Know when its time to quit your job

How do you know if a company is a good fit for you, or if you are for the company?

Knowing your values makes it very easy to identify what you will and won’t accept at work or in business.

Over the years I have worked with people and business to identify their values. For individuals it mostly comes back to finding what is most important to the individual in the context of their career. For businesses it comes back to culture and defining the values of the business, the guide for hiring and firing.

The company I am helping at the moment has a set of shared values they agreed too. They are their guide on they want to interact with each other.

Values are such an important part of business and finding work you love, you would think people could easily state their values.

Can you list your top 4 values? If not, please read on.

The good news is, you unconsciously know your values, they are what guided to leave the job (or boss) you hated. They are the reason you are so happy in the job you love. They are the thing that has guided you in all your decisions to date.

Morris Massey (sociologist) identified three major periods of our lives that our values come from:

  1. The Imprint Period – Ages 0-7
  2. The Modeling Period – Ages 8-13
  3. The Socialization Period – Ages 13-21

It is through these stages of life that we learn our values, behaviors and beliefs. The lessons we learn shape who we are and the way we show up day to day. It is our environment, family, schooling, religion and friends that shape our values.

The Dunedin Study, where two psychologists have been following 1000 New Zealanders since 1972, identified five distinct personality types that form between the ages 0-4:

  • Well-adjusted
  • Confident
  • Reserved
  • Under-controlled
  • Inhibited

They have made the observation that the first three types tend to have better life outcomes and the last two tend to have worse physical and mental health.

If believed, from  0-4 you form your core personality type and by the age of 21 you have set your core values.

While it is nice to know how they are formed and where they came from, it still does not answer exactly what YOUR values are.

Some examples of values from different philosophies and religions include:

Norse Mythology Bushido Virtues of Stoicism 10 Paramis (Virtues) Christianity
Courage Integrity Wisdom Generosity Prudence
Truth Respect Temperance Renunciation Justice
Honor Heroic Courage Justice Morality Restraint (or Temperance)
Fidelity Honor Courage Effort Courage (or Fortitude)
Discipline Compassion   Strong Determination  
Hospitality Honesty and Sincerity   Wisdom  
Self-reliance Duty and Loyalty   Truthfulness  
Industriousness     Tolerance  
Perseverance     Pure selfless love  

*A quick read through and I am guessing you will notice some similarities across the board.

Now if a theologian reads this article, I am sure they will poke some holes in this list. They would be right to do so. Instead of relying on an unreliable list, what other activities could you complete to figure out your own values?

The following three activities are examples of how I have helped people identify their values.

Activity 1: Identify your strengths

Martin Seligman, author of the book ‘Authentic Happiness’ and creator of one of the largest positive psychology survey platforms can help you start figuring this out.

If you check out you will find a heap of surveys you can take. The one that will give you some amazing insight into who you are is the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.

This would be my first recommendation to figuring out more about yourself.


Activity 2: Find your values

If you want to go deeper you could check out this finding your values activity. In short you ask yourself the following question until you have exhausted every thing you can think of.

Q“What’s most important to me in the context of…….”.

Repeat this over and over again, followed by the subsequent ranking of your top ten values. You can then go past that and also figure out your threshold values too.

To properly complete this style of activity I use the following template to complete it.

Values TemplateFinding your values template.


Activity 3: The story method

The final approach for identifying your values is the story telling method. This is by far the most exciting way to do it, with the most reusable personal value, outside of just identifying your values (more on that in another article).

First step is to think through every memorable event in your life, what are the personal positive/successful/powerful stories you remember? Give each memory a title.

You don’t have to worry about triumph, tragedy, tension and transition for this activity. I will go into that in the storytelling piece I am planning.

With your list of stories you can remember you want to pick three positive stories that you can remember the most details about and one negative or challenging event.

Once you have picked your stories you want to start writing. Write everything you can remember. Who was there, what was happening, what could you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. What were your actions, what were people’s response to you and how did you feel about how you acted or reacted in the story. Complete this for your three positive and one negative memories.

Then, once you are done, take everything you have written and add it into a Word cloud generator. In an instant you will see all the keywords you use to describe you, to describe what is important to you and how you operate.

From this you want to take the things that stand out the most and you will have your values list. Now all you need to do is list them out and order them, likely the things that are the biggest will be your top values.

Regardless of the activity you choose, you should be left with a list of 4-10 values that accurately represent you.

With your list in hand, use it to choose where you work:

  • Go to the companies website and check out the about us section, their values should be there.
  • Ask your boss for the companies ‘Vision Summary’, it will tell the whole story for sure.

The people you work with, in conversation, ask ‘what is most important to them as a team’…. Does their list align with yours?

By now I am guessing you can easily imagine why you left the place you hated, and why you love the place you love.

Once you have completed at least one of the activities and you feel you know your values you are set to go.

Check out the original article here:

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