Determining how your values might influence your job search.

Values play a large part in how we make our ways in the world. Values can be expressed through what we say to and about others, they can determine how we behave in our daily lives, and they can shape our most fundamental and most complex decisions. When you have a clear sense of your job-related values, you can focus your efforts on finding a good career match for the things you find most important.

Happiness with your employment will be strongly influenced by whether your job dovetails with what you’ve decided is important for yourself and your lifestyle. If you value freedom over security you might prefer self-employment over working for a single-location company run by others. If you value a good work-life balance, you will likely prefer a job that does not require long overtime hours or a lot of travel. If you value a high salary and fast career advancement, you will probably find more satisfaction at a large corporation instead of a small non-profit organization.

You will be able to make a more informed career decision when you can thoughtfully weigh your values (in the order of their true importance) against the jobs you investigate. It’s crucial to recognize that more than one of your values may be met or in conflict in any one position, and that negotiating these matches or conflicts is part of making a good employment decision. There are times when people choose to compromise on some values because their most important values are matched in a given position. Remember: It’s easier to compromise on values of less importance than those about which you feel most strongly.

As you become more engaged with others in the workplace, your co-workers’ values may influence your own. Most people in working relationships have many common or shared values, but there will almost always be some differences. It’s important to be respectful of these differences, while also being aware of what is of greatest importance to you. That way, you can make an informed and sensitive decision when you are in a work situation that might call for a compromise.

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