For more than a decade, I have been actively trying to figure out who I am, what I like and how I would like to live my future. I have read several books that support the processing of these thoughts and attended various courses. This spring, one of the courses had an assignment to list which are the seven most important values to me, and how I live according to these values now, or do I.
I hadn’t really thought about it, so my first step was to find out what values are. It wasn’t quite that simple. I couldn’t find a single complete list from which to pick the values that spoke to me the most. I found things on the lists that I hadn’t even thought were values. Finally, I found the Schwartz theory of ten basic values and a test based on them.
Self-direction (independent thought and action, expressed in choosing, creating, and exploring) became my most important value. I feel that this value is perfectly realized in my current job. The work of an expert and consultant is based on independent thought and action. Customers have different operating cultures and challenges, so I can use creativity to solve problems in different ways. I also have the freedom to choose when I tackle each task, when my workday starts and ends, and what I do during the day to meet the expectations placed on me.
My next two most important values were benevolence (preserving and enhancing the welfare of those with whom one is in frequent personal contact) and universalism (understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature). These have probably pushed me in the direction of life sciences, medicine, and the pharmaceutical industry. My client companies develop treatments for, for example, rare diseases, so that more and more people have the opportunity for a better everyday life. One part of my job is to develop clearer and more efficient processes so that the workload is reduced, and colleagues can cope better at work. Working at home and an almost paperless office save nature. The nature visible from my window has a healing effect on my own well-being, which makes me better able to support my loved ones.
Fourth came stimulation (excitement, novelty, and challenge in life). During the last five years, I have completed a degree in a different field, lived in three different provinces in Finland, spent a longer period in Sweden, lived in the “countryside” for the first time, worked in five jobs that were very different from each other, challenged myself by participating in different courses and much more. At work, new tasks and job inquiries are received frequently. Before this spring, I hadn’t even seriously thought about writing a blog.
To my surprise, achievement (personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards) lagged behind hedonism (pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself) and security (safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self). Tradition (respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that one’s culture or religion provides) and power (control or dominance over people and resources) remained at the tail end of the list. I’ve learned that happiness and success come in ways other than personal achievement. I am in this job to help customers. Our joint successes are the best reward.