Using Your Values to Land Your Dream Job

Maybe you’re one of the 10M Americans who have lost their job due to Coronavirus. Perhaps you still have some income but are anxious about being one of the 22M who have filed for unemployment since Coronavirus started. Or, maybe you’re feeling guilty for realizing how much you hate the job you do have while working at home. If you fall into any of these categories, this article is for you.

In both coach and mediation training, we talk a lot about values. Values can be defined as ‘what’s important to you.’ Most people have a good intuitive sense about what matters to them. But as a professional coach, I’ve found that clients often approach processes like the job search without a clear articulation of what’s critically important to them. Without this understanding, they may delay the job search, apply frantically to a huge variety of jobs, or second guess a job offer. In doing this, they put themselves under what I consider unnecessary stress. More, they miss a rare opportunity to design a life that brings them true fulfillment, happiness, and peace.

To get unstuck from this cycle, I recommend conducting a values exercise. Upon completion, you can use your values as a framework to evaluate current or potential jobs. It takes some time and effort, but like coaching, the initial investment pays off in years of internal peace and a sense of alignment to your truest self. Don’t believe me? Look out for my next post about the peace of mind I gained in quitting my steady, six-figure job to align with my own values.

  1. Make a list of your core workplace values. Write each value on a separate slip of paper or notecard. You can write your own, borrow from this list, or contact me for the list I use with my clients.
  2. Define what fully honoring that value means to YOU. Write your definition on the other side of the paper or notecard. For example, if one value is “Salary,” write down the exact number you want to fully and realistically honor that value. Same with something like “Flexibility” or “Free time” – for you, what does it mean to be flexible? Each value will be unique to you, in comparison to how someone else might define it.
  3. Stack rank each value according to the highest order of priority. Do this by picking up a value, read/feel it, pick up another value, read/feel it, then decide which is more important. Place the more important value on top of the pile. Go one value at a time, comparing to each in the list. Note that this stack ranking may look different at different times of your life. Focus on what is calling you today.

Once you’ve finished stack-ranking, congratulations! You now have a framework with which to evaluate a potential job listing or job offer. Here’s how this looks:

  • Your top-ranked seven values represent your must-havesThese values are so high priority that any job you consider must fully honor these values.
  • Your next seven values are your nice-to-haves. These seven values would contribute to greater job satisfaction, but aren’t absolutely essential.
  • Your lowest ranking seven values are those that you are willing to sacrifice in order to obtain your highest values. For example, while flexibility would be nice, if it falls in your body seven, you’re willing to accept a job that is inflexible in order to honor one of your top seven needs, such as salary.

As a wise coach once said to me, finding the right job is a lot like finding the right relationship. You can’t expect one job (or person) to check 100% of your boxes. The best we can do is stay highly attuned to what’s most important to us TODAY, then find opportunities that fully honor those needs. It’s also important to regularly check in on our highest order values, to notice if any shifts are happening. I would recommend conducting this exercise every six months, if not once a year.

Coaches are trained to help listen for and tease out your values, then hold you accountable for honoring them. As always, I’m here to support you however I can.