How-to Feel Happiness at Work by Knowing Your Values

Is your Visual Communications job satisfying? Does it meet your needs and values?

I have spent 30 years of my life trying to find job satisfaction. Because I did not make sure my values and needs were met, I’ve had many unnecessary heartaches.

Without clearly defined needs and values, my career prestige grew slower than my expertise leaving me underemployed.

There are many opportunities for people passionate about helping businesses communicate now. But you want to choose work that meets your needs and values; everyone benefits in the long run.

We all have similar basic needs, but those most important to us become values. I will discuss how to know what those are for you, and how they can guide you to the right job.

Write and rank your needs

The practice of finding your values can be as simple as sitting down and writing out all the words that describe what is important to you, then circling your top 6 and ranking those. There are many online resources if you need more help.

Needs are described in words like truth, peace, love, nonviolence, excitement, challenge, independence, creativity, self-direction, security, power, pleasure, achievement, conformity, and tradition. The most important of these needs is your values.

Values decks are a great tool 

A deck of cards to help identify your values
Finding your values, photo by the author, Jennifer K. Kouyoumjian

My favorite method of assessing my needs is a deck of value cards. These are decks of cards with a word or related words that you can quickly sort through. Once you find all the cards you relate to, you then decrease the set to 10, then to 6, or even three. I have found that my top 6 needs are my values.

I got my values deck from an LGBT Affinity group corporate conference. Be authentic; be yourself was the conference message. This company met my needs of needing to contribute as an expert and believing in authenticity. After three traumatic layoffs, then my needs changed.

Values reveal your real role

If your values are around benevolence, sharing, service, and achievement, this likely points you to a role with challenges in a non-profit that directly benefits people.

If self-determination, creativity, self-expressionism, inclusion, and influence are your values, you better make sure you have an influential and independent role in creating your unique ideas.

When needs go unmet

Often the people you interact at work with are not aligned with your values and needs, thwarting your sacred values. This could result in an ongoing painful situation.

At times like this, it is good to review your needs and values. When you feel strong in your conviction, asking for your needs to be met is not tricky. Your goal should be the ability to meet your needs yourself, on or off the job.

Being underemployed and not treated as an expert in some areas means my needs are not satisfied. Blogging about work, the workplace, and my ideas about Visual Communications, and providing How-tos is one answer to all of my needs not being met.

Grow your career and happiness

In conclusion, write down your needs, values, and what you desire from work. Then write out a mission statement based on your values on an index card. Keep your card close to your journal or a place of importance. This little card points you in the right direction and reminds you of your unique values and gifts you to bring to the world.

What do you value? Please let me know. Also, you can see some of my work at

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