One of the most common feelings young people report when joining the job market for the first time is that of being undervalued. Granted, at this point, one is either fresh out of high school or university. In both these environments, good work is rewarded and celebrated while mistakes are corrected. However, in the workforce, one seldom has feedback unless they make a mistake. While one could see their remuneration as a reward for a job well done, most young people just need that occasional congratulatory word of affirmation to know that their hard work is both seen and valued. While this need is not entirely irrational, it isn’t always realistic due to the demands and culture of the professional world. So, what can one do to stay motivated when they feel undervalued? Here are a few tips:

  • Create a community within your place of work

While being the new kid can be a bit intimidating, try to create some relationships with your co-workers. This does not mean that you should become friends and hang out outside of the office. However, it will be to your advantage to have a cordial relationship with the people you work with. That way, you can ask them for feedback when you’re unsure about your progress.

  • Connect with other young people within your field of expertise

Use social media to connect to other young people in your professional field. And, when the outside is open, go to some social events and mixers to meet some people. These colleagues, especially if you’re new in the city, can become your friends over time. Having peers who are in the same shoes, without feeling as though you are in competition, can be a great source of motivation when you feel down or insecure.

  • Ask your boss/manager for feedback

When in doubt, ask. If your place of work has opportunities for employee reviews and evaluations, use this time to ask for positive feedback. If these measures aren’t in place, find out if you can have a monthly evaluation to help you track your progress or come up with creative ideas to share positive feedback within your team. Ask your peer colleagues for tips on how evaluations are conducted at their workplaces and ask your colleagues for feedback on some of the ideas that you have. Be creative!

  • Practice self-affirmation

When all is said and done, your feelings are your responsibility. Affirm yourself in whatever way that’s most effective. Before you submit any piece of work or task, make sure that you’re happy and satisfied with your work. Your motivation must come from the inside out and not the other way around.

PS: you’re doing a great job.

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