If you only like your job on the 1st and the 15th of the month, Andrew McCaskill believes it’s possible your job is misaligned with your personal values. As a LinkedIn Career Expert, he’s seen misalignment manifest as:
A lack of motivation or enthusiasm for your job
Feeling like you don’t quite fit into your workplace culture
A general decrease in job satisfaction
Heightened stress and burnout
Regularly facing ethical dilemmas where your values clash with your organization’s expectations
If these symptoms resonate with you, read on to find out what you can do when your values and those of your job just aren’t syncing up.
What To Do When Your Job Is Misaligned with Your Values
1. Reflect and See If There Are Aligned Opportunities Within the Organization
If you’re noticing signs of misalignment, Andrew says it’s likely time to make some changes. But before taking the big step of quitting, Andrew suggests doing some self-reflection and noting which of your values are being compromised in your current job.
Once you understand what’s not working, he suggests having an open and honest conversation with your supervisor or HR department.
“They might be willing to make changes or provide insights into how your work fits into the company’s mission and values. You can also explore opportunities within your organization that might be a better value match. Sometimes, a different role or department can make a world of difference.
2. Begin A Strategic Job Search
For Andrew, deciding to leave a job that doesn’t align with your values is a very complex and deeply personal decision but if you feel it’s time to move out of your current organization for a better match, he notes LinkedIn has a great update to help – it’s a new job search filter which includes values which LinkedIn refers to as ‘Commitments’.
The feature went live in April 2023 and was specifically designed to help job seekers match with opportunities based on what they value in their careers. Job seekers can now search for roles at companies committed to work-life balance, DEI, career growth and learning, social impact, and environmental sustainability.
“Today’s professionals are clear,” Andrew says, “Misaligned values with a company is a deal breaker.”
According to new LinkedIn research, almost 90% of people in the U.S. say working for a company committed to the values they believe in is important and 71% say this is true even in an uncertain economy. Further, global data shows that companies with job listings that reference culture and values are getting up to 3X more views compared to those that don’t.
But to get the most out of LinkedIn’s new feature, Andrew recommends defining your priorities before you dive in:
“Start by clarifying which values matter most to you. You can’t maximize the filter if you don’t know what matters to you! Is it diversity, career growth, work-life balance, social impact, or environmental sustainability? Knowing your priorities will help you filter companies effectively.”
3. Do Your Due Diligence
To help ensure authenticity when adding commitments (AKA values) to their LinkedIn page, companies are required to include a description of their commitment and are encouraged to upload relevant reports or pledges that further support them.
However, as an extra measure, job seekers should also do some due diligence on a company before applying to a new job to avoid misalignment.
Andrew says one way to do this is by looking at a company’s LinkedIn Page to see what work or programs they’ve established that commit to their values; for example, do they have a diversity report that shows how they are investing in a diverse workforce?
Another measure Andrew suggests is talking to your network to find out if someone in your professional community may know another person who works or has worked at the company you’re assessing.
“Ask for a conversation to learn more about the company culture and whether it aligns with your values. A good practice is to always connect with current or past employees of the company to hear their personal experiences. This can provide valuable insider perspectives.”
When chatting with current or former employees, Andrew recommends asking questions like: “How was your experience with the company? Did you see their values hold true in decision-making? What was it like to work there? How did you experience work-life balance?”
If you move forward to the interview process, Andrew says this is another place where you can ask questions about values.
“When interviewing for a new position, it’s important to ask questions to gauge the work culture and make sure the company is a good fit before signing on the dotted line. Candidates should always be on the lookout for answers that lack specific examples, concrete action, or lack of professional development strategies. While asking these questions, candidates should pay attention to the sincerity and enthusiasm of the interviewer’s responses. Positive indicators often include specific examples, metrics, and a clear commitment to the stated values. Conversely, vague or evasive responses, along with a lack of coherent actions, can be red flags indicating that the company may not genuinely prioritize these values.”
During the interview, Andrew says you can ask questions like: “I saw on your company’s LinkedIn page that you support sustainability. What efforts has the company taken in the last three years to decrease its carbon footprint? The posting for this job outlined how DEI is central to the work we will be doing. How has that played out thus far, and how do you see that growing in the future?”
“Pay attention to your gut feeling during the interview process and your interactions with the company,” Andrew says. “If something doesn’t feel right or align with your values, take it seriously.”
4. Try Some of These Hacks To Attract Value-Aligned Jobs To You
Besides searching for jobs with aligned values, Andrew says there are also steps you can take to attract these kinds of jobs to you. For example, he recommends:
Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups: Join LinkedIn groups and communities related to your industry or values. Engage in discussions and connect with like-minded professionals who may share job leads.
Have Informational Interviews: Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your network who work in roles or organizations that resonate with your values. Learn from their experiences and seek advice on job opportunities.
Seek Values-Oriented Employers & Let Them Know You’re Interested in Working for Them: Target employers that have received recognition or awards for their commitment to values such as diversity, sustainability, or social responsibility. These organizations often prioritize hiring individuals who share those values. Once you find these organizations click the ‘I’m interested’ button on the company’s LinkedIn Page. It signals your interest in working at their organization if the right role isn’t available yet. This spotlights your profile with hirers at that company who use LinkedIn’s Recruiter tool, helping you further stand out.
Andrew says part of the self-reflection process is starting to figure out what impact you would like to have on the world.
“It sounds lofty but it’s the first step in identifying purposeful and mission-focused work. Once you understand that, start building your skillset in those areas so you become a qualified candidate to do those jobs.”
He highlights passion alone isn’t a skill.
“You can be passionate about criminal justice, but you can’t be a lawyer without skills and training.”
Andrew also notes, that once you figure out your mission and purpose, don’t keep it a secret.
“Start identifying mentors in those spaces and people doing that work currently to better understand the realities of the work and strategic entry points. Finally, be open to the adventure. Your first foray into purpose-driven work may not be your dream job, and that’s okay. When you commit to purpose, roles may change; missions don’t. There’s incredible stability in that–even if you have to move around to find the right fit.”