An entire section could be dedicated to values, but it is not the mission of this guide. We will focus on values as they relate to your career and the workplace. People expect to achieve certain ideals from their jobs, employers, and careers. The workplace values, concepts, and ideas that you hold dear have a direct impact on your satisfaction with your job, with your career, and even with your life.
When you understand the values you cherish most highly, you can make an evaluation about whether your current employer (or a prospective employer) supports those values. In addition, if you are considering a career change, understanding your values is critical to identifying a new career path.
How well do you know your workplace values? If you are like most people, it has been a while since you have taken stock. As you begin thinking about a job or career change, it is important that you spend time thinking about what you value in the workplace — and what you need in your life.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Values
Values can be defined as “intrinsic” or “extrinsic.” Intrinsic values are those that relate to a specific interest in the activities of the work itself, or to the benefits that the work contributes to society. Some examples are:
- Mental challenge/mentally demanding/problem-solving
- Helping others
- Working with others
- Creative artistic expression
Extrinsic values relate to the favorable conditions that accompany an occupational choice, such as physical setting, earning potential, and other external features. Some examples are:
- Stability and security
- Strong financial compensation and financial rewards
- Glamour, prestige, respect, or a level of social status
It is important to satisfy both your intrinsic and extrinsic values to be happy in your career. While both types of values are important, most people, in order to feel truly satisfied with their work, must find some personal intrinsic value in it.
Your Homework:Your Values
Please take 20 to 30 minutes to do the following assignment. It will help you begin to identify and gain greater clarity on your values.
Step 1: Review the values lists below and think about the importance that you place on each of the following workplace values. If you have values that are not on the list, please add them to the list before you prioritize it. Understanding your values can help you select a career that is more aligned with the qualities and beliefs that you value in work, in others and in yourself.
I am interested in jobs and careers that include…
|Creating things||Ongoing learning|
|Mental challenge||Positive working relationships|
|Physical challenge||Teamwork, work groups|
|Work-life balance||Stewardship, mentoring|
|Intellectual status/expertise||Routine, predictable work|
|Order and structure||Deadlines, time challenges|
|Competition||Opportunities for advancement|
|Integrity||Avoidance of pressure, comfort|
|Loyalty, dependability||Working with the public|
|Self-respect, pride in work||Using pioneering technologies|
|Stability and security||Leadership, influence|
|Financial compensation/rewards||Authority, decision-making|
|Public recognition for work||Respect|
|Variety, change of pace||Adventure|
Note: Add any values to the list that are important to you but not reflected above.
Step 2: Using the list above identify your top 5-7 most important values and write a few sentences about why they are meaningful to you. Were they always important to you or have they recently become important?
You now have a list of core values that represent who you are…it is this core group of values that help determine your level of satisfaction with your job and your career — and these values should also be used to judge the level of “fit” with any future job, company, industry change or career change.