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To be recognized at work, a vital need

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Are we eternal children in search of compliments? No. Professional recognition offers us a membership in a group, allows us to value our singularity, and helps us to give body and meaning to activities increasingly dematerialized.

Hélène Fresnel

"In fact, you have no skill, you're just lucky." Marc, 32, a salesman at a major European bank, initially thought he had misunderstood. How could his "N + 1" say that in an annual appraisal interview when he had "exploded" his goals? "I was the one of the team that made the most profit," he says. At first, I was stunned, and then I wondered if he was right. " Little by little, Marc's confidence in himself subsided. "At the risk of appearing ridiculous," he adds, he eventually called former employers to ask them if he really was " so bad ". They reassured him, but at the end of a few months, receiving only a polite silence in spite of an overflowing activity, Marc threw in the towel and resigned, convinced that if he had remained, he would have sunk into depression.

A legitimate desire for social esteem

This extreme example is more of a harassment than a day-to-day experience for all of us, yet how much are we waiting feverishly for these famous end-of-year talks? How much are we waiting for this opportunity to finally hear our superior highlight what we have achieved positive, tell us "thank you", increase us, who knows? In short, we ensure his confidence? Basically, why do we give it so much importance? After all, who better than ourselves can judge the care we have taken in our daily tasks? The whole question is there: we have a visceral and timeless need for recognition.

Because, explains the psychoanalyst and coach Hélène Vecchiali, "the work is in its etymology related to the pain and the difficulty, even those who love their profession make efforts, so it is normal to need to be Recognized And then recognize someone, it means to identify someone: when a child is born, he is recognized by his parents at the town hall.His is how he will enroll in society. is the same thing: recognition is not just something that makes us feel good from time to time, it gives us group membership and allows us to build social esteem. " But we are not all equal in the face of this desire: to be convinced of the value of their productions, some need to be told them ten times in a row. Others want to be recognized in public and not face to face: the trumpets of fame must sound.

"Good grades" that define our value

The work is tied to love for all of us. When we were little, our parents congratulated us on our good grades and scolded us for the bad ones. Since then, we have all more or less tended to confuse the value of our notes, that is, the fruit of our efforts, with our own value, that which we represent for our parents. Some are more waiting than others, because "their self-esteem, their recognition of themselves is fragile or could not be forged correctly, lights up Hélène Vecchiali.In contrast, a child who was dreamed, desired, worn, recognized in his efforts by his parents will spontaneously anchor in himself this feeling of being worthy.It will be less in demand.

Marion, 45, is one of those blessed who do not neurotically doubt the quality of their work, but, she says, "if my superiors and colleagues did not congratulate me from time to time, I I think I'd be completely lost, for years I've been filling out computer summary sheets without really knowing who's reading them. " Nothing more logical, assures the economist and psychoanalyst Corinne Maier. According to her, our professional life is becoming more and more virtual: "In an office, nothing is really concrete, we make things that are immaterial and therefore difficult to evaluate." Unlike someone who repairs shoes or an independent person who makes his turnover, the satisfaction of the work is little related to the realization of an object.it does not rest either on the well-being that one can feel by accomplishing a task from the beginning to the end, since the functions are "cut up", detached from one another and partitioned. "

Result: we have less than ever today the means to estimate ourselves. We are lost in the vagueness of activities increasingly abstract and fragmented. Nothing tangible comes to comfort us. We depend more than ever on the eyes of others: they alone can support us and reassure us in environments where layoffs multiply. In a company, recognition is also "a great way to boost teams," says psychoanalyst René Fiori.

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