What do you value most in a job?

Wooden signpost - values, mission, vision
What are your values?

In my last team meeting, my manager asked us all to write down a list of 15 things that we valued most in a job. We didn’t have to think of it in terms of our current job, just try to think of the list as if we were describing our dream job/work environment. Always an awkward task when you hate your job!

Once we had come up with our list, we then had to narrow it down to our top 5 values and rate these in order of importance. She then asked if we felt comfortable enough to share our top 5 with the team to see if there was anything that we were missing in our current work so that she could try to address it. Quite a daunting exercise to share with your team, however, my manager is relatively chilled and wants us all to feel like we can be open with her. Plus I was kind of impressed that she cared enough to want us all to be happy at work, so I gave it a go.

What I found out was really interesting. A lot of my values are actually met in my current job, even though I thought it couldn’t be further from my dream job. Maybe I don’t need such a dramatic change after all, but some small tweaks. This is something that has come up time and time again in my research. Even when you think your current job is the worst thing ever, you might actually be happy doing the same role at a different company that aligns more to your values, or just making a small transition to a slightly different role.

Looking back at my original list, I definitely wrote it with the worry at the back of my mind that I would have to hand it over to her at the end of the meeting! So I’ve had another go at the exercise being more honest with my answers.

I would recommend this exercise as a way of putting some structure to your job search. It’s also a great way of reminding yourself what is important to you when you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the jobs out there. Every time you’re thinking about applying for a job, cross check with your list to see if you are compromising on any of your top 5 and if you are, it’s definitely worth asking in the interview if there’s any way they can meet them.

Here’s some food for thought…

15 things I value most in a job

  1. Community – a great group of colleagues
  2. Being creative
  3. Being respected and valued
  4. Believing in and caring about what I do
  5. Seeing the impact of my work
  6. Flexible working – being able to work from home occasionally
  7. Having a work life balance
  8. Variation
  9. Progression
  10. Having a salary which I think reflects my effort
  11. Making a difference
  12. Having some perks e.g. pension, gym membership I’ll never use
  13. Autonomy
  14. Cool office environment
  15. A short commute

Why don’t you have a go yourself, it may just surprise you.



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