4 Ways to Stay Motivated When Your Boss Has Forgotten You Exist

Your boss has to give you a paycheck. Only the good ones give you acknowledgement, too.

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By John Boitnott

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One of the top reasons employees leave a company is lack of recognition, according to a study from Accenture. Yet employees still feel under appreciated. Whether bosses simply lack the time necessary to reward employees or they simply have no idea what combination of words their employees want, lack of recognition is a problem.

For employees, this can bring some bad news. The option to jump ship may be tempting, but you'll have no guarantee that your next boss will be any better. Over time, you'll come to realize the benefits of finding that motivation within yourself. Here are a few tips for staying motivated when you feel under appreciated.

1. Know yourself.

The first step toward internal motivation is to first understand the type of praise that pushes you forward. For many people, that motivation comes from a sense that the work they are doing has a greater purpose. School teachers can go years without a raise but feel deeply rewarded by their students' progress.

However, it can be difficult to see the results of your work when you're sitting in an office all day (particularly your home office). When you show up at work and put your full effort into the job you're paid to do, you unavoidably make a difference. The key is to fully understand what that difference is and use it to push yourself forward.

Related: 4 Reasons Employees See a Bleak Career Path and Quit

2. Motivate yourself.

Without a boss acknowledging your hard work, you'll need to find that motivation internally. If that motivation comes from seeing how your work makes a difference, create a visual representation of that. If you answer calls on a customer support line, keep charts of the number of tickets you close each week. If you process payments for your employer, track the improvements you've made in getting suppliers paid from one month to the next.

Since you won't be getting encouragement from your superiors, you'll need to set time aside on a regular basis to give that encouragement to yourself. Set goals for yourself and celebrate each new milestone you reach. You'll soon find that you're shooting for the completion of the next milestone so you can enjoy your reward.

Related: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Team

3. Coworker support.

If you share a boss with other people, chances are they feel the same way you do. Instead of competing with your coworkers for an "employee of the month" award that will never come, compliment them for a job well done. You'll likely find your fellow employees return the favor and soon you'll have your own mutual appreciation society.

If you're spending multiple happy hours grumbling over your shared dissatisfaction over your employer, consider instead coming up with a system where you can give each other the boost you need. You could agree as a team to provide each other the praise you need to get you through long weeks spent doing the same mundane activities or plugging away on a months-long project.

Related: 5 Ways to Take the Wind Out of Your Future Leaders' Sails

4. Self evaluate.

The effectiveness of performance evaluations has been called into question lately, mostly because they tend to become an opportunity to bash employees rather than coach and empower them. Even in organizations where they've been a regular occurrence, performance evaluations are dwindling so small business workers are very unlikely to see them.

In some organizations, self-evaluations have become a great alternative to unpopular manager-conducted evaluations. But if your business doesn't have an organized process for this, you can still incorporate this process into your work environment. Sit down each quarter or year and review your own goals and job duties. Honestly assess how you're doing, where you currently are, and where you'd like to be. You probably will come out of it with a clearer view of where you stand.

If you're dealing with a boss who never offers positive comments on the work you're doing, you can still positively motivate yourself to do a good job. By finding what makes you feel good about the work you're doing and finding a way to ignite those feelings on your own, you'll be able to enjoy your job regardless of what your boss does.

Related: 6 Reasons Why You Should Rehire a Former Employee

John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

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