Career Values for your Life and Career

How are your Career Values aligned with your present career? In order to answer this question, you need to first identify your Career Values. A Career Value is a quality that you consider to have worth and importance, in terms of your career. It is what you feel makes your work meaningful and what motivates you to work. Before starting my work as a career counsellor, if someone had asked about my Career Values, I may have had a vague idea about how to answer this question for myself. Now, I have the tools and knowledge to be able to articulate what my Career Values are and how I prioritize them in my life and career. Helping identify and articulate Career Values is typically part of the career exploration process I use with clients as a Vancouver Career Counsellor. The Career Values exercise allows the client to take an inventory of Career Values relative to his/her current career and next steps from there. For clients such as students who are new to work life, understanding Career Values can help uncover where to start looking in terms of determining career direction.

Identifying and prioritizing Career Values is a very subjective process. It can be very challenging for some. Once Career Values have been sorted into priority, determining how they are aligned with the work you are currently doing and/or the career(s) you are considering can help validate a career decision, or it may lead to more questions and further investigations. One question would be whether or not there appears to be a high level of agreement with your Career Values and what that means. In analyzing your results, don’t assume that high or low congruence necessarily means that your relative job satisfaction should be accordingly high or low. It is possible for career and Career Values to be in full alignment, but to be unsatisfied in your chosen career, and vice versa.

Factors that may contribute to a situation where you are unhappy at work, despite a high compatibility between career and Career Values, include burnout, underachieving at work, poor work communication and toxic work colleagues or environment. Perhaps on paper, it looks like you are in an almost perfect career, but there are many other aspects that make this a much more complex matter. Conversely, you may identify that there appears to be a significant level of discord between your chosen work and your Career Values, but you enjoy the work you do. Perhaps the areas where you are not fulfilling your Career Values in a work setting are being addressed outside your career, such as in hobbies and interests you pursue in your personal time? In this case, the compromises you seem to be making regarding your Career Values at work are outweighed by other work factors such as good compensation or close proximity to your residence or work/life balance, etc. An assumption may be the ideal is that your career is highly congruent with Career Values and you are completely fulfilled in your chosen career. Many people are able to achieve this, but it may not be realistic for everyone, and may actually limit career possibilities if you do not consider other alternatives to this ideal.

It can be helpful to realize what your Career Values are and to be aware of how aligned those values are with the work you are doing or considering, but like any intricate issue, context is very important. Reviewing Career Values is one part of a much bigger process in the area of career exploration and should be included in a holistic approach to your career journey. In answering the question: How are your Career Values aligned with your present career? Do not be too quick to reply in case you overlook a significant piece in what can be perceived as the puzzle of your career development. What piece of that puzzle is going to help you decide how to Work Your Dream in your life and career?