by Christopher Paul on January 21, 2006

Cue sad Charlie Brown music…


I’m feeling unappreciated right now and really stings.

My major project at work is ending very soon and I’m in the middle of making sure things go well. Knock on wood, Its going very well. The only hitches that really matter will be dealt with on Monday and the effect minimized because of backup technology. The construction looks good albeit with some temporary desk space. The HVAC is working really well. And the computer systems are, again so far, working perfectly – even better than before, actually.

In the two weeks leading up to the plan’s execution, I’ve been working what feels like non-stop. I’ve been coming in around 8 or 8:30 and leaving between 8 and 9 most weekdays. This past Friday, I came in at 8 and worked until 1am Saturday morning only to show up again at 8am that same day. I’ll be here late tonight and back early Sunday morning too. And if I need to be here, I’ll be working late on Sunday night and be back very early on Monday. I’m exhausted.

I’m so tired that I almost want to give up for the day and go home even though I’ve got so much to do. Thankfully, what has to be done isn’t big. Unfortunately, its the little things that count and right now, I can’t count how many little things I need to do. I actually feel like I’m drowning in details. I don’t feel overwhelmed, though, because even these details aren’t hard to do or remember – I don’t even have to do most of them. But those I do have to tend to are going to me brought on – and met – by people who I can’t say really appreciate what I am doing – what I’m doing for them, the company, and all the other hard working people who have an interest in this project.

Already, I’m being asked to tackle little problems that aren’t technical (which is my expertise). And while I’m going to tackle them because without them the project won’t be a total success, I’m being asked to do these things more than once and I’m also repeating myself when I give them the timeline to resolution. Making things harder to deal with is that there are lots of little technical things I also have to worry about added to many important things I have deal with. Again, they need to tell me these things and I have, want, and will address them but I have to prioritize and their small concerns pile up and become larger than the important ones. Plus, they tell me things when while I’m orchestrating other teams of people so that things happen smoothly. And yet, most of these small things are personal wants. I want this, and I want that. It makes for a very hard day.

But I can manage all of that well enough to not let it get to me in the long term. Everyone wants this to be a success and they feel that brining these things to my attention will help. I’m sure they are being helpful in some ways – selfish in others – but even if someone said, “I want my this to go there” I’d be fine with that – it will make that person feel better about a nervous time and if it helps make the world a better place, I’ll do it for sure.

But what I can’t seem to get over is this nagging feeling that my work is not appreciated – or worse, I’m not appreciated. Leading up to the project’s completion, I had to sit with my bosses and assign seats. I thought I would be getting an office like all the other officers in the company but I’m not. Instead, I’m in a corner furthest away from everyone. When given this assignment, people thought I’d be closest to the people of importance and I’d be able to rush over to them if something were to go wrong. Its a noble idea but I’m so far away that I can’t hear what is going on and I can’t see much better either. If I was in the office I used to occupy while the beginning work was being done, I’d be right next to the important people and have a better view of what’s going on. But location aside, its the implied message it delivers.

First, I mentioned that I’m the only officer NOT to have an office. In fact, visitors get an office before I do. I’m singled out that way. Why am I not at least equal enough to at least get the visitors office? Now, I will certainly admit that there are some people who can contribute more to an organization than others and they should be rewarded. But do that privately with compensation instead of a public display. I feel like less of a person that way; branded even.

Second, I’m all the way back in a corner and I feel like I’m being punished. Its like I was a kid again and my mom sent me there for a time out! I’m all alone there – no one around me – and I just sit there doing my thing and waiting for someone to summon me over to help them out. If I was in the office I mentioned, I’d be in front of almost everyone – especially the ones I like and am the friendliest with. I’d be closer to executive management and guests who come to visit; I’d be more visible. Now, I feel abandoned and rejected. I feel as if they don’t want me around.

The most hurtful thing, however, is not what they do with my seating location. Its what they don’t do that dejects me the most. They don’t say ‘Thank You’ or ”I/we really appreciate you and your efforts.’ I’ve heard keep up the hard work before and occasionally hear the ‘we think you’re doing a great job’ but its never said in that appreciative way; its more like the political nicety way that office people say to cloak true feelings about someone. Its almost has a hint of a lie or something that’s not very positive or supportive. There are a lot of things that could have gone wrong with this project and I don’t think I’ll hear anyone say that I handled such-and-such perfectly.

What I will hear is, “This Sucks!” I’ll hear it over and over again. I’ll also hear uh-oh, fuck, shit, goddamn it, why isn’t this working, where’s my [insert object here], and dozens of “THIS FUCKING SUCKS!” all day before I even hear one good thing. And after all that, when things work out and the project is completed, I’m not going to hear, “C.G.Blogs, you did a great job! You really out did yourself this time. We can’t thank you enough for all the long hours, stressful weeks, lost sleep, countless back and forth, and dedication to the team. Congratulations on a job well done.” I won’t get to take a day off during the week to rest and relax; I’ll be asked to start the next project that seemed to have started before I finished this one.

Do I sound bitter? Well, I am to a degree. I want to feel appreciated. I appreciate it when someone complements me and I go out of my way to thank people who are working hard for me. I feel I deserve some gratitude when I do a good job (and I think I am doing a good job) so, of course I get a little bitter when I don’t. And I also am upset about the office thing and that adds a little bitterness to it, too. But I’m not angry.

I’m not going to quit. I’m not going to complain (openly, that is – only to my wife and blog readers). I’m not going to do any less of a job than I would otherwise. And I’m not going to let any of this make me who I am. I am going to lead by example and thank everyone I possibly can for their dedication and hard work – and give everyone praise for everything they did and sacrificed to make this project a success.

But it does hurt, nonetheless, and I wish those who I work hard for let me know they are thankful and appreciate me and my efforts.

Now, after being on the job for 31 out of the past 36 hours, I’m going to go home with my head hung hi because I was dedicated to doing a great job but also hung low knowing that I will be the only one who will recognize that in me.

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