Understanding Your Work Values
Hey there career goal-getter! July is completely flying by. I’m heading into a busy season at work, so I’m using every ounce of the weekends to work on new content for you!
Something that I don’t think is discussed enough in high school and college when preparing for careers is our values. We always talk about “where do you want to be in ten years,” and those big-scale plans, but never actually determine if those hopes and dreams match our values.
Work values are the characteristics that need to match between our needs as a person and the expectations at work. For example, one of my values is family, so I need to find a job that is congruous with that need -whether that is a good time-off plan, flexible hours … etc. We all have different values and they each manifest in our expectations differently.
In order to develop through our careers and live out our purpose, we need to identify those strongest values. This helps us articulate our needs in interviews and salary negotiations, while also being aware of the company culture to ensure that it’s the right fit for what we’re looking for.
To understand your values you want to reflect on the importance of each of these in your career:
Your core values: achievement, success, family, honesty, respect, spirituality, balance, independence, power and integrity. What drives you most?
The type of work environment you want: flexible, fast-paced, well-paid, quiet, learning, location, time freedom and the structure. Where do you feel most confident to fulfill your duties
How you want to interact with colleagues: strong management, diversity, competition, leadership, friendships, teamwork, support, open communication and recognition. What types of relationships do you want at work?
What work activities you want to experience: challenging, analytical, public interfacing, risk-taking, research, creative, helping and physical. Where do you thrive?
Once you know and recognize your most important values, it will be easier for you identify positions that will be a good fit and lead to longevity with a company or career. Many people leave positions or companies because of a dissonance between their personal values and the company’s work values, so identifying your’s early in your career will only help you feel greater satisfaction in the future. For example, if family and structure are important values to someone, then a job which has a lot of travel or work during odd or unpredictable hours may not be the best fit. If that person knows that from the beginning of their career, it can help them identify better positions in those fields that they will enjoy.
For me, my most important values are family, open communication, helping, and independence, which is very obvious in how I approach my work and what I look for in a company/institution. What about you? What are your most important values? Let me know in the comments!