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

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I’m Harsh Agrawal

Blog Scientist & a passionate blogger. Love minimalist life & talk about things that matter. Adventure from heart & doer by action.

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“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.

Working hard without any tangible output
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.

21 comments on “You Are Working Hard But You Don’t Have Any Tangible Output! Why?

  1. Excellent and Timely Post Animesh.
    Once upon a time, I was a victim of such situation in my career.
    You have suggested a few solutions to get rid of this issue.
    I am going to add 2 fixes more to this.
    1. Showing-Off plays an Important Role in Indian (Small) Corporate Culture. It is an Unfortunate Truth.
    2. It is more beneficial to keep a track of your time too along with your job sheet.
    Thanks a ton Animesh for sharing those excellent tips.

    1. Yes Subhabrata, you have pointed out two vital things.

      In this kind of situation, we should definitely keep track of time minutely with job sheet and your first point is very true regarding Indian Corporate Culture.

      But the time has come that the people from our generation / we should take the initiative to give a fresh work environment to our next generation.

      As the first step, I think we have to take small initiatives to fight with these kinds of corporate issues which have spread their root in deep of the entire Indian Corporate Ecosystem.

  2. Comment: This is a great post and very Insightful. Use of a worksheet and Checklist will definitely do the magic. But note however that some times you may have a boss that hardly appreciate your efforts and hard work.

    1. Yes Collins, you have mentioned a good point that when the boss hardly appreciates then nothing can be done.

      But why, it’s for your own benefit right? Means if you follow proper ways then no one will be able to raise finger at you.

      So from logical ground you will remain clear. Then forget about what others are talking !

  3. 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.

    1. Yes that’s true…. but the thing is, for this kind of wrong statement from the senior authorities, employees motivation, passion all goes down & ultimately it affects badly in productivity.

      So it’s the loss from both ends. The company is losing the faith of a valuable employee and the employee is also losing his/ her self-confidence & motivation.

      That’s why it’s always better to keep track of your own job with proper care & in detail. So that no one will be able to make this kind of accusing statement ever.

    1. Thank You Shibam, I really appreciate that you liked it.

      Actually, these kinds of issues just take our motivation down from the work. But if we think calmly and try to handle tactfully then no one will be able to question us.

      So, be accountable for your own job is the ultimate thing. If you can do that thoroughly then this type of question will never arise.

    1. Thanks that you have liked it. Actually it’s a very common problem that most of the people have faced at least once in their professional career.

  4. You have simply done a great job. When I sarted reading your post, I didn’t understand what you meant to say.
    But after giving a read twice i understood the whole thing .
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes Ravi, it’s a very common problem which most of us has faced at least once in our professional life. So I thought, how can I give some insights on this from my own experience.

  5. Hi Animesh Roy,

    Motivating and i enjoyed reading. Whatever happens, life has to goes on. I experienced these kind of situation, you mentioned here. We have to think about, where is the mistake, it’s on our side or opposite.

    But hardwork never fails, it may be in office or in own business.

    Thanks for share aminesh.

    1. Exactly…….. We have to think and analyse for what this kind of situation has come or someone is accusing regarding my output.

      It may not be always from our side but we have to handle this kind of situation with full patience.

      Thanks Raaja for you feedback.

  6. Hi ANIMESH,
    I have been working on a project for 2 months. But one thing is that I’m not getting any good output. But your blog post information is really good output related.
    Thanks for sharing this information.

    1. Thanks Palash that you have liked my post. But one thing I want to tell you, don’t always think about any direct output. Because sometimes we work really hard but we don’t get expected outcome.

      So it shouldn’t dishearten you and to keep yourself energetic & self-motivated always keep track of all your day to day scheduled work. From this, you will easily be able to track the progress. That matters most………

      So don’t get frustrated and continue what you are doing energetically.

  7. This is a point which is picked up from the real life experience. If you do not have proper time management and if you do not work efficiently, you will face this problem every now and then in your professional life. I was facing this problem while completing a research project in my masters study. I had to complete a Matlab code for simulation but I was getting a lot of bug in the code. Though I was working hard, my supervisor was frustrated as I was not getting a positive result. Then I tried to think in a different way and figured out all the points and small milestones to complete the code. Worked on all the milestones one by one and finally solved the problem. That was a life time experience for me.

    1. Yes Himadri, you have given another two solid reasons, Improper Time Management & Working Inefficiently.

      I also think that working on these two factors, the issue stated in this post can be resolved, if it’s really on my end. But if the fault is not mine, then?

      Then I think that looking after the accountability factors can resolve this kind of issue.

      But, still you have raised two solid points. Thanks for your insightful opinion.

  8. Do not get success after working hard can demoralize anyone. Even in my blogging carrier i didn’t get the output according to my efforts in start but i didn’t loose my patience and thank god now i am satisfied.. I hope The points you stated above play a significant role in correcting the output issues of youngsters who are fed up.

    1. Yes Rupali, what you stated is correct and that should be the spirit but after giving tremendous effort if your boss/ any senior questions in a doubtful manner, that hurts.

      May be you hadn’t loose your confidence until then but after hearing this kind of doubtful question in unusual tones, at some point of time the confidence level go really down.

  9. Nice Article Animesh…. But most of the time we do work that we don’t like which never give expected results. Unfortunately most of us don’t have options to survive in life….

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