Understand Your Work & Career Values to Make Informed Career Choices

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Your career values provide direction to a satisfying career.

What are Career Values?

Career values reflect the qualities of a career or job that are satisfying, rewarding and motivating to you. They reflect what you want in a career. This includes factors such as what type of environment and working conditions are an ideal fit for you, your preference in work relationships, content you prefer to focus on, and level of responsibility.

“Values give us the stars by which we navigate ourselves through life.” – Simon

Knowing your values provides important criteria for career decisions and evaluating employment opportunities. There is an important dynamic relationship between our individual values and those of organizations or groups in which we work and spend most of our time. Understanding how your values align with a particular group or organization is important in any career decision-making process. Pursuing a career or position that incorporates your most important values can make a big difference in job satisfaction, stress level and even anxiety and/or depression.

Values and Career Dissatisfaction

Often career dissatisfaction can be a result of a mismatch with your most important values. Clarifying your values can help you identify what exactly is missing from your current position. Prioritizing your career values can help you identify better fit organizations, environments and opportunities. If you found a position that was near “perfect” in meeting your values, you might be willing to sacrifice on other qualities as long as your top values and needs were met. As you clarify your values, think of the specifics of what each value means to you so you can clearly define your search for work that will satisfy you.

To find out your most important career values, take our career values quiz.

The elements of a satisfying career include alignment with your most important values, fit with your personality type, match with your career interests and alignment with your skills and strengths.

“Being true to your values can liberate creative energy and make you more capable of finding your way intact through a tough transition.” – Everett

Questions to Ask to Assess Organizational or Career Fit with Your Work Values

When researching and conducting informational interviews on potential career options or

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Navigate your way towards a satisfying career.

organizations or interviewing for a job, the following questions can help you assess how well their values fit with yours. Some questions may be more appropriate in the research phase vs. the interview phase. Keep in mind that the questions you ask in an interview also reveal what is important to you, so conduct any research you can ahead of time so you can be selective in the interview. Select the questions that fit with your most important work and career values.

“Shared values are the foundation for building productive and genuine working relationships.” – Posner

Intrinsic Values

  • Do you have a mission statement?
  • How are decisions typically made?
  • How supportive is the organization regarding family obligations? Do you have an employer childcare?
  • What traits have led to success in the organization?
  • What do you like about the organization? Dislike?
  • How is performance evaluated? What is rewarded?
  • What kind of customer service do you provide?
  • How would you rate quality of your product/service?
  • Are there significant numbers of women in management? People of color?
  • How much turnover is there?
  • Have layoffs occurred recently? Do you feel alternatives have been explored?
  • How is telecommuting, job-sharing, part-time work regarded here?
  • How is the competition seen?
  • Is there an effort to conserve/recycle?
  • Would you give the product/service of this organization to someone you love as a gift?

Work Environment Values

  • Are people expected to work within well-defined policies and procedures?
  • Is there encouragement for flexibility and innovation?
  • Do people have much fun? Do you notice people laughing?
  • What kinds of things do people do at lunchtime?
  • Do managers have a sense of humor?
  • Is there much opportunity / encouragement for mobility, cross-training, lateral moves, etc.?
  • What is the pace of work like? Are there peaks and valleys, or is it fairly constant?
  • How much flexibility is there in scheduling?
  • What is the normal dress code? How much latitude is there?
  • Do people set their own deadlines within reason?
  • What is your typical work schedule in an average week? Is it typical to work nights and/or weekends?

Work Content Values

  • What do you like most and least about your work?
  • Is working on the leading edge or producing a high quality product more important here?
  • Is innovation valued?
  • Can you manage your own work flow or does the nature of the work dictate the pace?
  • Are decisions often made close to the point of action here, or more likely to require management approval?
  • What kind of training is provided for new people?
  • What is a typical day/week like for you?
  • Are there multiple career tracks here?
  • Are there programs for quality management, skill sharing, team building?

Work Relationship Values

  • Do people collaborate or work more independently?
  • Is individual technical competence highly valued, or is it more important to work within the team?
  • Do people eat together? Go out together after work?
  • To what extent do you think office politics makes it difficult for you to do your work?
  • Is there much consensus decision-making here? Or does it happen more unilaterally?
  • How easy is it to ask for help here?
  • Do new teams form, or do people tend to work in the same groups over the longer term?
  • How is conflict dealt with here?
  • How well do departments work together?

Career Coaching Can Help You Find a Rewarding Career

Eddins Counseling Group’s career coaches in Houston can work with you in person, via phone, or teleconference regardless of your location. Sometimes, it can be helpful to have an outside perspective to help you put the pieces together and identify a rewarding career path. Give us a call if you’re ready to take the next step in your career. To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

For additional resources for your career, visit our career resources page or download our guide, “7 Steps to Making Positive Career Choices.”

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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