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How to pick a career?

Work values exercise

Download printable exercise (pdf)

  • Note down all of the values (from the choices below) that are important to the work you want to do in the next few years. Remember: no value is better or worse than another, so try to be as honest with yourself as possible. (The list below isnít intended to be exhaustive. If there are other values which are important to you, then add them to the list.)
  • Narrow down your list by highlighting the ten values which are most important to you.
  • Organise these ten values into three columns: 'very important', 'fairly important', and 'important'.
  • Ensure that you have no more than three values in the 'very important' column. You may have to make forced choices here, in order to trade off what's absolutely essential with what's slightly more negotiable.

Place of work It is important that you work in the right part of the country for you
Peace You prefer to have few pressures or uncomfortable demands
Variety You enjoy having lots of different things to do
You enjoy competing against other people or groups
Time freedom You prefer to be able to choose your own times for doing things, not having rigid working hours
You would (or do) like close friendships with people at work
Fast pace
You enjoy working rapidly at a high pace
Helping others
It is important to you to help other people, either individually or in groups, as part of your work
Status You enjoy being in a position which leads others to respect you
Making decisions It's important to you to have to make decisions about how things should be done, who should do them, and when they should be done
Creativity Thinking up new ideas and ways of doing things is important to you
Risk You like to take risks
Excitement It is important to you to have a lot of excitement in your work
Earning a large amount of money is important to you
Precise work
You like working at things which involve great care and concentration
Help society
You like to think that your work is producing something worthwhile for your society
Supervision You enjoy being responsible for work done by others
Helping others It is important to you to help other people, either individually or in groups, as part of your work
A well-known organisation You like being part of a well-known organisation
Promotion You like to work where there is a good chance of promotion
Challenge You enjoy being 'stretched' and given new problems to work on
You like a work routine which is fairly predictable
You like working to deadlines
You like to live in a place where you can get involved in the community
Work with others You like to work in a team alongside others
Physical challenge
You enjoy doing something that is physically demanding
Work alone
You like to work on your own
You enjoy work involving drawing, designing, making music, making models, etc.
You enjoy being able to express ideas well in writing or in speech
You like people to appreciate you for the work you do
It is important to know your work will always be there for you
Contact with people
You enjoy having a lot of contact with people
Persuading people
You enjoy persuading people to do something or change their minds about something
Being expert
You like being known as someone with special knowledge or skills

[Adapted from Brian Hopson and Mike Scally, Build Your Own Rainbow: A Workbook for Career and Life Management (2009)]