Tools to help you make better job choices

Tools to help you make better job choices

So you are unclear about what your next job should be. You’ve thought about your skills set perhaps, and maybe what you enjoy doing? But have you included your Values – what is important to you?

At CCS, we often see people for career coaching who are a bit stuck. This is often because they have conflicting values. Consider Rena.

Rena works for an organisation with 30,000 employees worldwide. She is the mother of two small children, and provides the steady income in her family, her husband being a contracted carpenter. Rena has worked in her role as a Customer Service Adviser for the last six years, and both she and her manager believe she is ready for promotion. But the only openings available right now involve a posting abroad. Rena is torn, as although she knows she could do the job, it would involve a major upheaval for her family – her children are settled at school with good friends, and her husband at the moment has a reasonable amount of work.

It can be useful to think about what your values are, and to include them when deciding on best next steps. Try this exercise:

Work Values Exercise

On a scale of 1-10 mark how important each of the following Values is to you. 1- of no importance and 10= of the most utmost importance. Then, pick out the six most important Work Values and the three least important.

I suggest you complete the exercise twice, as your current mood may influence your results. Consider the actual meaning of the words, such as ‘responsibility’ – reflect on questions such as ‘what does this Value look like in practice?’ For example, one person might see responsibility as leading a large team, while someone else could see it as being given the freedom to carry out the job requirements.

To have the company of other people
To belong to a team
To be involved actively in family life
To be sought out for advice
To do something useful for society
To have a role that commands respect
To help, care for and nurture others
To make a great deal of money for myself and others
To be free of concern over my economic needs
To accomplish important things
To take risks
To have considerable responsibility
To use skill and judgement
To learn new skills
To have competition
To be recognised for my contributions
To have professional and personal growth at work
To be well known
To lead other people
To influence the thoughts and actions of others
To use my expertise and be recognised for it
To seek knowledge
To learn new skills
To have a great deal of autonomy
To have variety of work
To use my creativity and originality
To be my own boss
To work alone
To work at my own pace
To develop and create new ideas
To achieve important things
To live simply, away from crowds and sophistication
To live the ‘good life’: near theatres, restaurants, etc
To have ‘work-life balance’
To be busy most of the time
To have security and stability of employment
To solve complex problems

Now ask yourself these questions:

  • Which of your top Work Values would be met by the job roles you are considering?
  • Which would not?
  • Which Work Values would compensate for those that will not be met?
  • If you were offered a job role, and it met every Work Value except one, and that missing Value made you decide to turn down the job, what would that missing Value be?
  • If you were offered a job role which was quite ok ( but not fantastic), and yet one opportunity it gave you made you shout “Yes, I’ll take it”, would that opportunity be?
  • Which of your work values have changed over the past 3-5 years?
  • Which of your top work values do you need to act on now, and which ones could you either put off or work towards? ( eg if, like Rena, your family commitments prevent you from taking a role with travel, could you use the time to learn a new language?)

Do talk over your answers above with a trusted friend, colleague, coach or mentor. Talking it through can stop you going round in circles.

No job choice will ever be perfect. And there are many factors to consider which are complementary to Work Values. (eg would I enjoy it? Would I be good at it?). But, if you make your choice trusting that your most important Values will be met (or that you can work towards them becoming met), then you are more likely to live comfortably with your decision.

Career Coaching gives an opportunity for anyone facing a tricky work decision to talk over the most significant and some times conflicting factors, which can make all the difference.


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