The average person spends 90,000+ hours at work over their lifetime: from the age of 20 – 65, for 40 hours a week, with two weeks of vacation a year.

slowly crushing my soul
  • • Are you stuck in a crappy job?
  • • Are you counting down the days until your next vacation?
  • • Do you live for long weekends?

Your job is NOT the problem!

The job is the job and you probably knew the deal when you accepted the position.

You are not happy in your job because your values aren’t connected to the work you do.

Sure, that might sound like something you heard at a professional training day you were forced to attend, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Let’s talk values.  Your attitudes, judgments and beliefs are your values. Before you go and quit this crappy job to start another crappy job, think about where your career is headed and what you truly value. In simple terms, you have 3 types of values and understanding what each one means to you will affect how happy you are at work.

In simple term’s you have 3 types of values and understanding what each one means could impact how happy you are at work.

Take 5 minutes and complete the following checklist to map out your VALUES IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE from 1 to 3 (3 being the most important).

(1) Intrinsic values = MOTIVATION

Intrinsic values are the “tasks and activities” you do on the job. They are the things that make you feel good about your work and how satisfied you are in your job.

Ex. You’re an APM who likes to work in a team environment, doing project based work, where you’re seen as the problem solver in the team. You enjoy the different variety of projects and the feeling of being “helpful and resourceful”.

            Be the best – the go to person
            Competitive environment
            Respected for your results
            Work with new and exciting technology
            Work with interesting and progress vendors
            Your achievement is public
            Influence others
            Hold a position of power
            Have lots of external contact
            Specialized work
            Individual contributor
            Ability to take risks
            Push boundaries of knowledge and research
            Constant change and adventure
            Help your colleagues – team building
            Help society and work for a cause
            Creative opportunities
            Fast changing pace of work

(2) Extrinsic values = REWARDS

These values are the “results” you get from performing your intrinsic values and often will have you staying in a less than ideal job because of the rewards you receive.

Ex. You are the Director of Construction, where you have “power and prestige”, earning a “high salary” which makes you feel “important,” but you are also 100% responsible all the time and you can’t leave your job because you recently purchased a big house and new car. You are handcuffed to the job!

            Clear path to management role
            Social status
            Prestige and recognition through awards
            Team and tech support
            Monetary rewards
            Reliable paycheck
            Standard work hours
            Fancy office
            Travel and events
            Interesting and desirable work
            Entrepreneurial environment
            Set your own hours
            No cap to earnings
            No boss to report to
            Fast, ever changing work environment

(3) Lifestyle values = ME TIME

Lifestyle values are what you do with your time and money as a result of your MOTIVATION and REWARDS.

Ex. You live in the suburbs, coaching soccer and attending church, where you donate a portion of your salary. You picked this town because it’s a safe neighborhood, with good public schools, parks and restaurants and you can afford it because you commute to the city for your highly-paid Superintendent job.

            Charities work and donations
            Attend religious service
            Engage in politics
            Community involvement
            Live frugally
            Save for retirement
            Spend time with family
            Spend time with friends
            Have people over
            Have time to yourself 
            Travel frequently
            Go shopping
            Expensive trips
            Eat out
            Cultural activities
            Play/watch sports
            Live in a small town
            Live in a big city
            Spend time learning

Note your values from highest to lowest of importance – and be honest, not all options can be a 3.

The goal is to see which are your most important values and if they’re reflected in your current job. When people are unhappy in their current jobs it’s usually because their values aren’t reflected in the work they are doing. If you want power and money, but you work in flat org structure with capped earnings it’s no surprise you are unhappy.

Finally, take a few minutes to write a clear statement describing how your values will translate into your ideal next role. See example below:

In my next job, my role as a Senior PM for a GC in Boston will allow me to be a part of the hiring team so that I can attract, hire and mentor junior construction management professionals to share my 15+ years of experience and grow my leadership skillset. My goal is to work on projects that focus on sustainability with advanced technology/BIM, so that in 5 years I can start my own firm building sustainable commercial projects in downtown Boston.

Having a clear statement will make applying and interviewing for jobs much easier. You’ll have clarity on whether a particular opportunity has the potential to provide the appropriate motivation and rewards for job satisfaction.

Being clear about your motivations, rewards and lifestyle mean’s you’re one step closer to enjoying your work rather than just taking another shitty job for a paycheck.

Remember, 90,000+ hours of your life will be spent working! You deserve to love your job.

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FYI: You are not alone –  21 Pictures About Work Guaranteed To Make You Laugh


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