Your work-life feels "blah". You're completely uninspired and emotionally, mentally and physically depleted.
It's soul-crushing. And perhaps you're wondering “Is this all there is?”
There are many reasons that this might be happening, but there’s one very “likely suspect”. One that we always need to watch-out for:
You might be working in a role or for an organisation where your values don’t “match”. For instance, you might value career advancement, but you’re working in a role with no room for growth. Or perhaps you value flexibility, yet your organisation might be mandating that you work in the office.
When this happens, it can create tension, dissonance and conflict — and it can feel really miserable. Values misalignment can lead to burnout and it can erode your wellbeing. And of course, it can have negative consequences for your work-life.
So, what are values and why should we care?
Values are the things that are most important to us and that guide our thoughts, behaviours and decisions. They’re the things we hold dear, and that shape our sense of right and wrong.
When our values align with those of our role and our organisation, many positive things happen — like increased job satisfaction, motivation, performance, engagement and wellbeing.
What can we do if we’re experiencing misalignment?
Firstly, we need to be able to recognise it. Often, we know something is “off” but we can’t pinpoint what it is. So, it’s imperative that we identify our values and define what they mean to us — it’s only then, will we know if we’re experiencing values misalignment.
We need to consider whether the misalignment can be addressed — can something be changed or done differently? Can you talk to someone about it? What strategies might you be able to suggest?
We need to reflect on the degree of misalignment — is it slight, or a complete violation of our values?
We need to consider our “fit” for the role and organisation. Do we stay, or is it better to move on?
If we consider the role or organisation to be critical for our career, it’s important to consider what strategies we have for sticking with it, but managing the negative impact
What can we do to reduce the chances of misalignment?
Do your research: read the company reviews, scroll their social media, talk to people — incumbents, those that have left, customers.
Ask specific questions about your values in your job interview. For instance, if you value growth, ask about what development opportunities are available and for whom. You might even consider asking about eligibility criteria for these opportunities. If you value work-life balance, ask about how the organisation supports flexible working — get some specific examples.
Ask about the organisation’s culture. For instance, ask for examples of how their corporate values are demonstrated in real-life examples.
Before you accept your next job offer, you might ask to meet informally with your manager or the team. You’ll get a good feel for whether or not you’ll be a good values “match”.
Discover our Values Cards. These are work-life essential for finding more meaning and purpose in what you do. And if you're a leader or manager, these are a must for your toolkit!