Your Values and Your Work

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BetterUp Studios

10 min

A cozy chair and desk

No matter what, work won't always be easy. If your work matters to you, however, that struggle will feel like it's worth it. Your sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment will increase, and you will be at less risk of burnout.

Test out this four-step process for figuring out what matters most to you and aligning those values with your work. You may be surprised at where it leads!


Step 1

Identify your core values. Core values represent who you are and what you stand for in your present sense of self. They’re not your desired future, or who you think you should be. They represent what matters most to you.

You may have trouble identifying your core values if you focus on what society prioritizes over your own needs. To cut through the noise, ask yourself these questions:

  • Reflect on a time you’d describe as a peak experience—what were you doing? What standards or morals were upheld at this moment? What words would you use to describe it?
  • On what fundamentals do you base your important decisions?
  • What ideals or truths, if removed from your life, would make your existence feel unliveable?

Review your answers to the previous questions. Are you noticing any themes?

Step 2

Now that your foundational principles are coming into focus, take the space below to note values of the company where you work or are thinking of working. If they’re not clearly outlined for you, you may need to ask a manager, reflect on your personal experiences with your company, or do some outside research.

Your organization’s workplace culture and general atmosphere typically reflect what matters most.

  • Where does the company invest its resources?
  • When has the organization thrived, or seemed the most affirmed in its actions?
  • Which values represent the main conduct that the work environment stands by?

Step 3

Now that you’ve got a clearer image of the company’s core values, it’s time to see if they’re in congruence with your own. Research suggests that companies whose principles align with those of their workforce have higher employee retention, inspire greater productivity and innovation, and attract top talent.

  • Are your principles upheld, even honored, within this organization?
  • Do you practice your personal core value in what you do?
Step 4.

Create an action plan to steer you toward job alignment. From changing how you speak to your coworkers to who you go to for advice, seek out new ways to honor your values during the day. Write the first few ideas that come to mind below.

Be bold and communicate with your boss or hiring manager how best to incorporate your needs. They can also help you identify areas where your organization can progress.

Even if this conversation doesn’t go the way you hope, you can gain valuable insight into your job’s willingness to align with your ideals. You can revolutionize together, or feel empowered to seek employment that aligns with your core values. Good luck!

BetterUp Studios
BetterUp Studios creates and curates research-backed content, activities, and tools to help people everywhere pursue their lives with greater clarity, purpose, and passion.

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