuing your actual work

No judgment. It's so human to under-value yourself. There are reasons why people (myself included) have stayed silent about things that were disrespectful, for instance.

Everyone is just doing what they feel they need to do. Sometimes, people

*very consciously*

do things that feel devaluing. Like going through a fraternity hazing or a medical residency.

Neither of those outcomes are worth the process, for me, but it's worth it to many people.

It's just that often, we're doing things unconsciously.

~12 years ago, I ran the education programming for a nonprofit.

I felt under-valued...especially when it came to being so available to my boss.

It seemed like she always expected me to be available for calls outside of my (already long) working hours.

I accidentally dropped 3 cell phones into the toilet during my first spring in that job.

All three of those occasions were during a time of day where she was likely to call.

Luckily, these weren't the iPhone days, but still...the pattern was an inconvenient, unconscious rebellion against my boss' calls

...that came from not valuing myself.

Once I started valuing myself more in that role, I stopped being so available to my boss outside of work (and I've never again had a cell phone slip out of my pocket and into a toilet).

When you value yourself more, you engage in less BS, which increases your confidence and frees up energy for you to do more of what you actually want.

In my clients, it looks like quitting jobs, starting businesses, making big pivots, getting raises, redesigning their departments, saying no to things, and starting new, better roles.

As always, if you want to explore working together, you can set up a free exploratory call with me here.



Emma Garrett is an Executive Career Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life. Ready to start doing things differently? Consider scheduling a free call to share your situation and goals or checking out the resources at