Independence, stability, status, practicality, location, competition, knowledge, creativity, diversity, recognition, affiliation, team work. What do these words have in common? They are all different work values.

Work values

The trick to finding lasting job satisfaction is to work for a company that honors your work values. They are what motivate you to work. So if your values and your work are a match, you feel appreciated. You’re happier, so it’s easier to roll with the punches.

So how do you figure out your values? Think about what’s important to you about both the way you work and your work environment.

Taco Bell? Yes, Taco Bell!

Do you value leading edge knowledge? Then you want to work for a company that actively pursues the latest and greatest ideas for product development. Check out Blue Origin, or Google, or Tesla, or , or Taco Bell (yes, Taco Bell – click to see why).

Want to work for a well-known company with a WOW factor? Then you value affiliation, so look at prestige companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Harvard, or the top accounting/consulting companies. Notice that some of these are leading edge knowledge companies, too. The companies that fit more than one of your values are your targets.

If you value gaining and using knowledge at work, look for work where part of the job is going after a deeper understanding of a topic or skill. Then you might want to look at teaching or a research job.


If you want to impress people by your level of responsibility at work, you value status.

Do you like to be told publicly that you’ve done a good job? You value recognition (“You like me, you really, really like me!”).

Do you want to be left alone to do your work without a whole lot of hovering? Then you value independence.

If you want a different type of accountability with regular meetings with supervisors so you know what they think about your work, then you value supervision.

Location/Work-Life Balance/Team Work

Want to work close to home so you can help with childcare? Then you value location.

Do you want to ensure that you can have a work life separate from your family life? Then you value work-life balance.

If you want to be evaluated based on your contributions as part of a group, you value team work. So you might want to look for work as part of a development, creative, or marketing team.

The words listed in the first paragraph are just a few examples of work values. You can find more in this checklist from

As you develop your own list of work values, rank them and match them to potential companies and jobs. When you match both your values and skills to a company and job, you will be on the way to career satisfaction.

To quote the guy who made his brother’s vision and values a reality:

“Once you know your values, it’s easy to make decisions.”  Roy Disney


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