Where I work I often agree to take extra shifts when someone else can't make their shift upon my manager's request. I've been doing this often and don't feel like I'm getting recognition. (I make the standard rate during these extra shifts.) Often times I am asked to cover a shift with less than 24 hours notice. The manager doesn't even say thank you.

Any way I can get more? I'm still on the probation period but after I will stop saying yes. In general I'm very bad with making my work stand out. For example a coworker is always talking about how successful his ideas are, even though they aren't really.

  • 3
    @casablancaeggplant, If you don't want those extra shifts, do not take them! You've created a covert contract. "A covert contract is an agreement you haven’t actually made, but which you believe to be solid. Covert contracts occur when you have a plan in your head, some sort of trade, but it is never explicitly stated, so when it comes time for “payment” and it falls through, you feel cheated..." May 26, 2021 at 21:12
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    Meta remark: While the premise of the question (about deserving recognition) is problematic, IMHO the question itself is fine. There are close votes for "lacks a goal", but the goal is clearly stated (getting recognition). A goal that is arguably foolish is still a goal. So, take my upvote.
    – sleske
    May 27, 2021 at 7:33
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    "I often agree to take extra shifts when someone else cant make there's" - who asks you to to that? This person should give you recognition. If it is the coworkers who ask you then its not the manager who should thank you in the first place.
    – puck
    May 27, 2021 at 11:50
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    @casablancaeggplant: Hey, I was actually defending your question. People disagreeing with the premise of your question in no way means that the Q is bad, or that you are stupid or evil or anything - it just means that they think it would be better to consider the problem in a different way. Which is what the answer does.
    – sleske
    May 27, 2021 at 12:54
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    Why do you want more recognition? What is your goal beyond that - because I'm guessing you have some long term reason why you want more recognition? I think that would help myself and others give a better answer.... if so.
    – HenryM
    May 27, 2021 at 14:16

5 Answers 5


As a prelude to my answer, I'd like to point to @HenryM's comment, who I agree was onto something there:

Why do you want more recognition? What is your goal beyond that - because I'm guessing you have some long term reason [...]? I think that would help myself and others give a better answer.... if so.

In line with that, allow me to offer how I read the situation:

I sense that your question might involve a case of an "XY problem".

As in: you are asking to solve the problem of recognition (the Y problem), while your real issue might be that you are seeking a form of security in your position, and in a broader sense, in your career (the X problem).

I quote the gist of my own comment in which I first offered an identification of what your original tension might be:

OP wants recognition because they — rightly — feel that [in today's world (?)] merely exchanging grunt work for money is a futile enterprise. Due to "entropy", our bodies — and, in lack of exercise, our minds — deteriorate. [Also, as it seems to me, when we are not moving forward in one form or other, even our general conditions seem to deteriorate. (Some form of entropy, again?)]

So OP's current situation is not a plan that one can hope to chug along flawlessly until eternity.

There must be a way out. A way ahead. And OP feels it. We all, in such a situation, feel it, but sometimes it's just hard to put our fingers on it.

[For OP, in their current position — according to their current grasp of the situation,] getting recognition seems to be the most available vehicle, or channel, to transfer into a context that promises more prospect.

Now, I take the courage to leave the issue of recognition behind (it had been discussed in several other answers already).

Instead, I would like to direct our attention towards addressing the problem of getting into a more secure place in one's career.

Again, quoting the gist of my corresponding initial comment:

[...] to solve the above described tension: to "get recognition" [taking it further: to get the feeling of firmer ground under our feet, — according to my grasp of it today — ] is to:

a) improve "our value in the job market" so that we get employed with better prospects — or even,

b) improve "our potential to successfully participate in society", so we can hope to venture beyond employment, and start our own enterprise [, whatever that might be].

This all seems to involve purposeful learning; whether as formal education or [in any other form].

The takeaway is: learn something (new); invest in yourself; develop or polish existing skills. Anything that you feel can open a door ahead of you, leading to the next stage of your life, hopefully one with more security and (even) more opportunities for further self-development.

(It seems to work that way in life: whenever you are moving, you encounter impulses (internal or external) that nudge you further in that direction — let it be an upwards movement or a downwards one.) (Meanwhile, standing still — even at best — does not seem to improve things.)

So start something. Find a way to get moving, then turn it upwards; then keep in the groove.

Now, to be faithful to reality, let's quickly acknowledge the situation with the pandemic, which involves a huge additional impetus for the already in the meantime accelerating processes of digitalization, automatization, and the emergence of solutions based on artificial intelligence.

These things will have lasting effects on our societies and on "job markets". Landscapes for "gainful employment", or for any gainful activity, really, might rearrange rapidly.

Finding which direction to invest in such times "might be not crystal clear", for some.

