Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

UNDERSTANDING the IMPACT of CAREER VALUES on CAREER SATISFACTION: Utilizing Card Sorts in Career Counseling

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

UNDERSTANDING the IMPACT of CAREER VALUES on CAREER SATISFACTION: Utilizing Card Sorts in Career Counseling

Article excerpt

Career values are a component of several career theories including, Super's Theory of Vocational Choice, Theory of Work Adjustment, and Brown's Values Based Approach (VanVoorhis & Protivnak, 2012; Sharf, 2010). Satisfaction and happiness in career is enhanced when an individual is able to find a job or a work environment that matches their career values (Ravari, Bazargan-Hejazi, Ebadi, Mirzaei, & Oshvandi, 2013; Bouwkamp-Memmer, Whiston, & Hartung, 2013; Sharf, 2010). As counselors, we often encourage our clients to seek out and find the best fit in a career orjob in order to obtain career satisfaction. Finding ones best career fit incorporates identifying various components of career satisfaction including interests, abilities/skills, personality preferences, and career values and matching them to career and educational opportunities (Smith & Campbell, 2009; Rottinghaus & Zytowski, 2006; Sharf, 2010). Values are tied to our innermost selves, our core beliefs, and they define what is most important to us. Career values are the values an individual must have in their work in order to feel rewarded and experience overall career satisfaction (Sharf, 2010). Career values may be particularly difficult for clients to identify as values sit below the surface of consciousness, yet they are one of the most helpful aspects of career and educational decision making (Balsamo, Lauriola & Saggino, 2013). Although values can be one of the most important aspects of finding a satisfying career (Rounds, 1990), clients may have difficulty identifying what their values are and may not consider values when making career and education decisions (Sharf, 2010; Smith & Campbell, 2009). Many people who report being unsatisfied with a career choice or who are unable to tolerate performing certain tasks or duties may be experiencing incongruence between values and career. If they have never consciously identified their career values they may have chosen a career that does not align with their values, yet may not be able to verbalize this dissonance and understand why dissatisfaction has transpired.

Because values are intangible and are often difficult for clients to identify and verbalize, being asked to prioritize career values when a client is already struggling with career decision making, may seem overwhelming. The Knowdell Career Values Card Sort (Knowdell, 2004) is one commonly used career values card sort assessment and provides an example of a simple way for clients to identify and explore their career values. Clients can then use this information to overcome obstacles and engage in successful career and education decision making. This assessment may be used with diverse clients across the lifespan, from college students who are exploring what major to declare or how to apply their education to adults who have been in the workforce for some time and are looking for a career shift. Clients cannot be expected to find their best career fit without first understanding what this means and what information to use, which includes their career values. Clients who express career or education related dissatisfaction or exhibit a barrier in decision making due to an incongruence between a career and what they value may benefit from a career values cart sort.

A career values card sort assists counselors with clarifying client experiences and expectations for career, education, and the world of work. Understanding clients' values can provide a wealth of information for the counselor regardless of setting, and by utilizing this assessment a great deal of information is divulged in a short amount of time. Clients are provided with the opportunity to identify and verbalize their values, which may be beneficial not only in career and education decision making, but with interviewing skills and writing strong application materials. Many employers are looking for candidates whose values match their organization and screen candidates based on this information. …

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