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Choosing the Right Career With the Right Career Values

Apr 9, 2024 | Career coaching

Feeling unhappy or burned out at work can be tough and it can be hard to figure out why we feel this way. You might think that you’ve hit the jackpot in your career but you still wonder why you dread the work or why you’re always feeling tired.

Don’t worry, there are ways to find answers and feel better! 

First, let’s talk about some toolkits that can help:

  1. If you’re feeling really unhappy at work, there’s a masterclass we’ve done that explains why this might be happening. It talks about how our brains work (neuroscience of misery at work) and why we might feel miserable at our jobs. Access here
  2. If you’re feeling burned out, there are tools to help you understand what’s going on and how to feel better. Check out this blog on ‘Glimmers’ (the opposite of triggers) or a conversation with Nick Jonsson on Navigating Isolation, Loneliness, Anxiety and Recovery at Work. 
  3. If you’re always trying to be perfect at work and end up not performing because of it, check out our podcast on The Highs and Lows of Perfectionism
  4. Lastly, if you feel incompetent at work, or can’t find your zone of genuis, here’s our upcoming masterclass you can join to learn how you can find that zone!  

But there’s something else that’s important to think about: your career values. Sometimes, we might feel unhappy because our job doesn’t match up with what we believe in. Maybe we’re simply misdiagnosing the root cause of our misery because we’re not clear about our career values! 

If you fall into this category, let’s dive into this blog as we share what career values are and how they can help you find a career that brings meaning in your life. 

What Are Career Values?

At its core, career values represent the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide our careers and our dreams. They are the non-negotiables. They’re the things that are really important to you when it comes to your work. You can think of them as your personal guidebook for making decisions about your job and your future.

Career values can be different for everyone. Some people might really value things like being able to work independently, while others might care more about making a positive impact on the world through their work. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to career values – it’s all about what matters most to you. 

Here’s a short list of career values – you can find more in our career values guide here

  1. Autonomy: The desire for independence at work and the ability to make decisions autonomously without the need for constant supervision or approval
  2. Altruism: The aspiration to create meaningful contributions and effect positive change in one’s work, community, and working environment
  3. Work-Life Balance: The importance of maintaining harmony between professional obligations and personal life.
  4. Continuous Learning: The commitment to ongoing growth and development, both personally and professionally.
  5. Financial Reward (Money): The significance of fair compensation and financial stability in career pursuits.
  6. Creativity: The inclination towards innovative thinking, problem-solving, and creative expression.
  7. Collaboration: The value placed on teamwork, cooperation, and collective achievement.
  8. Work Environment: The preference for a conducive and supportive workplace culture.
  9. Flexibility: The need for adaptability and the ability to adjust to changing circumstances.
  10. Integrity: The adherence to moral principles and ethical conduct 


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How to Figure Out Your Career Values

Now that you know why career values are important, you might be wondering how to figure out what yours are. Don’t worry – it’s not as hard as it sounds! Here are some simple steps to help you get started:

  • Reflect on what matters to you: Take some time to think about what’s important to you in your work. Do you care more about making a lot of money, or is it more important to you to have a job that helps others? Once you’ve thought about your career values, write them down somewhere. It could be in a journal, on your phone, or even on a sticky note on your computer. Having them written down can help you remember them and stay focused on what’s important to you. You can download our resource here. 
  • Think about your past experiences: Think back on your past jobs or any volunteer work you’ve done. What parts of those experiences did you enjoy the most? What made you feel proud or fulfilled?
  • Talk to people you trust: Sometimes, it can be helpful to get input from friends, family members, or career coaches or mentors. They might have insights into your strengths and values that you haven’t thought about.
  • Keep Revisiting Them: Your career values might change over time, and that’s okay! Make sure to revisit them every now and then to make sure they still feel right to you.

Download our career values handout now to find our what drives your at work.

Carrer Values Handout

    Putting Your Career Values Into Action

    Once you’ve figured out your career values, it’s time to put them into action. Here are a few ways you can do that:

    Start looking for a career

    You can start by looking at jobs that align with your values. When you’re job hunting, it’s important to pay attention to the companies you’re applying for. You can ask about the culture and what they value during the interview process to get more insights. You’ll be much happier and more successful in a job where your values are respected.

    Talk to your leader

    If you’re in a job or a work situation that doesn’t align with your values, don’t be afraid to speak up. You have the right to speak about it. Share your values with your leader, asking where there might be opportunities to do work with is more aligned with your values.

    Find ways to incorporate your values into your work

    Even if your job doesn’t perfectly match your values, look for ways to incorporate them into what you do. This could mean volunteering for projects that align with your values or finding ways to advocate for change within your organisation. We talk a lot about how you can do this in our podcast. Check it out here

    Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People

    Seek out coworkers who share your values and build relationships with them. Having a supportive network can make a big difference in how you feel about your job.

    In summary 

    Knowing your career values will help you discover your next best career and could potentially help with the feeling of stuckness in your current career. Identifying them, and keeping track of them will allow you to see how you’ve evolved as a professional and help you make informed decisions in choosing your next career. 

    At Bailey Balfour, we offer an ICF Level 1 coach certification programme designed for coaches and leaders interested in pursuing executive and career coaching. If you’re interested in learning more, you can download our brochure to review our curriculum or reach out to us for further information.

    If you’re interested in specialising in any of the above, we train leaders to become great executive coaches and introduce frameworks and models they can use.  Find out more about our Level 1 and Level 2 ICF trainings.

    Who are we?

    Learn more about Bailey Balfour, who we are, our values, and how 22 years of executive coaching experience inspired our acclaimed IFC accredited training programmes. Meet our faculty and discover why you might like to learn with us.

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    One of the most effective ways to decide whether our programme is the best for you is to experience a short taster – to see what you could expect and get a feel for the different elements of our courses including mentor coaching, our self-directed resources and our learning system. You can enjoy this taster at your own pace at any time so register now.

    Book a call

    Having a call with Jean Balfour, our programme director, can help answer questions about our pathways in a way that is relevant to you. How will you fit it in around your schedule? How will it speak to your existing role? How could it enhance your skillset for the future in your career? Why is accreditation important? Schedule a call with Jean and answer these questions and take the next step in enrolling.

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    Join us in engaging (and free) webinars – from networking to coaching skills, and purposeful questions – there is bound to be an upcoming topic that speaks to you. Register now – and don’t worry – if you can’t make the live session we will send you  a recording so that you can enjoy it in your own time.

    Making Sense of Work Podcast

    How’s Work at the Moment? We all work – and yet we often struggle with work. Even very ambitious people find parts of work difficult. This podcast is for you if you’d like to build a new and better relationships with your working life. Join Jean Balfour and guests as they explore everything to do with our working lives, starting with how do we find our purpose, how do make sense of our organisations and what major movements are we seeing in the workplace today?

    Jean Balfour ICF Accredited Professional Coach and Managing Director of Bailey Balfour

    Jean Balfour

    Founder & Programmes Director


    About the Author

    Jean Balfour is Managing Director of Bailey Balfour and Programme Director of our ICF Accredited Coach Training Programmes. Jean is passionate about helping people to have good conversations both at work and at home. She believes that coaching is a life skill and that you never regret learning to coach.

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