You Are Working Hard But You Don’t Have Any Tangible Output! Why?

“I know you are really working hard, but I am not seeing any tangible output from your efforts!”

Have you ever faced this kind of question from your boss/any senior of your company? You’re working hard, but your boss is still not happy.

Where is the output? My boss is asking me this, but believe me, I am working really hard. Have you ever faced this kind of question?

After hearing this for the first time, you probably felt disillusioned, frustrated & aimless, right?

Anyone would be if he/she was in your place.

Why? Because we all are human beings and emotions play a vital role in our decision making process. Everyone loves receiving appreciation for their work.

It’s a natural human tendency to want to be rewarded after putting great amounts of effort into something.

Some people say things like, “He/she doesn’t work for recognition, it’s only for the passion, drive & love for the work.”

But tell me one thing:

How does it feel when after putting in great amounts of effort/working really hard, someone raises questions about your output/effort/credibility?

Probably not good.

No matter how passionate you are about your work, when your efforts are not rewarded with some kind of recognition, it hurts.

There is nothing unnatural about it.

OK, let’s even forget about getting recognition. If someone raises these kinds of questions about your output, it implies that your hard work is not only not being recognized, but is potentially having a negative effect on the project.

We know in business that the end result may not always be a great success. We also know that failure is a big part of the game. So if your output hasn’t turned out as expected, that doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard.

Failure, or not getting the expected output, can have many reasons.  Not working hard enough isn’t necessarily one of them.

So whenever your boss is saying that he/she is not getting any tangible output from your work, although you are working hard enough, it’s up to you to find out the reasons why and try to find a solution.

The trick in doing this kind of self-analysis is to not get sentimental.

You may not agree with me here. You may think getting defensive is the best route. But I don’t think so.

I have had this happen to me many times in my career. This opinion comes from my raw experience and not an exaggeration on a hypothetical situation.

Whenever anything like this happens, you have to think & analyze the situation a little differently. You have to find out what the reason is behind why the results are not coming.

  • Is it your fault or does the problem lie elsewhere?

It can be disheartening, yes, but you do not need to get frustrated over something silly like this.

“Silly?! Do you think this matter is silly? My credibility is in question and you are telling me that it’s silly?!”

If you’re thinking this, you aren’t wrong, but you are getting a little too emotional.

Set aside your emotions for some time and focus on finding out the reason why this situation is occurring.

I’ll help you along. These are two probable reasons for this issue, and their solutions.

Reason 1: There is no proper system in place for tracking accountability.

In many small organizations, this is common. There’s no proper protocol for job distribution, management, tracking progress, etc. When nothing is tracked, these kinds of issues can arise.

Issues like:

  • “I know you are working hard, but where is the output?”
  • “What have you done these past months?”
  • “I not getting any visible output from you work. Why?”

You know it’s not your fault and they (the ones raising the questions) also know that, but everyone tries to pass the ball into someone else’s court.

But this kind of “passing the buck” makes the situation even more complex. Because with this kind of blame game, the intra-office bonding gets loosened and it ultimately affects the overall productivity of the organization.

Let’s think about this. The problem was neither yours nor the person’s who asked you about the “tangible output of your work”. The problem lies in the root structure of the organization.

If the job’s progress, current status, and other minute details are not properly maintained for each employee, then if any kind of failure happens or questions occur about any particular employee’s output, how can that be tracked? Furthermore, how can a question like that even be assessed as a valid complaint?

It can’t.

But this is only the first reason for this kind of occurrence.

The second reason is a bit more self-oriented.

Reason 2: You are not keeping track of your own work!

You have to be fully responsible for your activities!

You are working hard and putting in great amounts of effort, but if you’re not tracking your activities, your work is being done in a careless and haphazard manner.

If the organizational protocols are not well-maintained, then it’s your responsibility to take care of your specific set of activities. You should be the sole care-taker of your job’s accountability.

It’s not only for the organization’s benefits. It will also help you to track the progress of your work.

Working hard is great, but it’s not enough. You have to look after all of the things that are associated with the job. In particular, your job accountability.

If you can maintain this self-tracking, you will never feel lost. If someone asks you about your job’s progress, then you will be able to show him/her what you are doing with clear, tangible details. There will be no confusion.

Maintain a job sheet for keeping records of your day to day work. Make it detailed with all of the necessary parameters.

This is not just for your personal satisfaction. You’ll be able to see which areas are getting the most effort, which projects turned out as successes, and which projects were failures. This job sheet will help you to analyze each situation and if needed, find a remedy for a problem.

This way your output will never be neglected. Even if you fail, you’ll be able to see why and your work will be accountable and tangible.

My Conclusion

The most important thing is keeping track of your work. That’s the only thing which can give real data about your effort’s accountability. If your organization isn’t keeping track of your work, you need to keep track of your own work yourself.

If your efforts are accountable, then successes/failures don’t matter as much because your output will be still be considered tangible.

From my point of view, if you can maintain this kind of procedure, it will yield very positive benefits for everyone involved.