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Being overpraised

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in Workplace Communication

Q. My bosses and colleagues are almost gushy when praising me for my work. It gets embarrassing. I don’t do anything exceptional here (and I’m not just being modest). My job isn’t challenging; I just go through the motions. The more others praise me, the less I respect them. Does this make sense?

A. Yes. Just because co-workers admire your work doesn’t mean you must love your job. You’re wise to look beyond the compliments to question whether you’re satisfied.

In some low-glamour or boring jobs, employers pour on the praise so that valued employees don’t feel neglected. And some workers fall for it, thinking, “I love being loved, so I’ll stay put.”

The next time you’re praised, say thanks and add, “I want to learn new skills and take on new challenges. Any ideas?” Also, meet with your boss and lay out some short-term career goals. Perhaps you could take on higher-level duties. But beware: Never say you’re losing respect for those who laud you. No one likes an ingrate.

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