When you are working in alignment with your values, you are more likely to achieve and sustain peak performance in the role, and you are more engaged and more likely to stick with it. Richard Westney, KPMG

A few weeks ago I attended a seminar on The Role of Culture and Values in Leadership, presented by KPMG in conjunction with the Victoria Plus Award.  It made me realise how important it is to think about your values, especially your career values, when considering a job. When you establish your most fundamental values and you act upon them, you are more likely to be happy, successful and satisfied in your work. Plus, it is easier to evaluate whether your current or prospective employer provides a workplace environment that supports those values. You spend a lot of time at work – it’s worth taking the time to think about!

So what are values and how do you identify them? Your values are a set of principles, qualities and beliefs that give meaning to your life, and represent your personal preferences and priorities. They are unique to you and will impact on every aspect of your life such as your character, personal and work behaviours, interactions, decision making and goals. When identifying values it helps to make a list or inventory of the values that are most important to you – perhaps your top five. 

 Here are a few possible career values to think about: Achievement; Challenge; Competition; Compassion; Creativity; Education/skills; Equality; Faith; Flexibility; Influence; Independence; Leadership; Order; Patience; Responsibility; Security; Success; Team work; Technology; Variety. Also have a look at the Work Values Quiz at Careers Services and Self Assessment at Vic Careers .

When considering different jobs, take your values inventory into account. If you are someone who values their individuality then ensure your employer respects that. Also check out the values of the company. Are they similar to your own?  Is the company operating in accordance with its values? Honesty and integrity, environmental responsibility, profit and success, quality and innovation are possible employer values.  Does the business acts ethically? Are they socially responsible or active in the community? Do they value leadership, excellence or new ideas?

I suspect that there will always have to be compromise as it is hard to find the perfect job, but understanding your values will hopefully lead to a more rewarding career.

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