Whether you are a high school student making a decision about your college selection, a college student interviewing for that first post-college job, or a member of the workforce trying to determine your next directional move, Values need to be a part of your thought and decision-making process. Values play an important part in our work life satisfaction and they can shift at various points in our lives causing increased joy in our work or “values disconnects.”
During these transition points in life, it is a good time to assess personal values either by making a list or completing a values survey/inventory. That way, the values that are most important are clearly in focus and part of the consideration process or even the interviews themselves.
I frequently remind clients that when they are being interviewed at colleges or for jobs, they too should be conducting an interview. Part of your responsibility through that interview is to determine the level at which your values will be satisfied through participation with that organization. On a scale of 1-10, where is money on your value scale? What about time with friends or family? Religion? Recognition? Fun? The list here could go on, but the important list is your list and the important point is that you structure questions to provide the answers you need to know in your process. When your list does not match with the college or the job, there is a “values disconnect” and dissatisfaction sets in. Dissatisfaction leads to diminished performance and reduced productivity.
There are no guarantees for any of the decisions we make regarding our schools of choice, the jobs we take or the directions we set for career paths. But we can be proactive, employ good decision-making strategies, and feel confident about the choices we make when values are part of the decision-making process.