Discovering Your Work Values

On this page you will find:

  1. What work values are
  2. The Benefits of Knowing Your Work Values
  3. Susan and Jeff: Two different experiences in the same job: Archivist
  4. Sam and Karen: How their work values affected their work
  5. Link to your Work Values Inventory

What are Work Values?
Work Values are what you value most about work, in terms of: your preferred work environments, as well as the kinds of interactions you like to have with people on the job.


For example, how much ‘Independence’ or ‘Self-Determination’ you are given in doing a job, are work values. These values can differ from one workplace to another. Another value is ‘Variety’ – that is, how much variety you have in the work you do. Some employers assign more variety to a job than others. You can find out what ‘work values’ are associated with a job by looking at the job description, talking to employers and/or workers doing the job, and asking them questions like: “How much independence do you have in doing your job?” If you know what you are looking for, you can also glean information by observing the job being done. You can see why it’s so useful to know which work values are important to you.

The same job can be defined differently by different employers. Each employer will specify how they want the work done. You will find a list of 25 common work values in the Work Values Inventory in Career Manual 1.

The Benefits of Knowing Your Work Values


  • Being aware of the values, that are important to you, will make it easier to choose which job is right for you, to choose work that is comfortable for you.
  • Knowing your highest and lowest values will allow you to choose work that is comfortable for you.
  • If you don’t know your values, you can end up in a job that is constantly irritating you, and being very dissatisfied with your job.



Two different experiences in the same job of Archivist

Susan’s Experience as an Archivist
For example, Susan took a job that the boss said required a lot of detail work in the archives. Only, she didn’t realize the archives was a small, windowless room in the basement of the building with poor lighting and bad air quality. She felt constantly oppressed by shelves of books and papers towering over her, and pressured by stacks of unorganized boxes on the floors waiting to be sorted. She seldom saw anyone all day long.

Susan needed space and lots of room to move around easily. She also missed the interaction with people. At the end of a long day, sitting in that cramped room by herself, she was exhausted and depressed. Her most important values of physical movement, working in pleasant surroundings and daily interaction with co-workers were lacking.

Jeff’s Experience as an Archivist
On the other hand Jeff, who was hired shortly after Susan quit, liked being left alone all day without any interruptions. Driven by an insatiable curiosity for rummaging through old archival material, and discovering little known information, he dreamed of writing a book on the material he was sorting through.

His most important values of intellectual stimulation, knowledge, and independence were being satisfied. For Jeff, the days flew by, and he couldn’t wait to get to work each morning. He had found his dream job.



Sam and Karen – How their work values affected their work
Sam and Karen both chose the same career for very different reasons. Sam’s reasons did not align with his work values. Karen’s choice of a career was shaped very strongly by her work values. Sam was not happy with is career choice. Karen found deep satisfaction in hers. Follow their stories and see how their work values impacted their choices.


Find Out Which of the 25 Work Values Shape Your Job Choice?

puzzle pieces

To get your Work Values Inventory, go and download your Career Manual 1 – Five Career Tests to Do Right Away.
In this ebook you’ll find the Work Values Inventory, the Work Styles Inventory, the Multiple Intelligences Inventory, the Personality Test and the Central Motivations Quiz, ready to take.
Follow the quick and easy explanations on how to do the Work Values inventory.


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This Link Will Take You Through Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Program


Links to Step 1 - The 5 Career Tests on This Site

Step 1 - Discovering Who You Are
Links to Step 2 - Career Exploration

Step 2 - Exploring Your Career Options
Links to Step 3 - Getting into the Nitty Gritty

Step 3 - Doing the Research For Your Dream Job
Links to Step 4 - Taking Care of Your Career

Step 4 - Managing Your Career - Doing Career Planning
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