Identifying Your Criteria

Identifying Your Criteria: What You Need in an Experience for it to be Satisfying

The following is a list of work values and lifestyle values that students have found helpful when considering their life path. To begin exploring your own personal work and lifestyle values, identify what most satisfies you about work by selecting six work values that are the most important to you and list them in the space below. Additionally, select four lifestyle values that are most important to you outside of a work setting.

Understanding Work & Lifestyle Values:

  • What do you need in your career & life for it to be satisfying and balanced?
  • Choose all that resonate with you.
  • Narrow down to six work values and four lifestyle values, circle those.

Work Values

  • Independence: Work on projects without significant direction from others
  • Security: Career less likely to be threatened by technology/economic changes
  • Interpersonal Competition: Work that compares my abilities against others’
  • Creativity: Engage in creative expression, programs, and materials
  • Financial Gain: High likelihood of achieving high salary
  • Teamwork: Close working relationships with a group toward common goal
  • Learning Opportunities: Regular opportunities to learn new things
  • Time Freedom: Be able to work according to my own schedule
  • Influence Others: Able to influence attitudes or opinions of others
  • Intellectual Status: Be regarded as an expert in my field
  • Adventure: Have work duties which involve frequent risk-taking
  • Help Society: Do something that contributes to improving the world
  • Recognition: Recognized for the quality of my work in visible way
  • Advancement: Access to regular increases in work responsibilities
  • Leadership: Be responsible for work done by others
  • Help Others: Being directly included in helping individuals or groups
  • Power & Authority: Authority to decide work activities
  • Work Alone: Work independently, no significant contact with others
  • Work Under Pressure: Work with deadlines where quality is critical
  • Change & Variety: Have responsibilities that frequently change
  • Flexibility with Future Roles: Able to move in and out of workforce

Lifestyle Values

  • Service: Have time for volunteer and philanthropic work
  • Balance: Have time to pursue interests outside of career
  • Friends: Do things often with friends
  • Spiritual Community: Participate in spiritual community and work
  • Civic Engagement: Address issues of public concern
  • Travel: Ability to travel frequently
  • Family/Support: Easily access or visit family/support network
  • Arts & Cultural Opportunities: Access to cultural experiences
  • Cultural Alignment: Allowed to live authentically within community
  • Advocacy: Engage in work related to causes/people that are important
  • Setting: __ Rural __ Urban __ Suburban __ other _________________
  • Environment (near): __ mountains __ forest __ farms __ water __ other ______

What are the top qualities I need in my career for it to be satisfying?

Personal qualities | Do you enjoy…

  • Working with people
  • Working with things
  • Working with data
  • Working with ideas
  • Solving complex problems
  • Selling ideas, being persuasive
  • Working outdoors, indoors 

Employment qualities

  • Demand or Outlook: will there be job openings in your field of interest when you graduate with an advanced degree? Will they be different and pay more than without an advanced degree?
  • Salary: common advice is not to borrow more for college than you will make in your first year as a professional; consider starting salary, mid-level salary, and top-level salary.

Workday qualities

  • Does this profession allow for work/life balance? Are flexible hours possible? What are expected hours per week?
  • What kind of workspace might you have? Cubicle? Office? Classroom?

Pulling it all together…
Once you have your list review it often and use it as you research graduate/professional schools and programs