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Find What Values Give Meaning to Your Work

Most of us don’t think about our careers in terms of the values we hold dear. Sure, we value money and prestige on the job, but we don’t really stop to think why.

In and of itself, money is not an intrinsic value, but it may represent the values of security for self and family or independence. Experts find, though, that one of the most important elements in determining overall satisfaction, meaning, and productivity is building a good match between your values and your career.

Some assess values and decide to make a career change and find real satisfaction. Others find that more subtle shifts incorporating their values within their current jobs can achieve the same results. The important thing is to be aware of what is important to you, to find what gives your life meaning.

A Values Exercise

Here is a simple exercise to help you look at your values. Rank the values in this chart from 1-16 according to your own priorities. Then go back again and re-list those same values based on the time you actually spent on each during the past month. For example, if health is high on your priority list, but you spent little time exercising or eating right, health would fall toward the bottom of your time-actually-spent list.

Now, compare the two lists. How did you do?

Why You Feel Stress at Work

If your top priority values are low on your time-spent list, you are probably feeling stress. As you get older, attention to values plays an even more important role in the amount of stress you feel. Conversely, if your lowest priority values are high on your time-spent list, you will also experience stress.

The more and the sooner you pay attention to your values and how to bring them in sync with your careers, the more alive, productive, and enthusiastic you will feel about your work.

Most of us feel that figuring out our innermost values and matching them to our careers are “extras” in life. Nice, but not critical to personal success. The truth is just the opposite.

We can all figure out what’s really important in our lives. The sense that there is something large and meaningful to work towards, whatever that may be, can be transforming. It can make any job feel worth doing.

Values Are One Piece…

…of the Highlands Whole Person Model. At The Highlands Company, we think it’s important to look at your values along with seven other important factors to create a view of the WHOLE you. Learn more about the Highlands Whole Person Model.


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