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Are your Values Valuable?

What are your values? Before we can talk about specific values as they apply to your work or career, we first have to touch on what values are in general. They are the beliefs and ideas that are important to you and which you use to guide your everyday actions. Examples of what may constitute your Individual core values may be honesty, self-respect, work hard, and achievement.

These overarching principles are an important part of who you are and what paths you choose to follow. It’s important to understand what internal and external forces can be at play when it comes to the decisions we make, and why.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Values – What is the Difference?

We all have both intrinsic and extrinsic values that affect the choices we make. Intrinsic values have to do more with our internal motivations. Do you like helping others? Do you enjoy the work you do because it is challenging?

Extrinsic values are more concerned with the by-products a decision or action may have. They refer to what you get out of making a choice or decision – in other words, the external rewards. Will you earn more money? Will you be recognised by your peers? Will you be known as a valuable leader?

Identifying your Work Values

Ignoring your values, particularly when it comes to your work, will greatly diminish your chances of being satisfied with your career or job. As such, it is imperative that you identify them early on within your career to make sure that you get the most out of your working life.

One of the easiest ways to determine what your important work values are is to compile an inventory of work values and rank them in order of importance to you. By having this list ready and close to you, it allows you make informed decisions when it comes to your work choices and where they may lead you.

Some examples of value items that could appear on your inventory may be:

  • Independence: freedom to work and make decisions on your own
  • Relationships: positive working connections with co-workers
  • Support: having supportive management
  • Helping Others: assisting individuals or groups
  • Job Security: a high probability that one will remain employed
  • Collaboration: working creatively with others
  • Helping Society: contributing to the betterment of the world
  • Compensation: your pay rate
  • Leadership:  managing others
  • Influence: affecting people’s opinions and ideas

Do any of these resonate with you? Write down your values and keep a note of when they change, when new values are added, and how the order of importance may shift.