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Identify Your Personal Work Values

"What is your spaghetti policy here?"
"What is your spaghetti policy here?"

Become more confident that your next job will be the best fit by identifying your work values.

Job hunting may be exciting, but to a lot of people it can be a taxing and exhausting process. No matter how you feel about job hunting, we all want to know we made the right choice when we accept an offer. That’s why it’s extremely important to evaluate your work values and know what motivates you to do your best work. Identifying what is non-negotiable for you in a job will help you ask the right questions in an interview and find a more fulfilling restaurant workplace.

There’s a multitude of work values that you can develop over time, but here are a few broad ideas to get you started.

 

Independence

Independence is important to those who need to have creative freedom or prefer inclusive management styles. You might find independence in a management role or in establishments where employees’ ideas, thoughts and contributions are embraced. Some related values include: creativity, variety and autonomy.

 

Support

Those who want management that stand behind their employees, or to work with a crew that defines teamwork will find that support is invaluable to them. Support can extend to technical aspects as well, like having employee resources and/or management supervision. Related values include: relationships, supervision and training.

 

Compensation

Restaurant work is not easy—so getting paid adequately is very important. Compensation can mean different things to different people. For instance, some people may value benefits on top of hourly wage more than receiving tips. Another person may depend on tips, but has a strong preference on pooled vs individual tips. Or perhaps you want benefits on top of hourly wage plus tips. Knowing this will allow you to recognize which jobs to apply for or strive to move up to. Related values include: working conditions, benefits and recognition.

 

Work/Life Balance

Many people get into and stay in the restaurant industry because of the ability to have work/life balance. But to be honest, only some positions in this industry get that luxury. If this is a deal breaker, make sure to ask about scheduling in the interview and talk to some people who have worked the position before. Related values include: flexibility, working conditions and support.

 

Relationships

Working with people you get along with is very important to some people. But relationships can go even further than that as a work value. It can be anything from working with people you can learn from, finding a team you can grow with, or even how much you like the customers that come in. Related values include: collaboration, support and helping others.  

 

When I took the time to learn my personal work values, I picked up an exercise that was helpful in organizing my thoughts. Take out a piece of paper and cut it up into 20 pieces (or however many you need) and write all the work values you can think of on individual pieces. Then with that pile, organize them from non-negotiable to negotiable. Once they are laid out in front of you, you can see your top five work values, as well as other values that you may be willing to sacrifice but would be nice to have.

 

Familiarizing yourself with your work values is extremely helpful when job hunting. You may be able to identify some of your values in the job post or better prepare interview questions. Whether you enjoy job hunting or not, the goal is to get a job where you’re satisfied and knowing what motivates you is a great way to find the best fit and avoid burnout.

Ashley Lange

Ashley Lange likes to cook, loves to bake and is always day-dreaming of her next meal. Ashley has spent the last 10 years in various roles within the food industry and is currently a server in Portland, Oregon.

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