Focusing Only on the Money Won’t Get You a Job

I see it over and over again – job seekers feeling confused and frustrated that they can’t find a job because they are only focusing on the money they will make.  While pay and benefits are important, they are not the only factors to consider when searching for a job.  You have to think about the sacrifices you will have to make, not to mention the workload and stress, that come along with high-paying jobs.  If your values and lifestyle do not mesh or you are not willing to do the work that is necessary then you will need to re-focus on finding a position that will fit and the look to see how you can set goals for how you will get there.

I once talked to a young man who is 29 years old and had worked his way up to the manager of a major, large retail chain.  He was preparing to interview for a district manager position and I have no doubt that he got the position.  In realizing his success, this young man was very focused on his career path and had taken the steps necessary to get where he was.   He reported that he had set career goals for himself at a very young age, 18, when he started working for the company and wanted to progress every two years; he would move into the “next step” and learn all he could so he was prepared for the next position.  While income was important to this young man, he felt that the learning and self-development opportunities were invaluable and motivating, as well as the ability to develop his employees to also move into management positions.

I think a good lesson can be learned from this story.   If you focus on your reasons for wanting to pursue your career path, aligning with your values, and setting clear goals for yourself can get you to the right job opportunity that can make you happy.  It will give you the purpose and the passion to work hard.  In time, the money will come!

The Top 10 Work Values

During self-assessment, which is a crucial step in one’s career management process, an area of importance to understand is one’s values.  Values are “the beliefs about the qualities of human life or the types of behavior that an individual wants to attain” (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006).  Values usually develop early on and can be learned behaviors or patterns that one esteems in their life.  In regards to a career, values include the preferences one has about the rewards, payoffs, policies, or leadership of their working life.  Schwartz (1999) identified the 10 top values that are relevant to the world of work.  It is important that you identify the value(s) that are important to you so that your job or profession will meet your value-orientation and help you be more engaged in your work and for higher job satisfaction.  See which of these top 10 are important to you:

  1. Power
  2. Achievement
  3. Hedonism (pleasure)
  4. Stimulation
  5. Self-direction
  6. Universalism (applies to all)
  7. Benevolence (kindness for the good of others)
  8. Tradition
  9. Conformity
  10. Security

Not aligning your values with your work can cause you a lot of stress and distress in both your personal and work life.  Are there any values that are not on the list that have high relevance to work?