Ottawa Career Counselling

Aligning Your Values with Your Career


While reading this Forbes interview with Donna Sweidan, a certified career coach, I resonated with her “golden rule” of career satisfaction. She writes that aligning your values with your job is crucial to finding a sense of fulfillment in your work. This makes sense, as cognitive researchers have been pointing out, we experience a kind of dissonance, or discomfort, when what we do and what we believe are different. As we spend a large majority of hours at our jobs, this discomfort can be hard to ignore, and can often lead to an erosion of our overall sense of wellbeing.

It is important to not equate interest with values, though they may be linked. You may find that you are working at a career that it is sync with your interests, and therefore are confused when it does not give you the sense of fulfillment that you were expecting. For example, you may love working with computer software, but you also value an independent work environment. If you are working in your field of interest, but feel micro managed, your overall satisfaction with your job will be less.

Career Coaching Helps You Realize Your Work Goals

So how do you determine if it is a value misalignment that is causing your stress? First, it can be helpful to make an overall list of the important values you have about your working environment. It may be that you value a supportive environment, where you receive direct feedback about the work that you are doing. Or, you may value that your work or services is accessible to the community. This is a brain -storming step, so don’t be afraid to be broad.

 Align Values to Your Current Career

Secondly, you may want to rank the values you have listed. Are there ones that are more important to you than others? Compare these values with your current work situation. This will help to clarify what areas may need to be targeted first. This then leads into the third step, which is looking at what solutions there may be to aligning your values with your current job situation, or vice versa.

Ottawa Career Counsellors Can Improve Your Current Job Satisfaction

A note here, we all know that finding work in this current job market is not easy, and so you might be thinking, well I’m not sure I have any choice in the matter regarding my values. And it may be that it is not possible for all, or even the majority of your values to be fully met. But there may be even small areas that you could target that would help to increase your sense of fulfillment. This is one way that a career counsellor helps facilitate job satisfaction, as an objective third party can often help to clarify these areas.

If you are feeling the need to help clarify what changes can be made in your job situation so that it is better aligned with your values, call us at 613-425-4257 to book an appointment with one of our Ottawa career counsellors or read more about our career counselling services here.

Written By: Erika DeSchiffart, counsellor with Capital Choice Counselling Group.