Have you ever had a job that you really enjoyed or one that you didn't? Most of us can say that we’ve experienced positions or employers that were great and made us happy while others made us miserable. But, why? Have you ever analyzed why you loved one job but didn’t love another?
Finding a job that's right for you is a mix of several things, including your interests and skills. But one consideration that's vastly important when trying to find a satisfying position are work values.
Finding Your Values
Work values can be different for each person and finding employers and positions that align with your work values is essential: it will increase your long term job satisfaction, motivation, and success. Jobs that don’t align with your personal work values may leave you feeling unstimulated, unfulfilled, and unhappy.
- Just because you've developed a skill or are good at something, doesn't mean it'll make you happy.
- Just because the pay is good at a particular job, doesn't mean that position will suit you.
- Just because your job is important and people look up to you, doesn't mean that position gives you satisfaction.
Below is a list of common work values. A work values career assessment can help you narrow which values mean the most to you. Next, speaking with a Certified Career Advisor can help you use your work values to pinpoint positions where you'll thrive.
Workplace conditions consist of three basic elements: working with supportive people, having fair and positive workplace policies, and a physical environment that is appealing, well-maintained, and comfortable.
Those that value workplace conditions will be unfulfilled in positions that are too strict, unsupportive, and feature uncomfortable and unattractive office spaces or buildings.
Salary | Earnings
Salary/earnings is receiving an income that makes life comfortable and advancement possible.
Those who value salary/earnings will find themselves unhappy in positions that don’t pay them a competitive wage.
Accomplishment | Achievement
Accomplishment/achievement is the feeling that your work makes a difference, is valued and important and that you’ve achieved something at the end of your day.
Those who value accomplishment/achievement will find themselves unsatisfied in positions that do not allow them to be results-oriented.
Innovation | Creativity
Innovation/creativity is the opportunity to challenge oneself and complete work independently by creating new ideas, products, processes, or procedures.
Those who value innovation/creativity will find themselves unchallenged by positions that are highly structured with little room for change.
Prestige | Influence
Prestige/influence is having a standing or estimation in the eyes or your peers due to your work or leadership.
Those who value prestige/influence will not be satisfied with positions that don’t allow them to feel important.
Any mismatch between your most important work values and your job can have a big impact on your job satisfaction.
- You may feel you haven’t achieved or accomplished anything of substance at the end of each day, despite having worked a full day.
- You may be frustrated that the structure of your position does not allow you to creatively solve problems and implement innovative solutions.
- Your co-workers and managers may be great but company policies are less than ideal.
- You’re not making enough to make ends meet or to live the type of lifestyle you'd prefer.
If your values aren’t being met, you're very likely to feel frustrated during your work day. So what can you do?
Measuring Future Employers
It's important to keep in mind that just as hiring managers want to ensure that each person they add to their team will fit well within their workplace culture, so too will you want to take responsibility for your own job satisfaction by researching the work values of any employer before accepting a job.
You can experience workplaces and their values through informational interviewing, networking, or researching a company website. Many employers have mission statements, company handbooks, and policies completely online. You may also know someone that works for that employer who could give you a feel for how they do business.
Additionally, individual positions within a company lend themselves to prestige, innovation, or achievement more readily than others. So become familiar with job duties and tasks and understand if these responsibilities will help you achieve your work values.
Finally, after you've completed your research and applied for a position at an employer that seems like a good fit, make sure to ask interview questions that will reveal additional company and position work values. Knowing whether the employer and position are a good fit before you accept a job offer can make all the difference.
Once you've learned which work values are important to you, you'll have a yard stick by which to measure future employers and job offers. Doing so will lead to positions that are a better fit and more likely to keep you happy and satisfied for years to come.