Your values define your priorities and guide your choices. For example, you'll put your niece's birthday party before your roommate's potluck dinner if you value family above friends.
When you're more aware of your values, decision-making becomes much easier. That's especially true when it comes to choosing a career and the education programs that train you for it.
If you're a typical American worker employed full-time in an entry-level job, you work about 49 weeks a year – accounting for up to 2.5 weeks of paid vacation and holiday time. That's 1,980 hours you spend at work every year.
Wouldn't you rather spend those thousands of hours doing something you believe in?
When you understand your values and priorities, they give you direction for your career search. For instance, if you value helping those in need, you might gravitate to a career in care work. If you value innovation and problem-solving, information technology might be your career.
Personal values are guideposts for students. They help you choose a field where you'll thrive and avoid time-consuming mistakes. But how do you know what those values are?
People with strong value systems have built them consciously. They've spent time thinking about what they believe and what they should prioritize to live by those beliefs. Some internalized their values in childhood; others did so as adults.
It's never too late to figure out what you believe and value. It's also not too late to reassess an old value system and find out if it still resonates.
Start by listing the qualities you value in yourself and others. It may help to think about people you admire and why. Maybe they're hardworking, loyal, selfless or ambitious.
If you need some brainstorming help, Google "list of core values" and take note of the ones that feel important to you.
Next, think about what activities you prioritize when time is tight. Do you attend religious services consistently? Spirituality might be one of your core values. Likewise, if you're always reading nonfiction books or listening to podcasts, learning might be a core value.
If you get stuck, complete the sentence "It's important to me to [X]." Whatever you fill in is a core value.
Once you have a list, read through it and identify themes. For instance, if you've identified compassion, empathy and loyalty, those could fall under the umbrella of "attention to others." You might find other values that also fall into that category.
If one category starts to fill up with many different qualities, it's almost certainly a core value. That's one of the beliefs that will lead you to your dream career and the right online education programs.
Your list of core values is a map to your ideal career. To follow that map, you need a professional destination and the skills to get there.
MedCerts offers both. Our educational programs are certification-oriented and geared toward in-demand careers in healthcare and information technology – plus they’re completely online.
We can help you learn to care for patients, support a busy medical practice or repair essential computer systems. Because we focus on high-growth fields, we teach skills that help students make a difference.
It's time to find a career that matters to you. Contact MedCerts today and let us help.
Sharon Balke is the Director of Career Services for MedCerts. She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and has a Master’s degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She has been employed as a counselor in a variety of educational settings since 1992 and has been counseling in online programs since 1998. Before joining the Career Center at Capella University in 2008, Sharon was the co-founder and co-director of an award-winning online public high school, where she provided a range of student and parent services and developed online career services. Sharon is a member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA), and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). In addition, she co-authored an article on online career services, which was published in the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal (Spring 2017).
Outside of the field of career counseling, she’s on the Board of the Minneapolis-Ibaraki (Japan) Sister City Association, and enjoys spending time with her family and playing with her micro-Goldendoodle, Benny!