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3: Analyze Your Habits

Analyze What Influences Your Career Choice

As a child, when you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you say? Your answer likely was influenced by someone you admired or an activity you enjoyed, but the possibilities seemed endless. Then, as you gained experience and developed your interests, you whittled down the list.

Ultimately, choosing your ideal career involves understanding your values, knowing your interests, playing to your strengths, and understanding how your personality influences your choices.

In this section of the course, you will analyze each of these topics and be challenged to see what matters most to you in your career choice.

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Matching Yourself to Career Choices

Choosing a career that matches your values, interests, strengths, skills and personality traits usually proves to be the best option. Think about what you know about yourself to answer these questions:

  1. My interests and values align best when I .
  2. My strengths or skills in set me apart from others.
  3. Two personality traits that characterize me best are

Is there anything about your values, interests, strengths, skills or personality that you think helps or hinders your career? The next few sections delve more deeply into these areas so you can discover patterns that can help you make a career move.

Aligning With Your Values

a heart and a brain on a scale

Just like financial decisions, your career choice should align to your values. Values define what is meaningful to you, giving you principles by which you make decisions throughout your life.

Research from SAM’s LifeValues Quiz identifies four categories of values that drive behaviors: inner values, social values, physical values and financial values.

  • Overview
    • Personal identity (how we see ourselves)
    • Social identity (how we believe others see us)
  • Areas of Influence
    • Sense of purpose and meaning in life
    • Desire to worship (or not)
    • Need for safety and security
    • Desire for freedom and independence
    • Control over goals and priorities
    • Need for personal space
    • Preference for working alone or with others
    • Outer success vs. inner happiness
  • Effect on Money Habits
    • Strong inner values mean trusting your gut and following the inner voice, which help you get through a sudden money crunch.
  • Overview
    • The desire for belonging with family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers and communities
    • Includes organizations (e.g., clubs, sports teams, schools, professional groups)
  • Areas of Influence
    • Desire to be alone or with others
    • Caring for others
    • Charity and volunteering
    • Budgeting and sharing expenses with a romantic partner
    • Feeling connected to political parties and representatives
    • Social justice and civil rights
  • Effect on Money Habits
    • How you handle money is, in part, tied up in your unique family history.
    • Habits and cultural rules learned from your family and other close relationships influence your later money habits.
    • Sometimes you might unconsciously “act out” in your adult money habits in response to messages you received in childhood.
  • Overview
    • The tangible aspects of life, the external world, our physical health and well-being
  • Areas of Influence
    • Amount of space we need to feel comfortable
    • How satisfied and fulfilled we are by beauty and material possessions
    • Physical comfort of our bodies and what we do to stay healthy
    • Desire for pleasure and comfort
    • Appreciation of art, fashion, architecture and design
  • Effect on Money Habits
    • Strong physical values might make you spend a lot of money on material possessions, but not always. Sometimes strong physical values show a desire for quality. For example, you might be willing to spend more for craftsmanship and design.
    • Strong physical values might cause you to get more insurance to protect your valuables, or to spend money on home improvements and self-care (e.g., gym memberships, beauty treatments, dry cleaning, interior design).
  • Overview
    • What we think or believe about money
    • Even people without a lot of money can have strong financial values
  • Areas of Influence
    • Having enough money
    • Wanting money to last
    • Making appropriate money choices
    • Bargain hunting and getting a good deal
    • Saving for long-term security and short-term goals
  • Effect on Money Habits
    • Strong financial values can mean you enjoy saving and growing your money.
    • You might think more carefully about your purchases than other people, and resist needless spending.
    • People with strong financial values can be great financial educators, both professionally and personally, giving guidance to family and friends.

Examining your values lets you clearly understand what matters most to you and why you set the goals for your career that you do. The judgments you make begin to reveal patterns in your behavior that are specific to you and your values. In addition, the hard choices you have to make become easier when you remain true to your values and goals.

Assess Your Values

Find out more about the values you use to make career choices using these tools:

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