Find Your Career Flare – Your Values

Career Decision Wheel
Model by Norm Amundson
Image by Jody Little

Actor and comedian Jim Carrey believes that: “…everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” 

Who you are and how you act is more important than what you do or what you make.  Even if you value fame and fortune, in going through this assessment process you will better understand how all aspects of the wheel work together for a best fit.

In some ways, values overlap with other spokes on the Career Decision Wheel.  Values such as ‘helping others’ are obvious and in alignment with the ‘social’ career interests as well as the “ENFP” personal style type, while a value of ‘material possessions’ and ‘financial comfort’ goes well with the career interest of “enterprising”.

Finding work that looks for these overlaps can help in maximizing career satisfaction.  When your work isn’t in alignment with your values, it may be difficult to get interested in what you are doing – or worse, when your work contradicts your values, you may find yourself completely disengaged and dissatisfied.

Personal values also need to be considered. For example, if you value ethics and a particular employer doesn’t share this value, while your career might be in alignment, the employer may not.  Also, if you value a particular type of community involvement, such as coaching a soccer team or participating in religious activities and your work doesn’t allow for that, you may need to consider alternative career or workplace options.  As always, compromise may be inevitable but finding the right balance is critical.

Values in Career: A True Story

A college instructor valued both the pursuit of knowledge and being considered a subject matter expert.  He felt that this was the best fit for being considered as Dean of his program and applied when the vacancy came up.  However, upon reflection, he realized that he was least fulfilled when students didn’t appreciate all the information he had to share with them, and was most satisfied when his colleagues came to him for tips on his subject area and for ideas on teaching style.  At first, he was disappointed when he didn’t get promoted to the role as Dean, but when he learned about his colleague who valued working under pressure, making decisions and supervising others, he realized that the college administration had made the best choice.  Instead, he created a personal plan that included attending conferences on his subject area, writing more white papers on his subject area, and opportunities to work with colleagues as a mentor, and removed the idea of being the head of the department from his career path.

Values Assessments

Although it is ideal to pursue work that is congruent with your values, in the short term that may not be possible.  When your values aren’t in alignment in your work, you may need to ensure that your values are met through volunteering, extra curricular activities, and/or through family.  Understanding what needs are not being met in any aspect of life and career can help in identifying gaps and coming up with long term solutions.  Having a plan to fill these gaps can make any short term plan more bearable as well.

Here are a few assessments that may help you assess your values:

Career Values Scale:  http://www.testingroom.com

Work Preference Inventory:  http://www.careerperfect.com/content/career-planning-work-preference-inventory

Next Steps

Once you have completed your Values assessments, you might find it helpful to note your top five values on your own Career Decision Wheel.  Start to look for those emerging patterns of what overlaps from one section of your wheel to the next.  Look for inconsistencies and question why that might be.  Make note of these questions to discuss with significant others in your life.  Look to see if there are opportunities you have – or have not – seen before.  Note them as you progress through the rest of the Career Decision Wheel.  If at any point you feel stuck, consider meeting with a professional Career Development Practitioner.  They can help provide you with appropriate assessments and other tools to help you make the best career choices.  Stay tuned for the next Career Decision Wheel blog on Personal Style.

Sarah Nelson’s educational background includes education, linguistics, and career development. Professionally a Career Development Practitioner with a CHRP designation, Sarah has a vast array of work experience across several industries. Her early career began in the hospitality industry and has morphed into a career with a strong focus on education, including being a School Trustee in the public education system, a Learning Consultant in the career development field, and a college instructor.

Her main areas of interest include communication and the power of words, innovation and creativity, living with passion and purpose and a desire to see the world full of lifelong learners who want to ‘be the change’. Sarah is also a “midnight genealogist” with a desire to uncover lost roots for herself and others, with a desire to learn from the past to live in the present and create a better future.  Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn at  http://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahnelson71 or Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/sarahnelson71.

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