How to Access Your Career Values
When considering a new job or career, your career values count as one of the most important factors that will guide your choices. These values will help when you decide on a potential company or position for employment.
Your career values represent the beliefs you have about what is important in your work, and what makes it meaningful to you.
What Do You Want From a Job?
People look for different things in their jobs. Some will look for prestige, while others seek a creative outlet, and still, others want flexible hours and independence. The list of desires can include earning a high income and meeting and interacting with people. Of course, the chance for advancement in the career field is also a primary driver of why people will choose any particular position.
As you can see from this list, values vary greatly from person to person. What matters to one may mean little to another person. So, it is essential to understand the unique makeup of your value system.
Once you figure out what you value, you’ll have the answer to what motivates you to do your best job, and you can use this knowledge to guide your employment choices.
Some career theorists believe that how well a job or career satisfies our values should be the most important consideration when evaluating options.
These theorists posit that work which lines up with our values will be more meaningful, and we will be more likely to invest our energies to master the roles and achieve success. Most career experts recommend considering personality traits, interests and abilities in conjunction with values when making career choices.
Identifying Your Values
One way to identify your career values is to look at a list of examples and rate how much each of the items matters to you. Rate the list on a scale of one to ten. Then examine some of the highest-rated values and choose six to ten that should have the greatest weight when considering career and alternatives.
You can also separate these descriptive terms into categories, such as who, what, where, and workload. Instead of a numerical ranking system, you may choose to rank the terms using Must have, Nice to have, Ok not to have, and Must not have.
List of Possible Career Values
Some of the values you want and require in your work or career probably involve qualities and opportunities that enhance your life emotionally and intellectually. Achieving these values as part of your job or career might make you feel challenged, inspired, and fulfilled.
Some career or job values have to do more with the environment in which you spend a large proportion of your waking hours, and the conditions under which you perform your work.
While these values may not offer as much emotional fulfillment, they can make your work life easier to navigate, such as having a mentor, or easing financial stress, because you have job security.
The following list captures examples of some of these types of values:
- Avoiding stress
- Building things
- Casual work environment
- Changing the world
- Collaborating with others
- Creating new things
- Employee benefits
- Exposure to beauty
- Fast pace
- Helping others
- High income
- High level of interaction with people
- Income-based on productivity
- Influencing others
- Intellectually demanding work
- Job security
- Moral/spiritual fulfillment
- Opportunity for advancement
- Opportunity to lead
- Opportunity to learn new things
- Outlet for creativity
- Physical activity
- Pleasant work environment
- Routine work
- Seeing tangible results from work completed
- Sharing ideas or information
- Solving problems
- Status as an expert
- Supportive management
- Team membership
- Time freedom
- Variety of tasks
- Work/life balance
- Working alone
- Working outside
You can also use this list to generate ideas for different types of jobs or positions to explore if you’re in the midst of a job search, and flesh out your resume by adding a few in your resume’s employment objective section and in your cover letter.
Doyle, A. (2019, October 23). How to Assess Your Career Values. Retrieved April 7, 2021, from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-are-career-values-with-examples-2059752
Now it is time to do some self assessment to gain a better understanding of your values. Complete the Personal Values Assessment. Once you have completed the assessment, your results will be emailed to you. Then go ahead and reflect on the following prompts:
- What were the top 10 values you chose in the assessment?
- Among those 10, what are your top 3 Values, based on what you learned about yourself from the Personal Values Assessment and the list of values they asked you to examine?
- Think about these values related to your future career.
- How can you imagine these values being represented by a possible career? Do these values create any conflicts for you in terms of thinking about a career?
- What occupations might allow you to express your work values?
- Directly reference the course materials and try to consider ideas, events and experiences in a variety of ways. This is a good place to examine and challenge your belief systems.
Personal Values Assessment (PVA). (2020, May 06). Retrieved April 7, 2021, from https://www.valuescentre.com/tools-assessments/pva/
Passion or Purpose?
You may have had people ask you, “What are passionate about?” Or try to give you sage advice by telling you, “Just follow your passion.”
