When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off – The Bright Side of a Bad Year End Review

After weeks of working long days and even longer nights I thought for sure that my boss would reward me with a stellar year end review. Despite a chaotic project, with ridiculous deadlines and serious personality issues, I’ve made significant progress on a technical level and thought my hard work would pay off with a solid year end rating. It turns out that I could not have been more wrong.

I have a definite type-A personality at work. I work as hard as I can to produce the best products for my company and expect to be kindly rewarded for my efforts. Unfortunately, management teams do not always feel the same way I do. After a recent conversation with upper-level management I got the clear impression that my hard work will not be acknowledged this year.

The reasons for a bad rating usually have much less to do with the work I produce and much more to do with the he-said, she-said organization under which I work. I’ve worked here long enough to know this and yet somehow I’m still surprised by the decisions of my management chain.

So what do I think about all of this and where do I go from here?

Strangely enough, I feel an enormous sense of relief. The late nights and personality conflicts have taken their toll on me and I can’t imagine working under such self-imposed pressure for the duration of this project. To put it bluntly, I am burned out.

I have a lot of health issues and sitting in a desk for hours on end is the last thing I should be doing. If I’m not going to be rewarded for my efforts then there is absolutely no point in continuing to work in this manner. I’m better off putting in eight hours and then calling it a day. To be honest, it’s better for me mentally and physically.

In fact, I’m unbelievably upset with myself for forgoing health and happiness in favor of an organization that could honestly care less about my efforts.

I see this new found knowledge of my year end rating as a blessing in disguise. It’s time for me to finally accept the organization I work under, to realize that my hard work will probably not pay off and that my life and health are more important than this job anyway.

6 thoughts on “When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off – The Bright Side of a Bad Year End Review”

  1. The company I work for treat their workforce in exactly the same way, so much so that we are constantly saying to each other " Don,t do that you,ll get no more thanks for it " this is not normally my attitude to my work, but after 5 years it,s all the enthusiasm I can muster.

  2. As I'm in a bit of a stressed-out time myself and am starting to feel the effects, I hear ya. My bosses are great but as they are often out of touch with me, out of town, and there's no 'official review' each year, or even regular salary raises, a lot of my work definitely goes unnoticed and unacknowledged. I do it because I love my job, but I'm definitely better off, health-wise, just putting in 8 hours/day instead of the 15 hours I've been doing. Thanks for the reminder.

    I hope you do eventually get the recognition you deserve! I hate when politics and gossip interferes with the reputation of good workers!

  3. I tend to approach work this way too. A friend finally pulled me aside and explained that it doesn't matter what a great job you actually do, what matters is what a great job people /think/ you're doing. Perception beats reality every time.
    It sounds like your bosses won't realize how hard yo worked until one day when you're no longer there and they're left trying to pick up the pieces.
    You're smart to focus on balance and sanity.

  4. I'm definitely gunshy about being subject to the same "evaluation" even though I'm in my first year with this organization and so far my boss loves me (seemingly) and my work.

    I'm also careful to be as forthright with my team as possible so that their experience with me isn't the same either. I know how frustrating it is when your work isn't evaluated on an objective basis.

  5. (cont) Though, I agree with you that it's best to accept the policies and attitudes of the organization you're working in so that you're not frustrated by the decisions they make, evidently arbitrarily.

    After I understood this was the case with my previous organization, I took some time to determine what exactly I could bring away from being in that job and still benefit in the long term. As it turns out, the next job I was able to take thanks to dealing with the frustrations and sacrifices of the previous one is a pretty decent choice for my whole life and I'm looking forward to making healthier choices going forward.

    I'm hoping your next step proves that your hard work was worth it in the long run, even if it didn't pay off here.


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