The Importance of Recognition

The Importance of Recognition

When helping alumni explore career options, I begin with  workplace attractors and professional values. Identifying these foundational elements helps people gain clarity about the type of work that aligns with who they are and the impact they want to create. While some values are inherent, others will change over time. Some even hide under our limiting beliefs.

Yesterday as I was revisiting my own values, I was surprised to discover the prominent role that recognition currently plays in my professional value system. In the past I had resisted placing value on recognition.  As a introvert who has not typically sought the spotlight, I did not acknowledge the role of recognition in my career fulfillment.

But it's there. I saw it more clearly after I began to unpack what it actually means. Recognition can signal impressive titles,  promotions and financial compensation. It can also mean respect, acknowledgement, and being seen. Recognition means I have a direct connection to the impact of my work, something that is vital to my professional satisfaction. In 2006, when I was teaching in an elementary school, one of my students wrote me a poem about the impact I'd had on her life. All these years later, it remains displayed in a place of honour in my home. Yesterday I realized that this thoughtful gift was actually a powerful piece of professional recognition, one that still keeps me going on tough days.

Sometimes we can land in careers that are out of sync with who we really are and what matters to us because we have preconceived notions about what we are supposed to want. Somewhere along the way I got the message that recognition was not an honourable pursuit. So I didn't integrate this value into my professional brand. Yesterday I realized that recognition, in various forms, has fueled my creativity and motivation across a range of roles over the course of my career. Now that I see it, I can own it, and even ask for it when appropriate, knowing that it will make me perform at a higher level.

What are your professional values? How do you know? Do you have mental blocks or old beliefs that keep you from acknowledging what matters to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Michele MurphyMichele Murphy is the Alumni Career Educator at alumni UBC. For support at every stage of your career development process, visit us on, follow us on Twitter @alumniUBCcareer, and connect with Michele on Linked In.

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