With all that said, I still believe, learning and getting better at anything — due to its overall positive impact on our personhood — remains to be a worthy endeavour.

  • To the last section about the digitalization trends: To the immediate observer, it may seem: "just learn coding!" "just invest in tech!" "what's hard to see in that?" It's the last item in the list: artificial intelligence. Our economies tend to be largely based on competition. And AI has incredible competing potential. AI solutions could make a lot of today's coding jobs redundant. AI can rapidly and disruptively outcompete everything else, including other, competing AI projects. And the speed at which this is happening makes investment risky; a lot could be rendered worthless quickly.
    – Levente
    May 29, 2021 at 12:20
  • What I'm suggesting is that in a landscape like this, one may as well desire not to sacrifice themselves at the altar of furthering digital endeavours. It's getting unattractive; people burn out in coding jobs en masse, all the while ignoring and suppressing important facets of their personalities and potentials. What if we could start investing in our true selves? Making us deeper, more versatile humans? That could come beneficial when we need to invent the next era for our societies — so, I'd say, now-ish, already. (Admittedly though, I'm uncertain how that will pay the rent next month.)
    – Levente
    May 29, 2021 at 12:54

I think (lightheartedly) that posting on an internet question answer site to let others respond to your extra shifts is the perfect solution. This is free and easy and this answer and the comments prove that it works.

Now on to some hopefully better advice.

You stated that you are already receiving the recognition of additional pay from the company.

If you are after any public recognition, even if it is unrelated the workplace, you could spend the extra money that you make to donate to a charity. Likely the charity will thank you when you donate, depending on the amount and charity they may list your name in a list of donors or attach your name to a good or service provided. I know that many projects, and youtubers will list all the people who have donated to their project on their website or at the end of the video.

Alternatively you can use the extra money that you are receiving to purchase gifts for meaningful people in your life. Many people who are worthy to be considered a friend will say thank you for a well thought out and meaningful gift. Various people have said thank you in my life, and gifts I have received have meant a lot to me. Just remember that you purchased the gift with money from an extra shift.

If your coworkers know that you are covering their shift, over time they will likely think of you as a hard worker and reliable person. They may also recognize you by being happier to cover your shift later. Don't expect an hour for hour trade though or you will be disappointed.

Some of the recognition for hard work and extra hours takes a long time, Think years. If you are known to be a reliable employee who will always do extra for the company you are less likely to be brought up as someone on the list of possible people to let go of when bad times come. Good managers will notice this and try their best to keep you employed. This is not something to be overlooked as it can help save your job or ensure a good recommendation from the company when you are looking for your next job.

In my opinion reputation is more important than recognition. Take the steps to build a positive reputation to help yourself out in the long run.

Best of luck!

  • 2
    I think your first paragraphs about donating come across as gleefully snarky; this, considering the struggle OP is going trough, comes across to me as strongly distasteful. (I offer: any resource OP can come across right now should go towards investing in their own chances to find a way to a better work context.)
    – Levente
    May 27, 2021 at 19:17
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    "already receiving the recognition of additional pay" — that is the lawfully prescribed minimum compensation; recognition, in this case means exactly anything that goes beyond that. So, no, I wouldn't call that recognition. "[...] recognition for hard work [...] takes [...] years." — so are you suggesting to go the extra mile not for any sort of reward but for free, to mitigate the fear of getting fired on a whim? "[...] reputation is more important than recognition" — recognition IMO can be the ante-room to (or a companion to) reputation.
    – Levente
    May 27, 2021 at 19:36
  • I apologize that the second paragraph about donating to charity came across as snarky. That was not the intent. Any suggestions on a better way to word the idea that you could convert some of the money into public name recognition through donations? (I surely don't suggest donating more than the op can afford without puting themselves at a disadvantage to find future employment) Good point about reputation and recognition!
    – Mr. S
    May 28, 2021 at 6:12
  • "Any suggestions on a better way to word the idea" — one possibility: " If it's really just some (any) kind of recognition you are after, and you wouldn't mind even if it comes from contexts unrelated to your workplace, I suggest you could consider such donations where [...] " — with that said, I would suggest to re-assess how fitting an answer it would be for OP's current question / problem. Is it something really worthwhile to suggest at this point?
    – Levente
    May 28, 2021 at 6:45
  • @Levente That does sound more caring, I incorporated something similar. Thanks!
    – Mr. S
    May 28, 2021 at 7:18

I think the general answer would be to have a one on one meeting with your manager to discuss what you each think is going well and what can be improved with your work. You could then mention teamwork being an area you see yourself doing well in part because of taking the extra shifts. (I don't know if regular one on one meetings are a thing where you work but it might be good to have some sort of talk to make sure your manager thinks you're doing well during this probation period.)

However, I don't think in your specific case you should try to get recognition for the extra shifts.

