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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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1 What do I really want from work?

Activity 2 is designed to get you thinking about your values as a basis for helping you to decide what kind of work you would like to do. (You should complete this activity even if you have already got an idea of the area you’d like to work, as it may help you to confirm or discard it.)

Thinking about your values means deciding what is important to you in life. For example, it might be that you have a particular religious faith, which provides you with certain spiritual values and guidance on how to live your life. You might value education as being particularly important, or spending time with your family as being something to strive for. Some people value being part of a team that involves lots of collaborative working, while others focus more on competition and individual achievement.

The problem is that most people, most of the time, don’t really think through what is important to them and then set their course accordingly. All too often people just drift along and end up in situations that conflict with their basic values. That’s why it is important to take a step back from time to time and focus on what your values are and whether or not you are living your life according to them. If you aren’t, this can lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness with life and work. To some extent this may be because you simply haven’t spent enough time consciously identifying what’s really important to you. On the other hand, sometimes people know that they aren’t living according to their values, but end up feeling trapped by circumstances and can’t see a way out.

Activity _unit4.1.1 Activity 2

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Take the work values test [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] to help you to decide what you really want from work. Don’t forget to save or email the permanent link to your results, which you’ll find at the bottom of the results page.


What did you think of the results? Did anything come as a surprise or were they much as you expected? Does this exercise make it any clearer to you what’s most important to you in terms of work? For example, does it suggest the kind of work you like to do or the type of organisation you feel most comfortable working for?

Clearly, in some kinds of work, values such as caring (nursing), being creative (graphic design), taking risks (trading), etc., are of major importance. In the same way, a manufacturing company, a charity, a newspaper office, a local authority, a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work. Try to think through which would suit you best and how different types of work would fit in with the rest of your life. What’s the best ‘fit’ for you, given your values and circumstances?

Remember, though, that it’s your own values that are important here, so feel free to add to or ignore any of the statements and to change the order of importance.

Study note _unit4.1.1

You've now completed Section 1 - well done! We hope that you have found your study useful and are motivated to carry on with the course. Remember, if you pass the quiz at the end of each block you will be able to download a badge as evidence of your learning and a statement of participation that recognises your completion of the whole course.