If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout my countless adventures through an eclectic array of careers, it’s that people like to receive recognition for the work they do. We all like being rewarded for a job well done, even if it’s just someone thanking us. Especially if you pour your soul into something you truly believe in, it can be heartbreaking to have no one notice and/or to have someone else take credit for the work you put into it. I’d be lying if I said that never happens in the world. Most career choices force people to work together on projects on a regular basis, and it’s not every day everyone working on a project puts in the exact same amount of work. We’ll often be asked to work under someone who will get full credit for our invested efforts, expertise, and time. We humans thrive on acknowledgment, so what do you do when you don’t receive it? And how do we become okay in positions of support that may not allow our contributions to be recognized?
Recognize why you feel this way
The first thing that can help in this situation is to recognize why you feel this way. Like every problem I face in the world, if I’m facing an issue where I’m not getting the credit or appreciation I feel I deserve, I meditate on it. I will sit in my meditation room at home and reflect on the situation and try to break down WHY I’m feeling this way. I’ll ask myself:
Why do I want people to know it was me who worked on this?
How do I benefit from getting proper credit?
What if I step aside this time? How will I feel a couple of months down the road about this?
Am I okay being in a position of support this time as long as the end result is good? Do I truly need the credit for this?
Does this other person really need a win?
I try to recognize why I feel this way and if it’s worth pursuing further. Often, I may want credit solely for egoic reasons or because I care what people think of me. Honestly, I’m trying to work on this, as I don’t want to care as much what people think of me, as it doesn’t matter in the end. I know the work I put in and I know the truths in my life, so does it really matter if others do? I’m working to get to the point where one day I can answer that with a no.
We humans thrive on acknowledgment, so what do you do when you don’t receive it? And how do we become okay in positions of support that may not allow our contributions to be recognized?
Do you say something or do you move on?
There are times when I think it’s okay to say something when this comes up. The first time I was officially the managing editor of a print magazine, I put together and edited the full copy from first page to last. I poured my heart and soul into that magazine and received very little guidance and help from the editor-in-chief. But I was thrilled to get my first managing editor credit. Then my boss told me she was going to give the credit to her digital editor, someone who had not worked on the magazine at all (but helped supply some of the content from online). Of course, I got angry. This was my first credit on a physical print magazine, and I put in all that work. In this instance, I knew for myself, I had to fight for it. Not only was this credit important for my resume and therefore, my future as a writer and editor, it also meant something very special to me. So, I did. I told her that I edited the whole piece so I should get the credit on it. And guess what, she gave it to me with no fight. She just wasn’t looking at things the way I was. There are times when speaking up for yourself is worth it.
Life always seeks balance. When you’re passionate about something you’ve done well, it can be important to step up, be your own champion, and claim credit. But there are also times where you need to play a role of support, helping someone else get to the goals or answers they were working towards, and that’s okay, too.
But in other instances, it may be better to just let it go if the end result or the credit isn’t important to what you’re doing at this time in your life. For example, if there are two people collaborating on something together and one put in more work than the other, yet both are getting equal credit on something, it may not be the end of the world. There are also times when I’m working under someone on a project that is significant to them but doesn’t mean much to me. Even if I slave away for them, I can find joy in the fact that I’m helping them reach one of their goals or dreams. I’m truly in a position of support for someone to accomplish something, and somehow, in this case, being supportive is a beautiful thing.
Life always seeks balance. When you’re passionate about something you’ve done well, it can be important to step up, be your own champion, and claim credit. But there are also times where you need to play a role of support, helping someone else get to the goals or answers they were working towards, and that’s okay, too. If you let go of your ego and meditate on it, you can feel the beauty and happiness in helping someone else grow and thrive, supporting them in any way you know how. When you are called to serve in a supportive role, if you approach it with the right attitude, I think you can find joy in helping others, and in turn, feel and experience the world in a different way.