Fired again: How one Career Designer came to fully embrace her work values...

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

...and need for organizational fit.

Well, I did it again, I went and got myself fired. 

Ok, I’ve never actually been “fired" - I’ve been laid off, asked to resign, and in this most recent case, had my role “restructured” to a position that was not a good fit and the employer knew it. Now you're asking yourself: What is wrong with her?! In all actuality I suffer from the well-known and pervasive syndrome known as:

Willfully ignoring how my work values and organizational culture expectations significantly impact my relationship with an organization.

Perhaps more importantly I suffer from a secondary illness called:

Refusing to allow any organizational culture to directly or indirectly shame me into compromising my work values for the sake of fitting in.

See, when job searching I've been known to do what a lot of us do: I focus too much on the surface level of the employer/employee relationship. I think too narrowly in terms of the role's function, how I will excel in the role, how I will enjoy doing the actual work, and how much impact I can make in that particular role. The problem is:

Our work relationships are much more than just doing the job. Other factors, most notably values alignment and organizational culture, are also important.

Duh! How does someone with an HR background and advanced degree in work psychology miss that one in her own career? What’s a girl to do?  How about take my own advice. One of the core components of the work I do at Audacity Career Consulting is helping professionals take control of their careers by first working through a strategic process to identify their work values and ideal organizational culture fit. 

Values alignment and organizational fit are key to ensuring a positive and productive work experience.  

Don’t just take my word for it, Chris Edmonds' article references two research studies that link workplace stress to a lack of values alignment and poor job fit:

“My professional experience had already proven time and again that without such alignment, work cultures rapidly foster stress, erode engagement, and destroy productivity”. 

That’s not all, in their article for HR Dive Kathryn Moody and Riia O’Donnell reference another study:

“Culture also has a large impact on employees' commitment to achieve company goals, ability to be innovative and creative and to their commitment to ethical behaviors...”

There you have it folks. Values alignment and organizational culture are the make or break of your work relationship! It doesn't matter how much you enjoy and excel at the job if there is a misalignment between your work values and/or organizational culture expectations.

This is what I know:

  1. If you’re not able to be authentic at work - find another place to work. I know, I know! It’s not that easy. However, the alternative is a work life full of stress and anxiety that can have serious implications on your long-term career and even your health. If you’re not living your values at work you’re exhausted, it’s called covering and it will cost you time, energy, and peace of mind.  

  2. If you are job searching with a sole focus on how your skills match the job duties - that is not enough. You must conduct your due diligence on the organizational culture and alignment with your work values. What are the organization's core values? Does the organization have evidence of following those core values? What are the work values of your would-be peers? Do they align with the organization?

  3. If you're falling for the "best places to work" or any other employer brand marketing schticks - stop. Ultimately, it is up to each professional to dig deeper to uncover the true core of what it is really like to work at a prospective employer. We must learn to invest in ourselves enough to ensure alignment of work values and culture fit to perhaps become bit more career-happy (and a lot less fired!) in the process.

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