Career Transition: Using Values to Navigate a Career Change

Young business man standing in front of building with glasses on

Have you ever wondered “is this it?” about your career? If you’re a successful professional feeling a nagging sense of dissatisfaction or a desire for something more, you’re not alone. Many mid-career professionals find themselves questioning their career path and longing for a change that provides them with a sense of meaning and purpose. According to the National Careers Institute (2022), 23% of people in their mid-career are thinking about career change. Another 35% are actively taking steps, or have recently made a career change.

What Are Values, and Why Do They Matter?

Our values are like guiding principles, they are deeply held beliefs that shape our worldview and influence our choices. They represent what truly matters in life, and work. Values can act like a compass, guiding us towards a career that feels meaningful and fulfilling.

When work aligns with our values, we often experience:

  • Increased Performance: Doing meaningful work may help us to perform well, even when working under pressure.
  • Enhanced Wellbeing: Engaging with work that provides a sense of purpose may help to create a deeper sense of emotional wellbeing.
  • Greater Resilience: Work which is aligned with our values may help us to manage stress, and to navigate setbacks throughout our day.

(Inayat & Khan, 2021; Veage et al., 2014)

Your Values as a Career Compass

Think of your values like a compass guiding your career transition. If you’re feeling lost or unsure of which direction to take, gaining insight into your values may help to provide some direction. When you prioritise roles and industries that align with your values, you’re far more likely to thrive at work.

Here’s how to put your values to work in your career change:

  • Uncover Your Values: Spend time reflecting on what truly matters to you. Asking yourself questions like: What are the guiding principles in your life or at work? When have you felt most engaged and satisfied at work? Or what activities grab your attention and make you feel energised? Answering these, and other similar questions may help to uncover your values.
  • Prioritise Your Top Values: Once you have identified your values, you may need to prioritise them. Narrow down your list to the top 3-5 values and rank them in order of importance. These are the most important values that will guide your career transition.
  • Explore Career Options Through the Lens of Your Values: Research industries and roles that seem to align with your core values. Look for companies with cultures that have similar values.
  • Network Intentionally: Connect with people in fields that you find personally interesting. Ask them about a typical workday and what it’s like working in the industry or company they do.
  • Keep an Open Mind: Whilst exploring career options, it’s important to consider a range of alternatives. Using your values may help to guide you towards possibilities you may not have previously considered.

Taking the Leap

Embarking on a career change can be daunting, but it’s also an incredibly exciting opportunity. By aligning your career with your values, you’re investing in your long-term professional growth and well-being. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Career coaches are trained to help you identify your values, explore your options, and develop a clear plan for your transition. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start, seeking support may be a valuable investment in your future. We all deserve a career that feels like a true reflection of who we are. Let your values guide you towards a fulfilling and rewarding professional life.

Are you ready to take the first step? Book a free 15 minute consultation with an experienced career coach to get started.

Disclaimer – this blog is for education and information purposes only. It does not constitute individual advice. The information contained in this post may not be applicable or appropriate for everyone. If you need support, consider seeking individualised support.


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