Everyone wants to feel like their work is appreciated, and it’s often difficult to work where this kind of approval isn’t provided. I’ve suffered through this fate firsthand. Hopefully, you’ll never experience such a thankless situation, but if you do, or if you already are experiencing it, you’ll want to seriously consider finding a new employer. I speak from experience when I say that getting into a job where your efforts are appreciated really can make a difference not only professionally, but personally as well.
If you’re in the market for a new job, check out these great online resources:

How many network managers does it take to change a light bulb?
In one of my previous IT incarnations, I worked for an academic who ran a small drug research company. I looked after his stock of bottom-end PCs and his small NT 4 network. I also did anything else he could find for me to do. He would ask me to do all kinds of odd jobs around the office that were totally unrelated to my job as computer technician and network administrator. I don’t think he really understood what an IT technician’s job really was.

He was always impressed when I changed light bulbs, amazed when I stopped the roof leaking, and he applauded when I assembled flat pack office furniture. Sometimes he even noticed when I mended one of the hundreds of old 386 PCs or drilled holes through the walls for network cables.

Everyone should be part of the team
It was quite an interesting job, with plenty of variety, exercise, and hands-on work, but despite the wide range of services I performed, I was never made to feel as though I were a valuable member of the team. The researchers were at the top of the company hierarchy, while the ancillary and support staff were often overlooked when the credit was being given out. We were excluded from the Christmas dinner and did not receive an annual bonus. Consequently, the turnover was very high.

I thought that was my job?
My advice on buying new PCs was always overridden by “the bloke in the pub” who would advise my employer to buy anything with a well-known manufacturer’s logo on it.
In the U.K.’s popular culture, the “bloke in the pub” is the foremost authority on anything, but whose opinion is based on a complete ignorance of the facts.
I, on the other hand, would research several machines and suggest which one I felt was the best option. I often found that a home-built system would work just as well as a name-brand product. My boss, however, would ignore my suggestions and spend three times as much on the name-brand product. Of course, when it all went wrong, it was always my fault. Needless to say, my motivation and commitment were severely damaged, and I left the organization quite soon thereafter.

Find a job where you are appreciated
After escaping that thankless position, I worked for a small computer shop, doing system builds and repairs. I would often visit people in their homes, fix their computer, and show them better ways to do things. These customers were always thankful for my assistance, and this praise provided a much-needed boost to my self-confidence. After six months, I was a different person. I had the confidence to restart my life completely. I moved away from the big city to a house by the sea and finally started to enjoy myself.
Are you trapped in a thankless job with an ungrateful boss? Have you ever escaped from such a situation, as Jeff did? Are you getting the respect and recognition you deserve? We want to know. Post a comment or write to Jeff Dray.