Career Center

Career Values and Prompts Exercise

Directions

Read through the career values and prompting questions.

The career values are organized by categories:

  • Intrinsic
  • Work content
  • Work environment
  • Work relationship

Create a table with two columns:

  • Important to me
  • Career Value

Select 10 career values from any category below that you consider to be important to your personal career search and write them in the second column.

Intrinsic: values that are driven by your working style and personal life

Accomplishment/Achievement

Is a sense of accomplishment important for you work? In what contexts do you feel you’ve achieved something? Can it be finishing a project for yourself or does it need more recognition from others?

Autonomy/Independence

What is your ideal balance between working independently and working as a team? How much autonomy do you prefer to have over your work? What level of oversight do you expect from your supervisor? How well can you handle ambiguous performance and project goals?

Family

Do you have a family or do you want to prepare for one? How much time will you need to spend with your family? What time or financial demands do you foresee?

Goals

What do you want to accomplish in the short- and long-term?

Learning

Do you want to learn new information or techniques regularly? How quickly do you want to learn?
In what format (conferences, on-the-job, as needed, reading the literature, online coursework, etc.)

Recognition/Prestige

Do you want your work to be recognized by your co-workers, superiors, family/friends, others? Do you like to feel a level of prestige for your accomplishments?

Service/Helping Others

Do you want your efforts to directly help others? Should your projects have a beneficial impact for your community, your country, or the world? Do you want to work directly with those you’re serving?

Spirituality/Religion

Does the next position need to involve spirituality or connect with your religious principles?

Work Content: what questions or tasks you will work on and the methods you’ll use

Analytical Thinking

Do you want to use logic to address problems? What types of problems do you enjoy analyzing (information, data, ideas, etc.)

Attention to Detail

Are you good at keeping track of minute details? Do you check your work meticulously for areas of improvement? How do you use this skill (in writing, reading, research, organizing, calculating, etc.)?

Challenge/Stimulation

For the projects you work on, what level of challenge do you
enjoy? Does a difficult problem keep you intellectually stimulated? Or do you find you progress less when the problem is too large
or complex?

Creativity/Innovation

Do you want a workplace that encourages creative solutions to problems? Do you like to try new and innovative ideas? Do you want part of your job to be artistic in nature? Do you want to be involved with a business as it is just starting to develop? How do you apply creativity to your work?

Empathizing

Are you good at understanding others’ feelings and needs? Are you a good listener? In what situations do you use empathy to build rapport?

Knowledge/Expertise/Topic

What do you know about? What do you want to learn? Do you enjoy being seen as an expert and a resource? What specific topics do you want to work on?

Physicality

Do you like work that involves movement and exertion? Do you prefer to be on the move during the work day or to sit at a desk? How do you want to move about your work space?

Risk

Do you enjoy an element of uncertainty in your work? Can you tolerate potential failure? How much employment risk are you willing to tolerate? What sorts of decisions do you like to make that involve risk?

Skills

Do you have a particular skill set that you’d like to use regularly? What do you do well? What do others depend on you for or look to you for? Which of your skills do you prefer to use or not use?

Variety/Pace

How much variety do you need in your job? Can days involve similar tasks or would you prefer if every day was different? Or do you prefer stability in your day and schedule? How quickly would you want to change projects? Do you enjoy a dynamic work environment or one that is more peaceful?

Work Environment: the nature of the physical work space and company culture

Accountability/Responsibility

Do you enjoy having accountability standards to meet? Do you expect others to be accountable for their work? What sorts of formal systems for tracking responsibility do you work well with?

Advancement/Promotion

Should a future job have a clear path for advancement? Should it be structured and timely? Or should it be based on openings at the company and an application process? Would you like to grow at one company and advance up the ranks or to move between different companies at progressively higher roles?

Compensation

What are your financial needs? What will your financial needs be in the next 5-10 years? What are the national averages for pay for the skills you have and jobs you’re looking for? What benefits or perks do you want/need?

Competition

Do you thrive in a competitive work environment? Do you measure your success based on how well others are doing? What drives you to compete and makes you feel fulfilled?

Location

Where do you want to work? What geographic factors are important? Do you want to be in a city, in the suburbs, in a rural environment? Near family? Near the coast? In a different country? How long of a commute are you willing to tolerate? What type of residence do you want to live in?

Physical Space

What physical work environment do you envision yourself working in? A new, open-style office? In different locations? From home? What do you need in your work space? What size of organization do you want to work for?

Professional Development

How do you want to grow as a professional? What opportunities do you want an employer to offer (degree program assistance, workshops, conference travel, mentoring programs, etc.)? What specific skills do you want to build?

Travel

Are you interested in traveling as part of your job? For what purpose do you want to trvael (visit different work sites, conferences, meeting with clients, etc.)?

Work-Life Balance

What does work-life balance mean to you? What do you need time for outside of work? What work schedule do you expect to keep? Are you willing to work before or after typical business hours? If so, how often? Do you want to be able to not check in with work after business hours, or are you open to being more available and on-demand?

Work Relationships: how you interact with others in the work place

Diversity/Equality

Do you want to work with a diverse work culture? What types of diversity are important to you? What does equality mean for you in the work place?

Harmony

Do you prefer a workplace that is faster-paced and more stressful? Or would you rather have a job with more quiet? How much agreement do you like to see between co-workers?

Leadership

Do you enjoy leading a group of people? How do you motivate and energize others? What does the ideal leadership position look like to you? What is your leadership style?

Loyalty

Do you want to work with people who share a devotion to their company or brand? Do you want to feel committed to a particular cause or leader?

Relationships

What types of relationships do you want to build with colleagues, subordinates, supervisors, bosses, clients, customers, etc.? Who do you want to work with on a regular basis?

Respect

Do you prefer a work environment where people are respectful of others’ roles, space, work, opinions, etc.? How do you expect respect to be demonstrated on a regular basis?

 

Now...from your top 10, select five that mean the most to you and place an X or check mark in the “Important to Me” column.

 

Reflection Questions

  1. How do you see your top 5 values manifest in your daily life, or do they?
  2. Do your top 5 values surprise you? Have they changed from the last time you thought about them? Ifso, how did they change?
  3. What is your own definition of these values? How would you define them for yourself?
  4. Have you been in situation where you were in an environment contradictory to your values? If so, what was that like?
  5. Do your values conflict with other aspects of your life such as Duke or your family? If so, how do you manage this?

 

[Printable pdf of Values and Prompts Exercise]

Create a table to help you prioritize your career options and determine which occupations best fit your core career values.

List Important career values and any fields, organizations, or roles you are considering in the top row.
Down the first column, list your career values that are important for your search.
Under each field, organization, or role you are considering, rate, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = “not met” and 5 = “perfectly met”), how each meets your career values.

It may look something like this:
 

table of values and opportunities to rate each opportunity