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Nobody Cares How Hard You Work

career advice career coaching career satisfaction careers job design overwork workaholics working too hard May 01, 2023

OK, folks. Time for some tough truths.


Nobody cares how hard you work.


I’m saying this because people often tell me they are frustrated. They work very hard, going above and beyond and putting in extra hours, but then no one notices or seems to appreciate them for it.


I’m not surprised when I hear this. They are right. Hard work frequently goes unappreciated.


I’m not saying that I agree with management not appreciating hard work. That’s not cool, but, unfortunately, it is frequently true.


And the thing is, hard work is not the yardstick that matters to organizations. What organizations really want is results. They want deliverables. They want sales and happy customers. They want money.


A lot of them really don’t care how hard you have to work to get those results. In fact, they may well not want you to work so hard to deliver your results.


The Solution to Overwork

So, here’s what you can do if your hard work goes unappreciated.

1. Analyze the Situation:

Examine why you’re working so hard and determine if there’s something systemic causing you to overwork. Ensure that you’re clear on what’s expected of you and have enough resources to achieve your goals. If not, talk to your boss.


2. Look at Your Own Motivations:

We’re always doing what we choose to do. If you’re working too much, it’s likely because you believe you have to or you may be trying to satisfy an emotional need.

a. Believing You Have To Overwork

Ask yourself why you believe you have to work hard. You may discover that you’re overworking to feel safe or to control your job security. 


But your safety and job security don’t come from working hard. They come from working at a sustainable pace AND achieving results. Overworking is not sustainable, so it is not the answer.


It can jeopardize your health, relationships, and job security. 


b. Seeking External Approval Through Overwork

Many workaholics overwork because they think they will earn approval. But chasing external approval never works. You must give yourself the approval you’re looking for. 


Approval from somewhere is required. If you don’t give it to yourself, then you will absolutely need to seek it externally. 


But that never works, because you can only truly take in external approval when you already have internal approval. Receiving external approval is like the two sides of velcro. The “anchor” of external approval needs the “hook” of internal approval to be accepted.


c.  Challenge Your Environment

So, let’s say you believe you have to overwork to do what’s required of you. You’re sure that it’s not just some impression that you have but an actual requirement. You’ve established what’s required by checking with your boss and looking at your goals. 


If that’s the case, there’s probably some kind of structural problem afoot. You, in fact, do not have the resources (time, personnel, etc.) to complete what’s required without overworking. 


Then you have to challenge the system. That can be very uncomfortable. We don’t want to do it because we fear it will make us look incompetent and weak. 


Pick Your Poison

But you have a choice: be uncomfortable by working too much or be uncomfortable by pushing back and engaging in conversations about the additional support you need to accomplish expectations. After that, the next challenge will be to get uncomfortable by maintaining healthy boundaries and saying no to requests that push you past your reasonable workload.


Hard work doesn’t always lead to appreciation or success. It’s important to analyze your situation and motivations and make changes accordingly. Don’t sacrifice your health or relationships for work, and don’t be afraid to speak to your boss if you need additional resources to achieve your goals.


I’m Dr. Kira Swanson and I’m a Career Satisfaction Coach and Performance Coach for people who feel unfulfilled in their work. Together, we tune into what they really want, find new perspectives, and summon the courage to take bold action to create a deep satisfaction with the working life. Whether it’s striking out on their own, flourishing in their own business, or thriving right where they are, I help my clients to Love Monday.

End the Dread! If you're not loving Monday, let's chat about it. You spend too much time working for it not to meet your needs on multiple levels. It's not just about money. Click here to schedule your free Discovery Session.


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