Your Values and Career Plans

Posted on: March 11, 2012, by :

Values and Career Plans


To develop a realistic career plan you should understand what you value and what you want from your career. As you begin to develop your plan you need to understand what motivates you and determine how you will define success. Your motivations, values, and passion provide a foundation for your career.

Each of us has a set of values that defines what is important to us in life.  We know whether we value helping others, being creative, receiving a high salary, etc.  While studies have been done to measure personal values on the basis of behavioral preferences, each of us inherently knows what is important to us within theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political, and religious contexts.

From a career planning perspective it’s important to understand what you value as you seek the type of career and associated work environment that enables you to work in harmony with your value system to the greatest extent possible.  You will most likely experience stress if you work in an environment in conflict with your value system.  Reflect upon what you value using the following and understand if you’re in an environment that supports what you value.

(1) Theoretical: truth;

(2) Economic: usefulness;

(3) Aesthetic: harmony and beauty;

(4) Social: love for people;

(5) Political: power and leadership;

(6) Religious: unity or moral excellence.

For example, you may be employed by a for-profit corporation that controls access to water rights in developing countries.  You may recognize that the organizations’ for-profit mission, strategies, and operational tactics, conflict with your value system and you may decide that you need to switch employers.  As stressful as this may be – congratulations to you for recognizing the conflict and for pursuing an environment in which you can thrive.  Realistic career plans begin with understanding your values and what you want from your career.  Your career plans are impacted by your values and goals.


Photo by Thomas Hawk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

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