Examining Work Values

How much do you know about your values and the way they might influence your career and job choices? In this context, the work "value" refers to how you feel about the work itself and the contribution it makes to society.  Most people who pursue work that is congruent with their values feel satisfied and successful in their careers.

The following is a list of values that many people have identified as being important to them in their careers. To begin exploring your own values, rate the degree of importance of each of the following values.

  1. 1 = Not important at all
  2. 2 = Somewhat important
  3. 3 = Reasonably important
  4. 4 = Very important
  • Help Society: Do something to contribute to a better world
  • Help Others: Be involved in helping others in a direct way
  • Work with Others: Work as a team member toward common goals
  • Competition: Engage in activities which pit my abilities against others
  • Work Alone: Do projects by myself, with limited contact with others
  • Work Under Pressure: Face situations with time constraint
  • Power and Authority: Control the work activities of others
  • Influence People: Be in a position to influence the attitudes or opinions of other people
  • Knowledge: Pursue knowledge, trust, and understanding
  • Personal Growth: Engage in work that offers the opportunity to grow as a person
  • Creative, Artistic: Engage in creative artistic expression
  • Creativity, General: Have the opportunity to create new programs, materials, or organizational structure
  • Variety: Have responsibilities that change frequently
  • Security: Be assured of keeping my job and receiving satisfactory compensation
  • Stability: Have a work routine and job duties that are largely predictable
  • Recognition: Be publicly recognized for the quality of my work
  • Excitement: Experience a high degree of excitement in my work
  • Location: Work in a location close to home, short commute
  • Fun: Work in a setting where I am free to be playful, humorous
  • Autonomy: Have responsibilities that allow me freedom to determine how and when work is accomplished
  • Fast Pace: Work in circumstances where work must be done rapidly
  • Advancement: Have the opportunity to work hard and earn career advancement
  • Aesthetics: Participate in studying or appreciating the beauty of   things, ideas, etc.
  • Achievement: Experience a sense of accomplishment for a job well done
  • Financial Gain: Have a likelihood of achieving excellent monetary rewards for my work
  • Supervision: Have a job in which I am directly responsible for the work of others
  • Physical Challenge: Do activities that use my physical capabilities
  • Moral Fulfillment: Feel that my work contributes to a set of moral standards which I feel are very important
  • Community: Live where I can participate in community affairs
  • Time Freedom: Be able to work according to my own schedule


Now list the values you rated with a 4, Very Important:


Note the values you rated with a 3, Reasonably Important:


Do you see any patterns?


Take a look at the values you ranked with a 4.  Where did these values come from?  Are they important to you, or are they really more important to others (like friends, parents, etc.)?


For more assistance in identifying your work values contact Career Services to set an appointment with one of our career coaches.