  1. I suspect your manager doesn't care. You say that they are the one requesting you take these shifts and they're not even saying thanks. This strongly implies to me that they see someone taking an extra shift as a normal, unnoteworthy part of their job. If that's the case, they might think it odd that you want praise for doing something they think is expected.

  2. By bringing attention to it, you'll just make it more obvious when you stop. It's in your best interest if they don't notice or don't care when it happens. They are not going to think positively of you saying, "Look how hard I'm working!", right before you stop working hard.

I'd recommend pointing to the quality of your work instead of the amount of time at the job.


Difference in expectations

This looks like classical example of difference in expectations in a (business) relation, between you and the company (represented by manager) .

What does company wants ? They need someone to fill in and do extra shift when someone else can't or won't. And that someone is often you. They do not expect from you to work for free, although they pay you only standard hourly rate, not some higher overtime rate. From their perspective you and them exchange work for money. Only this time they buy some more work from you at the same price. And that is all. Your reward is extra money.

What do you expect from them ? First of all, since you are on probation, you probably want to end that and become a regular employee. Employees on probation are usually more vulnerable to demands from management, therefore you do not dare to refuse requests for extra shifts, especially if manager in question has a say about your employment. In this case you are probably right not to confront him directly at least until your probation period passes. This is unfortunate and probably unfair, but it is what it is.

Second thing is recognition. Unless you are looking for plaque reading "Employee of the month", I'm afraid you are on a wrong path. As a rule, companies do not promote people who do more grunt work . If you are digging ditches, you won't become a manager just because you dig more ditches than rest of the workers. There are exceptions to this rule, and you didn't mention what industry you are working in, but in general terms this is usually true.

What can you do ? First of all, be honest to yourself and declare a goal. If you want to be a manager, okay. If you want pay rise, fine. If you want extra free time, that is OK too. And when you set up this goal, try to emulate successful people around you. What did Joe do to become a manager ? How did Jill get a pay rise ? Why does company keep Mike on pay roll even if he seemly does nothing ? All of this would help you to understand business world better and to learn to swim among sharks.

  • Regarding "confronting" a manager during probation time: it doesn't need to be confrontation. It can be "initiating a brief discussion" about it — testing the waters, even, if extra careful. A probation period is designed to be two-way; the employer is also under evaluation. This is the right time to align expectations. (Afterwards, it might take a long time until achieving changes.) Beyond that, I would remark on how the whole paragraph there is built on the impression of a fear-driven relationship between employee and employer. We could as well aim to avoid that.
    – Levente
    May 27, 2021 at 19:34
  • @Levente Regarding confrontation, from the looks of it, OP wants to keep the job and is probably somewhat timid person, so saying no to the boss would look like confrontation to her. I think she would be slightly more courageous when probation ends.
    – rs.29
    May 27, 2021 at 20:03
  • "slightly more courageous when probation ends" — but it could be too late then, couldn't it? I can clearly see how the manager then could say, "well, you seem to have already accepted the current conditions, so I take these now as the baseline; let's meet at your 6 / 12 months review, and address this issue then." Couldn't this happen? I see a high chance. (Also, again: "courageous" — if OP needs "courage" to survive the everydays of the workplace, they are already in the wrong place. It has to be as free from fear as possible; otherwise they are done for.)
    – Levente
    May 27, 2021 at 20:06
  • @Levente Depends on circumstances. If the manager needs to ask every time, when probation ends OP could find courage to refuse, even if it involves small lies like " I don't feel very well" , "I have something scheduled " etc .
    – rs.29
    May 28, 2021 at 3:39
  • "As a rule, companies do not promote people who do more grunt work" where did you get this rule from, was there a study done? Like the Peter Principle Jul 25, 2021 at 9:14

I hate to break it to you, but from a manager's point of view, there is no emotional component to shift assignments.

There is a limited amount of work available, and that is because there is a limited amount of pay available. The basic employment agreement is "I have something I need to be done and I'm willing to pay you to do it." No one person can do it all, and how much of it any person wants is between them and the overtime laws in your area.

All they are doing is trying to get the shift filled by people who have already agreed to do the work.

If you want additional "Recognition," you need to look in a different area. See if you have a path for promotion available by accepting additional responsibilities.

  • I have seen a job ad for a position of "flight crew dispatcher" from whose description I took that it often involves "nagging" or "begging to" people to pick up shifts on a short notice, when something changes in the last minute (a normal occurrence in that field of work). (This was before the pandemic, when the aviation industry was still bustling.) I can see that working in that role, it could be stressful to find someone from time to time. I can see even emotional relief (and appreciation) when someone picks up an assignment. I acknowledge, not every place is so, but still, it's a thing.
    – Levente
    May 27, 2021 at 20:14

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