As part of the Universities ‘Skills and Employability week’ here in Careers we decided to focus our blog posts on the one dilemma that every one of us will be confronted by at some point in our working lives, “I am not sure what I want to do”. In case you missed it, do check out our blog post where I explained how you can use the ‘Team Dynamics Indicator’ tests to understand your personality and work preference which can help you to navigate career decision making. In today’s post, I want to introduce you to the Values Based Indicator test which will hopefully support you in identifying the values that matter to you the most. Values in a nutshell define why we work. An alignment between your career and your values produces satisfaction and fulfilment – so it really is worth considering this as part of your career thinking.
It is a little simplistic to say we work for money. Of course this is a factor but us humans are much more nuanced. Consider this – you have two job offers (see below), they both pay the same and you are qualified to do them both. Which one will you pick? Crucially what factors did you consider in making your choice?
|Job Offer # 1||Job Offer # 2|
|Call Centre Manager||Sales Trainer|
|· Rising money for a charity||· Autonomy to plan your schedule|
|· Fast paced and variety||· Creativity to engage with different audiences|
|· Managing a team||· Work from your home office|
|· Easy commute||· Travel all over the UK|
Values to me act like anchors and give us confidence in our decision making. Whilst most people will be able to quote their ideals (often these come from parents or peers) it can be difficult to articulate and identify your core values. I am a big fan on the Values Based Indicator tests which helps you identify your values in four main areas:
- Personal satisfaction: what I want for myself
- Personal development: what I want to become
- Relationship satisfaction: what I want from and with others
- Community orientation: what I want from the community
You’ll receive a list of your 6-top values spread across the four main areas above. Check out the sample report which will give you an idea of what to expect.
Going back to the two job offers above – what factors did you consider? Your values can help determine how and where you apply your skills. In the example above – one could argue that both roles involve elements of sales but your values may determine whether you opt for the call centre role (raise money for a charity) or choose the sales role (where you have lots of autonomy).
Your values give you a sense of purpose and are guideposts to what fits you best. According to Inside Higher Ed, if you are working in a role or organisation that is not a good match for your values, your “symptoms” may vary from mild to strong. On the mild side, you might feel a general sense of discomfort or a lack of connection with your situation. Feeling a lack of motivation and constantly wanting to take a day off are other indicators that there could be a mismatch. On the extreme end, a misalignment between your career and your values could make you completely miserable.
Therefore being clear about your values can not only help with decision making when you are job hunting but can also help you understand why you might be feeling dissatisfied in your current role. According to psychologist Sabina Reed, our values tend to define our priorities; so doing a job that aligns with your values means that you are more likely to be content and satisfied at work. For example, if cooperation or compassion is a an important value, it’s likely that you’ll be suited to a job where you help and work closely with others, or if resourcefulness is an important value for you, an ideal job may be one where you have to find clever ways to overcome obstacles. Reed says, "most employers welcome employees who know what makes themselves tick and being authentic ultimately results in increased productivity and well-being which serves everyone’s needs”