But passion is tricky. How do we know what we are passionate about? Maybe we have fleeting passions – one week it’s psychology, the next week it’s all about animals. Maybe we’ve never felt the spark of being passionate about something or we don’t know what that is supposed to feel like.
Luckily, researchers at Stanford University have found that following one’s passion is not always the best advice and in fact, it can narrow one’s focus to the point that other options are neglected or not noticed.
Stanford researchers: Follow your passion advice could make you less successful
By Abigail Johnson Hess, June 2018
“If your college graduation speaker told you to “follow your passion,” you may want to ignore them.
According to an upcoming paper in Psychological Science written by three Stanford researchers, that advice may actually make people less successful, since it unrealistically implies an easy path to success and narrows your focus too much.
Stanford psychologists Carol Dweck and Gregory Walton, with the help of former Stanford postdoctoral fellow Paul O’Keefe, conducted a series of laboratory studies that examined the belief systems that lead people to succeed or fail.
The researchers recruited participants from two categories: those who were passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and those who were passionate about humanities and the arts.
Over five experiments, the researchers observed a total of 470 participants as they read articles and watched videos on subjects that interested them and on subjects that did not interest them. Participants who were deeply interested in only one topic were less likely to finish and understand the materials.
The researchers concluded that popular mantras like “follow your passion” make people think that pursuing a passion will be easy. Believers are then more likely to give up when they face challenges or roadblocks.
They also found that focusing on following a single passion made people less likely to consider new potential areas of interest. This close-minded view can be detrimental to the success of the individual and to the success of communities, says Walton.
“Many advances in sciences and business happen when people bring different fields together, when people see novel connections between fields that maybe hadn’t been seen before,” he says.
O’Keefe adds that the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, making people who are able to make connections between fields such as art, technology and the social sciences more valuable than ever.
“If you are overly narrow and committed to one area, that could prevent you from developing interests and expertise that you need to do that bridging work,” says Walton.
Instead of thinking of your career as an opportunity to follow your passion, the researchers suggest thinking of life as a series of opportunities to develop several passions.
“If you look at something and think, ‘that seems interesting, that could be an area I could make a contribution in,’ you then invest yourself in it,” says Walton. “You take some time to do it, you encounter challenges, over time you build that commitment.”
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star on ABC’s hit reality television show, “Shark Tank,” takes this line of thinking one step further.
“One of the great lies of life is ‘follow your passions,’” said Cuban as part of the Amazon Insights for Entrepreneurs series. “Everybody tells you, ‘Follow your passion, follow your passion.’”
He argues that people should focus on their strengths rather than their passions, because we are not always good at the things that interest us the most and because perfecting a strength can become a passion.
“I used to be passionate to be a baseball player. Then I realized I had a 70-mile-per-hour fastball,” jokes Cuban. Competitive major league pitchers throw fastballs in the range of 90-plus miles per hour.
“When you look at where you put in your time, where you put in your effort, that tends to be the things that you are good at. And if you put in enough time, you tend to get really good at it,” he says. “If you put in enough time, and you get really good, I will give you a little secret: Nobody quits anything they are good at because it is fun to be good. It is fun to be one of the best.”
Hess, A.J. (2018) Following your passion makes you less successful. Retrieved April 9, 2021, from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/22/stanford-researchers-following-your-passion-makes-you-less-successful.html
Many years ago, I was guilty of having students search or strive to uncover their passion. I don’t do this anymore. Instead, I encourage students to think about purpose. What purpose do you want to serve? Below is an article that addresses this idea.
Beyond A Career, Have An Awesome Life Purpose
By Raquel Vaz, September 2018
“Since I was young, I’ve noticed that there are people who stand out from the crowd. The earliest role models I admired were grade school teachers that had something more in their eyes. They showed passion in their work educating students, and I wanted to follow their examples.
These were people with something more, something that was beyond my comprehension, but effectively mesmerized everyone around them. There was something magical about it. These teachers had the power to make learning special, and, at the same time, natural.
Later in life, I found that same glint in the eyes from leaders of social movements, environmentalists, and successful professionals.
