The Awkward Moment When: You realize that working hard just isn’t enough.

9 Feb

It can be really discouraging when you know that you are doing a lot of great work but you realize that no one is noticing it.  There are two ways to handle this situation:

1.  Accept the fact that others are not going to go out of their way to notice your work and be at peace with that fact

2.  Realize that others are not going to notice your work unless you go out of your way to show them what you’ve done

I think the first option has always been my go-to reaction.  I always thought that good work would get noticed because it always did in school. Regardless of outward recognition, at the end of a semester I’d see a good grade and feel good about the fact that my work was noticed.

How did my teachers know that I was a good student?  They went out of their way to figure out how well I was doing.  They assigned tests, projects, and homework that was meant to be completed, collected, and graded.  Their job was to record my progress and they worked their butts off doing it all year.  The only effort I had to put into the process was hard work.  The rest was up to the teacher.

Now let’s fast forward to my place in the working world.  I am still working hard and completing projects to the best of my ability.  Up until this point in my life (let’s just ignore last year) someone has always tracked my progress.  Up until about 15 minutes ago, it had been natural to assume that someone else would continue to track my progress at work.  This next point is a great argument for why the transition from being a “kid” to an “adult” is not an easy one:  It is now MY job to track MY progress.  If I can’t show others what I’ve done well, I’ll just get lost in the dust.

To complicate this situation ever more, I should mention one important fact about myself:  I hate attention in pretty much every form.  I don’t want people to notice me any more than they notice anyone around me.  Although I appreciate the idea of recognition, I would absolutely hate it if someone made me stand up in front of a room of my peers to congratulate me for doing something well.  To me, the best recognition would be if someone pulled me aside and mentioned that they noticed __(Insert positive feedback here)__.

After rereading my post up until this point, my problem seems very obvious now: my fear of attention has been holding me back from being noticed for a long time.  My assumption that people will notice my hard work just because I’m working hard is wrong.  I know plenty of people who work hard and have never been recognized or noticed.  In an ideal world, those who work hard will be rewarded.  Just in case anyone was wondering…. we do not live in an ideal world.  We live in a world where “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  As much as I don’t want to admit it, I know that I need to learn how to be assertive and put myself out there to be judged.

This is that awkward moment when:  I finally understand my own blog title.

I could spend my entire life “Building My Brand” but never actually selling it.

From what I hear, admitting that I have a problem is the first step.  So then what’s the next?

For me, the answer is easy: Planning.

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6 Responses to “The Awkward Moment When: You realize that working hard just isn’t enough.”

  1. katie February 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    reading your blog is totally like reading a self help book. where do you get all your good ideas for posts??? ❤ ❤

    • Christina February 10, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      Love you Katie! It’s 100% coming from things that happen to me each day. I realized that I get the most honest answers when I think about my problems internally rather than call my friends and have a pity party.

  2. ♥ MonaLisa ♥ February 11, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Hard workers can be sparse; pride yourself on your work & never deviate from it. My co-workers are clock pushers (only concerned with looking busy during clocked hours). The few hard workers do not go unnoticed to me as a fellow co-worker.
    I’d like to say thank you for your efforts in case no one has told you.

    • Christina February 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment, it really made me smile!

  3. Maureen February 16, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Love this post. Selling is key. Howeverr, over-recognition is not good either (which you know). I think your biggest strength is not your daily work (which is great, of course hah) but rather your demeanor and disposition. Own that. Sell that…

    • Christina February 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Thanks Maureen 🙂

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