Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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Returning to STEM

3 Identifying your career drivers and values

One way of helping you to think about the next step in your career or your planned return to work is to try and understand what really motivates you. The lifeline activity should have helped you to see what activities have been rewarding for you in the past and what activities haven’t. In this next activity you will reflect on which factors are most valuable to you in a job.

Activity 2 What do I value about work?

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Listed below are a number of factors that will help you to recognise, in more depth, which values are most important in driving your choice of job or working environment. These values cut across all types of job roles so are just as relevant whichever areas of STEM you are seeking to work in. So, for example, if ‘Making friendly contacts with others’ is important to you, it suggests that you value a ‘Social’ element in your work.

You might be surprised by the range of possible factors that you find valuable. This is one of the advantages of taking a course like this: it opens up your thinking and suggests options and ideas you might not have considered before.

Identify how important each factor is to you by using the following scale:

  • 3 = Very important
  • 2 = Important
  • 1 = Fairly important
  • 0 = Not important

Read each factor in Column 1 and rate them all using the scale above. Try to use the full scale. Fill in the boxes in Table 1 below, or alternatively copy Table 1 into a notebook and fill it in.

Table 1 Values

FactorsValueRating (0–3)
Making decisions and working independently Autonomy
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Change or variety in tasks, people, placesVariety
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Scope to learn, study, think, analyseIntellectual
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Making friendly contacts with othersSocial
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Large income, expensive possessionsEconomic
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Expressing ethical code or religious beliefsSpiritual
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Using talents, developing skills Using abilities
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Being part of an important organisationCommitment
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Having lots of stimulus, excitement, thrillsExcitement
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Having influence or power over othersAuthority
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Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Aesthetic
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Getting promotions, career progressionAdvancement
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Helping or caring for othersAltruism
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Concern for surroundings or locationComfort
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Being original, developing new ideasCreativity
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Activity, keeping moving, handling thingsPhysical
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Taking risks; business and trading Commercial
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Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
(Adapted from Career planning and job-seeking workbook, p. 30, Open University Careers Service.)

Make a note of which were the most important values for you. Did any of them surprise you? You may want to come back to these when you start to develop your action plan towards the end of the course.

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