From observing these great leaders, I discovered the meaning of purpose: passion, a reason behind goals and actions that motivate you to get up every day to do something more than just making money.
True success goes beyond stereotypes.
Purpose helps you—defining and measuring what true professional success means to you. Though ideals of success exist and society has created those stereotypes, your professional achievement is personal and distinctive.
A fast-paced and stressful executive life can be defined as successful by more competitive types, while it is far from the ideal of a person seeking a more peaceful life, such as an owner of a yoga studio—and vice versa.
Is having a personal purpose the key to professional achievement?
More important than pursuing a great career is chasing what fulfills you. Everything indicates that knowing and accepting yourself as well as discovering and following your passion is the right path for anyone who wants success.
Who doesn’t want to be a successful professional? Find what moves you and move towards that direction.
You are right to believe that taking that direction is not simple. I also realized that it would be too innocent to believe so. However, not all successful professionals carry the same brightness in their eyes. On the contrary, a successful career often comes with a great burden.
So, how is having a purpose different in bringing true professional success?
Certainly, when a person is aware of their personal purpose, their choices are more assertive and their goals clearer. Making a choice is saying no to a host of other possibilities. When you’re clear about your purpose, you can make decisions with the certainty that you’re choosing the best path for yourself.
The challenges and the battles in following your purpose does not make the path simple; it remains arduous, so don’t get discouraged along the way.
Thankfully, there is a big difference in your journey of purpose. It is the way you face universal life challenges and the unknown strengths within you to face each one of them:
Knowing to choose what battles to fight
The major difference is that the purpose allows you to know what battles you want to fight and which ones are not worth pursuing.
Not everything we do on a day-to-day basis is enjoyable, and sometimes we can lose focus and even fight over things that will not make a big difference for us or where we work. When we know our “why” we can focus our energy easier.
Holding a firm and proper posture
When you know your aspiration and goals, the way to act is coherent to what you believe in, therefore, more natural.
So, especially for women, the purpose helps to have a firmer and more accurate stance in a variety of situations—including when facing somewhat hostile corporate environments.
Do not allow yourself to be limited
Unfortunately in the corporate world—especially as a woman—it is common to allow self-limiting where your self-esteem decreases and you silence your voice. But, at times like this, purpose reminds you of who you are and who you believe you should be. It becomes clear that what others impose on you is not in line with your true limitations. You know you are more valuable—and you make yourself heard.
Fear diminishes and courage is gained
Empowerment in your profession and in your life is the incredible difference of having clarity in your personal purpose. The courage to be who you are allows you to take more risks, take more action, and speak up. Job changes or entrepreneurial adventures become less complex. It makes you understand that when you fall, you just get up and move on. Your purpose gives you the strength to lift your head when wolves try to devour you. It clarifies what you want, but especially what you do not want for yourself.
The magic is in you. In your ability to believe in what you were born to do.
The strength of a purpose does not make the path simpler, but it empowers and equips you to face each obstacle.
You gain strength from being yourself without fear. You begin to have more courage to follow what you want, not what society tries to tell you is necessary to be a successful professional.
You can and should define what success means to you. So, I challenge you to answer these questions for yourself:
- Is the success model I see out there what really makes me happy?
- What could make my eyes shine every day?
- Success! What is it to me?
- What should be the measure of my success?
Being successful can be as simple as doing small day-to-day tasks that make you feel good about yourself.”
Vaz, R. (2018) Beyond a career, have an awesome life purpose. Retrieved April 9, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2018/09/27/beyond-a-career-have-an-awesome-life-purpose/?sh=431990e269ec
VALUES AND SELF-ESTEEM AND PURPOSE, OH MY!
At this point, you might be wondering how self-esteem, values, and purpose work together. Saundra Loffredo (2017) suggests that our values give us a “sense of purpose” and acts as guides towards careers that might fit us best.
So, at the risk of over-simplifying this process, we might say that our values lead to our purpose and our self-esteem is what allows us to acknowledge and act on our purpose. Of course, a lower self-esteem can hold us back and keep us from action, which is why it is important to check our self-esteem and consider whether or not it needs some enhancement.