One of the reasons people feel unfulfilled in their careers is that they are out of alignment with their career values – they just don’t know it! In this episode, I talk about what career values are, how you go about getting clear on yours and then what to do with them once you have identified them. I am very passionate about helping my clients to understand their career values so that they can be discerning and make considered decisions about the next steps in their careers. You might be tempted to skip this one if it feels a little “airy-fairy” but I promise you that your values have a huge impact on whether or not you’re satisfied in your job.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

6. Career Values – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:29] Hello hello. It is Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career. I hope that you have had the most fabulous day so far. I certainly have nothing in particular happening, that’s made it a fabulous day, just overall good vibes. And I love those days when [00:01:00] it’s just all going nice and smoothly. There doesn’t need to be anything that has happened that’s super special to make it that way, it’s just like, Hmm, it was just meant to be.

[00:01:11] So today I wanted to talk to you about your career values. This is something that I have touched on in previous episodes, but I do think that it’s something for us to talk a little bit more about because it is just so important and it’s something that kind of gets overlooked.

[00:01:28] I find that often when I mention career values to people, they kind of have this vibe of like, ‘Mmm, is that a bit wishy washy? Like, do we really need to do that?’ It’s not meaty enough. I don’t know. I don’t know why this happens, but people tend to feel like it’s just not important. It’s kind of like a nice to have, but I definitely don’t agree.

[00:01:58] So when I think about my [00:02:00] values, I think about the rules or the guiding principles by which I live my life. This means that every single one of my behaviours, my actions, my decisions, they are all affected by my core values, which means that my future is all affected by my core values. Right?

[00:02:25] When you think about the way that you’re behaving, what you’re choosing to do, the way that you are reacting to things, it’s all linked to your values. And if you don’t have your values defined, then how are you ever meant to check in, to see if you’re kind of living the way that you want to live? It seems a little strange to me. It’s a little bit funny for me to think about the fact that you might be able to evaluate things and see what’s going wrong, if you don’t have anything to measure. [00:03:00]Maybe that’s the detail oriented part of me.

[00:03:04] So what about the career values? The thing is when people come to me and they’re generally feeling really unfulfilled, usually it’s because of the fact that they are living out of alignment with their career values, even if maybe they haven’t done the work to identify and define them yet.

[00:03:22] So an example of this might be a coaching client that comes to me and they tell me that, you know, they’re getting really frustrated in the workplace because of the fact that there just aren’t any opportunities for them. Now, when we look at that and we look at their career values, what we might uncover is that progression or development may actually be right up the top of their list.

[00:03:50] And so if they feel like they’re in a workplace that isn’t prioritizing that progression and development, and isn’t giving them those opportunities, [00:04:00] then that’s, it’s kind of rubbing them the wrong way. Right? This is where people start to get frustrated, but maybe they just haven’t been able to pinpoint why.

[00:04:10] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:04:29] I work with a lot of people who have family right up the top in their list of values. There was one woman that I worked with recently who had a family. She had a husband and some adult children, but her workplace had a really, really interesting, let me just say it, there was no work life balance at all. Everyone was just working all the time and the boss was doing it too, so it was like there was this [00:05:00] expectation.

[00:05:01] And because the fact that she’d been there for a really long time, she found that when she was starting to try and implement boundaries, she was finding it really difficult because there was already that expectation that this is the way that things just are.

[00:05:16] And so for her, she couldn’t really kind of put her finger on it because she’d been putting in the extra hours all these years and she’d actually been providing herself on doing so because she thought it made her a conscientious and effective employee. But then there was this other niggling thing that she couldn’t really understand.

[00:05:36] And when we looked at her values, we became to understand that because family was so important to her, she felt like she was actually putting her career in front of her family. Hello, unfulfillment. Now I see this kind of thing all the time. And as we’re talking about it now, maybe it seems like it’s a little bit obvious, but I can promise you that when you are [00:06:00] actually in the situation, sometimes it’s just not that obvious at all.

[00:06:06] And it’s really worthwhile going through one of these exercises to just uncover it and lay it all out in the table. Now, one of the reasons that I really love the career values exercise is that it does help you to get these things out in the open and then give you a place to start, if you do want to do a little bit of evaluation.

[00:06:26] So you can look at this very moment and see whether your current role and whether your current employer are actually in alignment with your values, then of course you can make a decision. Do I stay? Do I go? You know, if that kind of thing’s on the table. It’s more information that you can use as part of your evaluation process.

[00:06:47] If you’ve already made the decision to go to a new employer, if you’re just at that stage in your career, maybe you are thinking about a career change and you are looking at a completely different role, your values are [00:07:00] so helpful at this point as well. Because again, what you can do is you can evaluate that future role, that future employer and that future career path all against your values, and you can almost see into the future and identify where you might have issues, where you might have challenges, and where you might feel that this opportunity is actually going to rub your values the wrong way.

[00:07:29] One of the ways that I like to do this, to use your career values to evaluate a future opportunity is to actually combine it with another technique called informational interviews. So what you can do is you can go ahead and do a little bit of research on LinkedIn. It’s a really great place for this. Find someone who’s working at the place of employment that you are interested in going to, you know, find someone who works within that team, and you can ask if you can do an informational interview with them.

[00:07:57] Basically what this is, is, it’s [00:08:00] just like a coffee chat, whether you do the coffee in person or whether it’s a zoom call now that we’re all in, in the world of online meetings, it doesn’t really matter. The main aim of this meeting is for you to be able to ask them some questions about what it’s like to work in that particular place of employment, or if you’re lucky in that particular role that you are consider.

[00:08:25] Once, you know, what your career values are. You can then craft some clever questions around those values that will give you a little bit of material that you can work with in that informational interview. So if you knew, for example, that work life balance or family were really important to you, then maybe you could ask that person some information about how those things are classified or maybe you could ask that person how those kinds of things are handled in the workplace. So it could be, you know, ‘Hey, what [00:09:00] are the work hours like there? Do you find that most people are generally knocked off by five o’clock or is it the kind of work environment where people who work late?’

[00:09:08] Or you could ask, ‘listen, my family is really important to me and I like to get to as many of my children’s school events as possible. Do many of the other people who work there have kids? Do you find that they do take time off to go to their events and is this kind of thing supported within the workplace?’ Easy done, right?

[00:09:30] But if you haven’t done the work to identify your values and then to define what those values look like, then you don’t really even know where to start. So, these are just some of the ways that you can use your career values. I have no doubt that we are going to talk about this topic time and time again, because I do have so much to say about it, but I just want to take this moment before we get too deep to just remind you to do the values [00:10:00] exercise.

[00:10:00] So, if you want to go ahead and do one of these career values exercises, I would highly recommend mine. If you go to, we will send you a special values meditation that will guide you through the process of identifying your values and we’ll also send you a couple of worksheets that will just help you to finalize the process.

[00:10:25] I really, really hope that you enjoy it, and that you find it really valuable. And once you’ve done that, who knows, maybe you’ll come back and listen to more future episodes about values and learn how you can take them even further. Speaking of which in the next episode, I’m going to be sharing with you a little bit about my top five values.

[00:10:44] So if you’re interested in looking at how this kind of stuff actually plays out in real life, then that one is definitely for you.

[00:10:53] So hit me up on social media. Find me over at Pop Your Career, I’m pretty [00:11:00] much everywhere. Let me know what you thought of this episode. Share it with a friend or someone who you think could benefit from this conversation. And Hey, just let me know, what is your top value? I would love to hear all about it.

[00:11:15] Until next time, take it easy, have fun with your values. And I look forward to seeing you again really, really soon. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.

[00:11:25] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you want to continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.