When Your Values Misalign with the Job

If you are having difficulty at your workplace and feel angry and stressed, it may not be due to the amount of work you are doing or your hours.  It may actually be the result of your personal values not aligning with your work environment.  I see it over and over again, as I work with clients who come in unhappy and wanting to leaver their jobs; at times, they are worried that they might lose their jobs and feel as if they are being targeted by their boss.  Their stories can read like a bad novel:  “I’m doing all the work and XXX can come in late when they want”; they want to have parties when we should be working”, and “my boss never talks to me but he does to my co-workers.”  These behaviors occur on a daily basis in every organization across America.

While the resulting emotional feelings are real for my clients,  they are looking for relief and a way to cope and survive until they find a new job.  They don’t have any idea about what they are looking for in their next position – they just know they want out! Upon further assessment, it appears that they don’t really dislike their job but that their personal values are keeping them in total-work mode, i.e. minding those policies & procedures, but yet it makes them seem unegaged and standoffish to their boss and their coworkers.  This high value orientation, while admirable, keeps them mired in their own values and not necessarily the values of their work team or their organization.  Theses clients don’t like to “play” politics but that is what is exactly what is needed in order to survive.  I personally do not like to play office politics but recognize that we have to;  however, there are times when we need to play the political game while keeping our integrity and our values.

If this sounds like your struggles, you need to acknowledge and accept that you have high values and morals, which are exceptional qualities to have.  Observe yourself – are your values too high that you come across as standoffish or superior? Do you act defensive with your boss or coworkers, seeming oppositional?  You can learn to work with your values by being more open and making the decision to “own” your job and be the best you can. You can learn to be more open and friendly while maintaining your integrity.  You have the choice – what will it be?

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