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Is It Really about Work-Life Balance?

Does this sound familiar? I just read an article called Striking the Right Work-Life Balance—Are YOU Killing Your Soul? As a career counselor I know most people do not like what they do for work and I agree with the author that not liking what you do impacts you personally—it can zap the vitality right out of you. I think the flip side is asking what is it that makes people satisfied in their work.

I think work satisfaction is not about the often touted “work-life balance.” It comes when your work reflects what is important to you, what we call work values. There are internal values related to work, such as specific activities of the work itself. For instance, you may treasure taking risks and like trading on the stock market for work. Then again there are external values, such as the conditions at your workplace. As an example, you value cooperation but you work with people who are highly competitive.

The funny thing about work values is that there are a lot of them. Some people say they really don’t care about income as long as they like what they do. Others are less concerned with what they do as long as the income supports their family. So what happens when you relish variety but do the same tasks day after day? Or you prize constant activity but you sit behind a desk all the time? Your zest for life gets worn down. Does this sound familiar? Is what I’m saying resonating with you?

There is a way to create a more satisfying work life by figuring out what is important to you. I would guess that many people, if not most, never explore what their work values are. I scratch my head because it’s pretty important, especially to adults with work experience. So how do people figure out their work values? You can go online for a fast quiz, value inventory or worksheet, as well as do a self-help activity. Or you can also talk to a career counselor, such as me. So, please take the time to examine your values.

World Campus students, you know my most satisfying days are when I feel like I’ve helped someone, so lend a hand and get in touch with me.

Lynn Atanasoff,
Career Counselor

For more on work values try reading one of these:

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