Perhaps the most important consideration in evaluating your career is prioritizing your core values. Here, the key word is prioritizing. We all have many core values, some of them are in harmony, while others compete with each other. For example, you may have “being a great parent” as a core value, and you also may have “doing whatever it takes to do a thorough job at work.” What happens when you have a big project at work which you are the team leader, but you also have a 12 year old who needs encouragement every morning to overcome his fear of going to school because he is being bullied? To do a great job at work, you need to be there at 7 a.m. when your team arrives, but 7 a.m. is the time you need to be there for your child.
Here your core values are competing, and in a situation like this, you are forced to make a tough choice. This is when you really recognize what your core values are. I find that to truly understand what your core values are, you need to look at what actions you take, rather than what your espouse your values to be.
When I do a career check up, I ask my clients to do the following exercise:
- Make a list of all your core values
- Rank your core values in order
- Using a 10pt scale, grade each value on how well your current job enables you to uphold each
- Have your significant other do the same with their own values and job
- Discuss the results together
- Develop an action plan:
- Decide if your job substantially conflicts with your values, can you make changes with your job or do you need to change jobs?
- If your work/life values interfere with your ability to do your job well, can you find a creative solution to uphold both? For example, in the situation I described above, you could stay home two days a week to see the child off and find someone else to lead the team on the morning you’re not there.
I would love to hear from you about your views on this key topic. Please post on my blog, send me an email, or give me a call.
Enjoy your day, listen well, and keep in touch!