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As the debate over the federal minimum wage in the United States continues and the White House is making news for its position on overtime rules, there's been much discussion about the meaning of a paycheck.

Is income the main source of job satisfaction? For some, income is a top work value.

If you've taken the Kuder assessments, you know the role work values play in the career planning process.

Whether it's high income, prestige, a sense of accomplishment, a pleasant environment, or something in between, work values serve as important influencers of career choice and development.

The Kuder® Career Planning System™ (KCPS) includes the following advice:

  • If it's your overriding desire to achieve earnings and rewards that strongly support your economic and financial advancement, ask yourself the following questions as you consider a potential job:
    • What can I reasonably expect as an annual salary in this occupation in the state where I live – at the beginning, after five years, and after 10 years?
    • Besides salary, what other employer benefits might I expect in this occupation – such as insurance, bonuses, stock options, and contributions to a 401k or pension plan, etc.?
    • Which is more important: the amount of income the occupation offers or how much the work engages my interests?

That last question brings up the point of evaluating what you like to do, and weighing that against what's important to you in a job. But what about also considering what you're good at?

Work values aren't the only factors in career choice and development. Identifying values, interests, and skills is a critical step in the career planning process.

According to Dr. Donald Zytowski, senior director of research for Kuder, these three elements are as critical to the process as legs are to a chair: “Any chair needs at least three legs to make it a stable place to sit,” he said. “The chair could have several more legs, such as whether the career has any future to it, or the probabilities of success, but three makes a good start!”

Are your skills, interests, and work values in synch with your career choice? In what ways are these attributes fulfilled or unfulfilled by your current job?

About The Author

Amy Khokhar

Amy Khokhar is a senior writer for Kuder and serves as editor of the Kuder Blog. She joined the company in 2008. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Colby College. She is a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) and Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP).... read more