What are your work values? Deciding what’s important in your work life


in Careers

We are constantly searching for a fulfilling & rewarding career, and in this lifelong pursuit it’s vitally important to understand and align our work values with our professional development because it leads us to bigger questions to why we do what we do.  Our values at work house our preferences, our purpose & the vision we have for our futures.  Let’s explore some more so that you can take this & apply it to your own career.

What are Work Values?

In life we are generally guided by the things we believe are important and the world of work is no different. These are called work values, they exist but with most of us not recognising them. Simply put, when what you do matches with your values you are more likely to feel content and satisfied. When they these are not aligned you can experience common symptoms of modern working life; unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.

Our values can be both internal and external. One, our internal motivators that keep us motivated and engaged such as continuing to learn or getting to be creative. Where as external values such as desired salary or health insurance are tangible rewards contributing to our job satisfaction.  Both are important with us used to gaging the benefits companies or work offer us but yet rarely are we either taught or used to measuring what is internally important.

So why are work values important then?

Simply put your work values are a fantastic measuring tool available to us all that can play an essential part the decisions we make all the time about the work we do and want to do.  They are important because of our goals and job satisfaction, keeping up engaged, helping decision making and finding our cultural fit.

How do I find out what my work values are?

There are lots of ways to do this either by yourself or indeed with a coach like me its really finding what works for you and this may change over time just as your values do. Discovering your work values for the first time can cunger up many reactions from transformative to life impacting. If you choose to it can be a lifelong tool. This process is one of reflection, selection and ranking.

Reflect first.  Ask yourself when when was I happiest at work, reflect and write it down. Ask yourself when was I most fulfilled and note this down. One last time, ask yourelf when I was I most proud and guess what write it down. Making sure you have a specific example. Then, look at the vast array of value examples on the www Values examples have a good choice and select your top 10 and finally rank them keeping in mind the three that most resonate with you. These will be your career compass so keep them close.  Often clients talk of feeling lost and mostly it is because they haven’t a clear notion of what their values are.

How do I use my work values?

By asking really great questions like What do I want from that job? What do I value at work? What do I want to be a part of (industry/sector)?  They are a valuable reference point in evaluating potential job opportunities, saving you time, energy and often heartache by not finding yourself in a company or job you hate.

Now its time to turn your focus outwards and being actively curious. Research the values of a company, read up on their culture, people & practices.  There are clues everywhere from career review sites to company websites and industry news.  It doesn’t have to stop there, speak to your circle, look at engaging in informational interviews often offered before applying to gain insights. Even at interview stage use this stage to ask focussed questions that so you get the best information to make a more informed choice at this later stage when you have often invested much.  What this shows that all along the career journey you have more opportunity and skills than we think to make impactful choices for our working lives.


as your career evolves and shifts, so do your work values. Remain open and brave to revisit your values over time ensuring they align with what is most important to you and your goals. Your strengths, skills and experience are also part of the career equation but finding values aligned work is fundatmental to your long-term career health. Try this and see if your values do become your compass to help you navigate the constantly choppy waters of our world of work.

If you’d like to know more and discover your work values and feel a coach is the person to support you with this get in touch.

Photo by Miriam Espacio on Unsplash