Values in Job Search


“What’s in a name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet were talking about value. What’s the value of a name? Of a rose? Values are important, especially in…you guessed it…job satisfaction. This post talks about identifying values in your job search so you can find the Romeo or Juliet of your career.

rose by any other name

First off, let’s talk about what VALUES are in relation to work. Values are the part of a job that a person gives priority to or believes has worth.

Here are some ideas of what you may find valuable in a job:

                                                         -High Wages                  -Easy Commute

                                                        -Time Flexibility           -Onsite Childcare

                                                         -Travel                             -Company Car

                                                         -High Status                 -Meaningful/Altruistic Work

                                                         -Diversity                       -401 K & Benefits

                                                         -Big Bonuses                -Time Off

                                                          -Fame                           -Job Security

                                                         -Autonomy                 -Compatibility with Co-workers

These are just a few examples. Now pretend you had $5000 to bid at an auction on these values against 20 other people.

What values would you bid the highest for?

       This should give you an idea of your top values.

Would it be great to have a big salary, time off, and job security? Sure, sounds good to me and it’s not impossible to achieve. However, we must understand that all choices come with costs.  Are you willing to go to school for 8 years? Are you willing to work 80 hours a week? Are you willing to work for lower wages or for free? These are just some of the questions we might ask ourselves when evaluating the pros and cons of a job we are, or are not, willing to take.

Fortunately job searching is complex and we don’t pick our jobs alone on our values. We have the opportunity to weigh our values, our interests (what we like), and our skills (what we are good at) against the field, role, and work environment of our dream job.

role field environment

Field describes the overview of the industry you work in, such as healthcare.

Role is the specific function or behavior you perform at work, such as a Registered Nurse.

Work Environment describes the work setting, compatibility with co-workers, benefits, location, and anything you would consider a value when making a career decision.

Values are correlated with work environment which is great news. It means when you are job searching for a place to work happily, you know that you can look at companies that share your values. You don’t have to limit your job your satisfaction to accommodate a work environment that is simply not a fit for your values. And, the better you understand your values, the more easily you are to identify them in a potential workplace.

Take Action!

In your job search you should:

  1. Look at the website of a company to see if they support your values. Do they host social events, are they partnered with a charity, do they list benefits, what is their mission statement?
  2. Visit, do the employee reviews give insight into the values of the company?
  3. Ask someone who works at the company – including the person interviewing you for an opportunity. It is just as important that a company is a right fit for your happiness, as you are to theirs.
  4. Think about what is important to you. Where are you willing to make compromises and what values are essential to you?

What do you find valuable in your current career or in a potential career opportunity?


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