Some years ago I worked for a Search and Selection firm – a business that is now defunct. Despite meeting my husband there and making life-long friends, I was deeply unhappy in my job. I dreaded making cold calls; I loathed the hypocrisy of some of the managers, the chauvinistic bullying of the Managing Director and the cutthroat pressures of having to meet weekly sales targets. My unhappiness meant I rarely met those hefty sales targets and I certainly didn’t achieve career success. I was, most definitely, a round peg in a square hole.
It wasn’t because I didn’t have the right skills or the innate ability to fulfill the job, it was because the role and the company didn’t match any of my values.
Most of us chug through life without giving a moment’s thought to our values. When we’re out of alignment with them, we know something is wrong – we feel discontentment, stress or unhappiness, but it’s rare that we have the insight to realize that it’s our values that are being compromised.
Introspection doesn’t sit easily with the world of work, which is measured by ROI and hard facts and figures. But interestingly, values exist within every business. Companies have vision and mission statements, which employees are meant to implement and it is those words that should reflect an organization’s core values and project the business’ emotional intelligence.
Many years later I began to appreciate the things that really matter to me. Integrity, creativity, trust and communication sit at the top of my list of values. The hard selling and promising of more than we could deliver jarred with my values of integrity, trust and communication, and the delivering to a prescriptive formula stifled my creativity. It was hardly surprising that working at that Search and Selection firm made me unhappy.
There are processes we can go through during a job search or a career transition to make sure that our work fully aligns with our core values. During the coaching process, I nearly always work with clients to uncover their true values and make sure they are walking the talk. Before accepting a job, it is definitely worthwhile digging out a prospective employer’s mission or vision statement and make sure that it rings true for you. If your values match those of your employer’s you are much more likely to achieve career success and happiness.