Speaking Point: Far too many people are miserable in this current market and it's very likely that their bosses feel the same, too. You're working harder than ever and job security is virtually non-existent. You may not have received a raise in a year or two. Your salary may have been cut (I have a client who works for a major investment bank and his entire department had its base compensation cut in half). It is easy to get discouraged, to feel unappreciated, and to grow to hate your job.
Speaking Point: Before you approach your boss, consider whether how you are being treated is unique to you or shared by your colleagues. Also consider the state of your firm. Is it in distress like many other companies? If so, perhaps the emphasis should be on figuring out how to express your gratitude. Staying late occasionally, not complaining about how hard you're working, or lamenting a raise that is long overdue...these actions will make your boss appreciate you more. So, in some situations, the path to appreciation is achieved through a non-confrontational approach - in other words, non-aggressive evangelism as a means to an end.
Speaking Point: On the other hand, if your company is in good shape but your boss sees you and your colleagues only as a resource to be used and exploited, don't expect or look for appreciation to be expressed or for your good work to be acknowledged. In this situation "employee appreciation" is an oxymoron, one of those unfortunate contradictions.
Speaking Point: How to address this situation? Either look outside your department and/or company for unconditional positive feedback - for example, through involvement in professional organizations or by spending more time with family and friends who genuinely appreciate you - or by recognizing that this type of boss will only respond to more aggressive negotiation. Make sure you can document your contributions and insist on regular formal evaluations. The process forces your boss to acknowledge your performance, albeit reluctantly.
Speaking Point: If you hate your job, is it the organization? Or have you outgrown the work and have a need for a change...not just in scenery but in function. If so, before you make any decision, take some time to reflect and to assess. If you end up determining that it is the function, a bad job may be a necessary placeholder while you take classes or network for a new and more satisfying role.