This is a true story as told to LatPro.com where you can find helpful career interviews and job search advice in your desired industry. Visit to find a career interview in your field today. Is changing your career path worth it? When I was mid-way through high school I decided my career path was going to be in medicine. I was going to be a doctor and medical school was the natural destination. In my mind at the time it made perfect sense; I was great at science, I loved performing the dissections and biology lab experiments, and it was professional career path. By the time I got to college, however, my track got waylaid. My attention and interest in science didn’t extend over to the first level college classes for the science track, and I was soon fuddled up with calculus and inorganic chemistry. I barely passed the chemistry tests, and I ended up having to drop out of the calculus class. This was the first time in my life I had to re-assess my personal direction. I ended my first semester with a 1.9 GPA, so I had to fix my path quickly if I wanted to succeed. Fortunately, I was able to switch to my other skillset which was writing. I opted for the most likely professional career that used writing, in my eyes: a lawyer. So I spent my college career in government and English/composition, figuring that was the best preparation I could give myself for the legal field. Once I found my groove, my success became predictable. A typical day involved going to my requirement classes in the morning or those for my minor, government, and then I would take on my major classes in the afternoon. By 4pm the class day was over. I would spend the next few hours having dinner and relaxing. The evening was either working on a paper or hanging out in the library working on research. Unfortunately, after graduation the job market was far from expected. Unlike generations before who would come out of school with a degree and could expect a good job to be waiting, our generation had to deal with the 1990’s Recession. After the great ceremony, most of us would cross paths repeatedly at interviews and walking the street filling out job applications. Our competition was also thousands of mid-career folks who had just been laid off. More than once I would find one of my classmates being the office assistant managing the entrance door to a firm. Those were the lucky ones among us; they had a paycheck. Finding no results quickly in the office world, I had to fall back on my old skill and work talent in high school, being a cook. I spent two years in a kitchen after college until I was accepted into law school. This was a hard transition because, as I mentioned earlier, every generation before had their career handed to them after earning a degree. My graduating class was among the first to come out of school in the “new economy” that essentially said it was every man for himself. Having no preparation for this kind of competition for a basic starting job, it was hard. Many of my peers scrounged around in part-time jobs. Fast forward another five years I went through law school and then switched to a business master’s degree program. I started out with the goal to be a marketing analyst, and I finished the program with a job as a government financial analyst. I never saw myself in high school ending up as a number-cruncher, but it did happen. I even managed to pass calculus with an A grade when finishing my business master’s degree! Today my career is an extension of that initial financial analyst job. I’m a chief financial officer of an agency that manages 7,000 employees with a statewide presence. I manage a budget that is close to $1 billion, and I have 100 staff that report to my area directly. I’m halfway through my career course, and I expect to be an agency director by the time I’m ready to retire. Looking back at what I needed when I came out of school, I would definitely recommend for today’s graduates to be ready to work for themselves. This may mean freelancing, working two or three jobs at a time, or leaving the country to find better job markets overseas. If I could do it again, I definitely would have come out with a business degree as well as a writing degree from college. This combination provides the best flexible package to fit multiple career paths. The toughest part of starting out, more so today in 2012 than it was in the 1990s, is managing the frustration and depression while looking for a job. The job world is harder than ever. Folks need to rely on their wits, be willing to work independently, and be flexible enough to move where the work is at a moment’s notice. The “new economy” wants commandos that hit the ground running; the days’ of respectable, stable careers are long gone and it’s up to you to make it in today’s economy. Changing career path image from Bigstock
Recently, a list of companies that have the happiest employees was circulated online. The companies were commended on their ability to promote a healthy work environment and sustain work-life balance. Pfizer came out on top with Kaiser Permanente coming in second, followed by Texas Instruments. Looking at these lists, one wonders how these companies are able to promote such a positive productive environment for their employees.
Many would think this is due to compensation packages or other related perks. But then, is work only about earning money? Is it the most important aspect when employees join a new company? What about the other factors that play an important role in building a strong bond between the employee and the organization?
- A bond that stems from mutual appreciation and respect for the value system that both parties shape together
- A bond that is dependent on many diverse factors such as recognition, open communication, and teamwork
- A bond that strengthens over time when the employee performs well
The importance of core values is illustrated by a quote from famous author and inventor, Edward de Bono: "Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose."
This analogy really hits home. A purposeless tool is a worthless thing and so is a company without a campus—a culture that is formed on the basis of core principles.
Core values serve to constantly guide both the employee and the company in achieving their mutual goals, in a manner that is based on an ethical and ideological framework. Every business is different, and so are their core values. Having said that, there are some principles that are alike for all, even though they may be phrased differently.
Here are four such core values every organization should have:
1. Integrity And Ethics
Simply put, the two principles of integrity and ethics translate into doing the right thing, in an honest, fair, and responsible way. Building your entire business on the foundation of honesty and integrity goes a long way toward building a strong, trusting relationship with your employees, stakeholders, and customers.
Truthful conduct on everyone's part can create a strong, credible reputation for the company in the market, which is beneficial for everyone's interests.
Without dedicated employees, a company is nothing. Period.
Committed employees form the backbone of the entire corporation. They work together with the system in order to achieve growth and profitability.
A company has a responsibility toward its employees and, if one of its core principles is showing the utmost respect to its employees, it's likely management will have a low employee turnover rate.
Respecting all employees means respecting their individual human rights and privacy, and eliminating all kinds and forms of discrimination, whether based on religion, belief, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or physical disability. Moreover, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all employees is an important part of giving respect to them.
Many organizations across the globe adopt an attitude whereby the entire company interacts together like a close-knit family. Such an atmosphere helps boost the confidence of employees and makes them feel like an important, even indispensable, part of the organization. This inspires feelings of commitment and a drive to do even better.
3. Innovation (Not Imitation)
Companies that focus on being ahead of their competitors and introducing new ideas in the marketplace follow the principle of "innovation, not imitation." This is crucial if a company wants to be a trendsetter and introduce new products that consumers appreciate.
Employees in such companies are encouraged to be dynamic and come up with innovative ideas that can translate into successful products for the company. Constantly imitating others won't take the business far.
The thirst to constantly improve can be achieved if one is never satisfied. Organizations that have this principle as one of their core values try to provide a dynamic platform for their employees, where they can explore their creativity and skills and further enhance themselves.
While celebrating successes is an important thing, just sitting back and getting complacent over them is unacceptable for such companies. The reason why some companies habitually do well is because they know that employees are the most valuable resource.
Nothing compares to an employee who is dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. This requires a company to cultivate an environment that promotes respect and frowns upon politics. If you want to achieve this type of work environment at your company, these four core values are a great place to start.
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