Laura DokisBy Laura Dokis

How will your values affect the career choice that you make?

Ask yourself this question and take an inventory of the things that are important to you. Values are the set of beliefs and the sense of purpose that you have about the world and how you wish to conduct yourself. Reflecting on the Seven Grandfather Teachings and your cultural beliefs can help you start the process.

Consider your values in relation to your career options. How will the work that you do make you feel? If parts of your core values include honesty and respect, working in an occupation that contradicts what’s important to you can create a values conflict. Internal conflict is often difficult to deal with on a daily basis and you may find your work less rewarding and become unhappy with your choice. No job is ever completely ideal; however, entering into a career that is more congruent with your values leads to greater job satisfaction.

Being aware of your values will help you to make a better and more informed decision. When researching different career options, think about how the particular job duties, responsibilities and work environment make you feel. Feeling passionate or motivated by the job duties is an important clue about how rewarding the career will be for you. Many First Nations people have a desire to work in their home communities and/or with First Nations people. If you place this value as the highest priority on your career decision-making checklist you should start by exploring opportunities that will allow you to fulfill this goal.

Next, think about the things that you are naturally drawn to. Although you may not be able to secure work that satisfies all of your values, the fulfillment of your top priority is the key. Planning a career not only involves the paid work that you do, but also includes your hobbies and volunteer work. For example, if you have a passion for drawing, hunting/fishing, language, sports etc. you can find opportunities to include these activities as part of your lifestyle if you choose a job that affords you the schedule and location to fulfill these needs.

Visiting with an Elder,  family, community members or counsellor can help you explore your values and provide you with insight into things that others observe in you. Start a list of your values and reflect upon how they can be honoured and fulfilled through your career choice.

Laura Dokis has worked as an education administrator, career counsellor, and human resources professional at the Anishinabek Educational Institute and Canadore College.