Make the invisible, visible
Marvelous, as always! Wrote out brilliantly a concept I'd only intuited — sharing along to my favorite people :)
Great articulation of the nature of this work! I used to do a lot of backstage work in the theater (lighting, sound) -> the "invisible work" of the theater. We used to have a saying: "the audience only notices you when you screw up."
As someone who also did / does a lot of invisible work for companies now, the hardest part is knowing the actual impact / results (i.e what happens if you do "screw up" and the work isn't done). The impact in business is less clear than in the theater. I'm more on the managerial side now and I often see people engaging in invisible work that is not worth the effort. But often times they're not even asking the question whether it will deliver the results they want (or if the results are even worth the effort).
I think the people reading this are at least asking the questions. What I'd offer to people who think their invisible work is going under-appreciated despite believing it delivers lot of value: if the Value (per above) with manager is not aligned, it's extremely useful to find the people you clearly understand your work and can give you informed, honest opinion about it. It will help you with #1 and #2 above, which are critical.
Also, you'll always be able to justify to yourself the value, but there can other trade-offs or just knowledge / experience that other people have that is the cause of why they disagree with your assessment.