A few months ago I was struggling with feeling undervalued at work. It’s still something that I struggle with from time to time.

I talked to my dad about how I was feeling. I remember saying “Why should I be going the extra mile when no one notices or appreciates it?” To which he reassured me that eventually, someone will take notice. At the time I didn’t quite understand. If they’re not noticing now, how could they notice later?

Then I started taking on larger projects, things that created significant value for my employer. In doing this, I realized that it doesn’t always have to be about my employer. If I’m being motivated by simply accomplishing these things for myself, and doing them to the best of my ability, rather than doing it for someone else: that’s okay too. I’m still able to say that I did it.

What my father was trying to tell me suddenly clicked.

The work experience gained from working on a project isn’t just for your employer, it’s for you. You can now take that experience with you to a prospective employer and say “This is the value I’ve created.” They’ll take notice. You can take that experience to a new job and use it to complete an even better project. Someone, eventually, will take notice. Even if it’s not your current employer.

While you should find a job in which you feel valued, don’t depend on external forces for your validation. Find validation within yourself and just keep creating.