Wanted: appreciation

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Q: I love my job and I work my tail off at the office. However, my efforts seem to go unnoticed. I feel underappreciated and underutilized in my position. What should I do?
-T. Thompson, Bronx, New York

A: “Arrange a talk with your manager to express your concerns,” says Roland D. Nolen, a corporate management expert specializing in performance and advancement issues and author of Beyond Performance: What Employees Really Need to Know to Climb the Success Ladder (New Perspectives, $20). “He or she can provide you with the constructive feedback you’ll need to advance.”

First, determine if you focus on just “working hard.” If so, you may be neglecting activities that may help further your career. For example, do you seek professional exposure outside of the company, volunteer for additional projects or lend your expertise to other departments in the firm?

Next, sit down with your boss and ask him or her what you need to do in order to move up in the company. Then, ask for what you want-assertively. You might start off by saying, “I enjoy working at this company. However, I feel that I’m being underutilized in my current position and I’d like more responsibility.” During the conversation, share your desire to participate in the extra activities you thought about in your self-assessment. If the response is favorable, add your boss’s suggestions to your action plan and get started. If not, you may want to consider looking for another position elsewhere.

Roy R. Pressey is president and CEO of Proficient Systems Services Inc., an IT recruiting and consulting firm based in Orlando, Florida.