Tuesday, 28th September 2021 | 02:10:34 PM | 3.3 mins read | By Mugure Waithaka

Stories are a great way of teaching kids and adults the difference between right and wrong. Over the centuries in all social settings in the world, stories have been used to impart knowledge on values, morals, skills among other things. To teach us values, we have heard the story of The boy who cried wolf to teach us “to tell the truth at all times,” The Clever monkey, to teach us “to remain calm and use the presence of mind to get out of adverse situations,” and many more.

According to Steven Mintz, in his blog newsletter Ethics Sage, Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. He writes that values describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions; the sort of person we want to be; the manner in which we treat ourselves and others, and our interaction with the world around us. They provide the general guidelines for conduct.

Therefore, values are principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life. Personal values are the things that align with one’s personal beliefs. These values guide us in making decisions in our everyday life. Knowing oneself, what you believe in and what you don’t believe in is important in forming a personal value system. This personal value system becomes something that motivates you and gives you control of both your personal life and worklife.

Personal values are especially vital in the workplace. This is because they assist you in knowing what job you should apply for, what perks would be valuable for you and what you can or can’t handle in the job. Let’s take the example of a secretary working in a small office and earning minimum wage. This secretary may not earn much but still shows up to work on time, abides by the rules and does what she is supposed to. She can easily apply for another job and probably earn more. She could also decide to do a shoddy job because she feels like she is not paid enough. However, she does neither of these things because she believes in committing to what she signed up for and being efficient in the work she does, more than the pay itself. In this case, these values motivate her to come to work and do a good job. For this secretary, a promotion or a bonus is achievable because her personal values have enabled her to paint the picture of a woman deserving those things.

On the other hand, the same secretary could also believe in being vocal and honest and ask for a raise and get it instead of being quiet and miserable in the workplace. For these reasons, a personal value system is crucial when it comes to creating a balance between yourself and the workplace.

Therefore, the key to having a good work life is to know what you stand for and exercise that in everything you do. Know what you can accept and what you can never accept. Knowing your limits is important because this grounds you.

Navigating through life aware of what you value and what you do not is a respectable trait and it can help you elevate in life in a way that is likeable to you and your colleagues. Still taking the example of the secretary, if she gets a promotion, she will be able to gladly reap the fruits of what she did. Having personal values and applying them in your work life provides you with peace and clarity, knowing that you will be able to control the space around you.

Mugure Waithaka is a 2nd year student taking Film and Creative writing

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