You Got This!

How to Align Your Values With Your Job

Every time we land a new job, the excitement is there: new beginnings, a new opportunity, the chance to grow... but how can we keep this motivation during our journey and take it further from the newbie stage? Aligning your values within your workplace can be the answer. During this talk, we will learn how to recognize our own values and take them to our workplace (and step up when we don't find them) to achieve a greater commitment and satisfaction in our careers.

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BalsamiqOrbitSamsung InternetTwilio


Hi, everybody. So, first of all, thanks for having me. Again, You Got This is a great conference, so I'm excited to be here. And today we're going to talk about a few things. The first one would be how to align your values with your work, right? How is it? How can I enjoy my daily life at work, how do I know my values, and so on?

But, before we start, I would like to share with you who, right? I will talk about Samsung Internet in a minute. I think it's important to introduce myself to give you a context about what I'm going to explain. My name is Laura, and that is my Twitter. You can follow me. You're wondering where is this accent from, I'm originally from Argentina, South America, where we got great stuff, including this drink that usually when I drink that in the UK, people think that I'm doing drugs, but it's not, it's called Mate and it's like a tea, and it's really nice. If you don't know about that, I'm from the same land as this guy called Messi and football is everywhere there!

After growing up in Argentina, I spent like, let's say, two years doing the digital nomad life. I've been doing freelancing, at the moment, while I was travelling around, and then I decided to quit that life to travel, well, not that much, we're in weird times, and then I settled in London, where actually I am based now, pretty happy to be there.

Besides that, that was my recent story, but besides that, I've been working, let's say, about 12 years kind of in tech. I started my background is software development. I've studied as a back-end, and then I went back a little bit to the front-end, and then while I was doing these shifts in my life, when I moved, and I started to travel, I've started to do different things, different profiles. I've started to teach coding, freelancing, consult be, I even tried to be an entrepreneur. I worked for big companies, start-ups, the government, so much stuff, right? I'm pretty happy to make those decisions. This is like a little bit of the, my background, so you can have an idea, and, of course, you can ask me questions about that.

And why did I move to London? I had the chance to start working at Samsung Internet where I'm a developer-advocate for Samsung Internet. If you don't nope what Samsung Internet is, it's one of the sponsorships of You Got This conference. We are excited to sponsor these types of events, and Samsung Internet is a browser, yes, Samsung has its own browser, and it is built, by using open source, by the same Chromium engine. It's available not only for Samsung devices, also available for any Android device. You can download it on the play store or galaxy store. It has different features, and one of the main features that we like about hour browser is that we try to respect users' privacy, so you can check it out, and you can download Samsung Internet, and let me know how it goes with this browser.

All righty, I work for Samsung Internet now, and again that was part of the reason that I decided to move to London. The thing here is when I started this kind of job, I was not a developer advocate 100%, I was doing - I mean, I was not officially a developer-advocate, but I was doing community work a lot. I mean, I was talking in a lot of conferences when I was travelling, most of the time as a volunteer, organising events, and, again, my background is software development and most of the time related with the web, and one of the things that when I arrived here, and I got this job, they told me that the position statement was leave the web better than we found it. That was my team mission statement. How cool is that? I started to resonate with that kind of thing. Something that it makes me feel that I'm adding a certain kind of value to a technology that I really like, right?

So that was the beginning of realising I think I've started finally after doing so many things, again, even though it was most of the time software development, I enjoyed, but there was always something missing, and, of course, usually we tried to progress, and as humans, we try to have evolution in terms of career, or goals, so my goals were being as happy as I can with my job, and then I think I resonate with this kind of stuff.

Let's start talking about how you can align your own values with the company values, or your work values, right? The problem is that when we just arrive to a new job, we are so excited because we are learning, and we have a lot of things to do, new stuff, new team, but, actually, how do you feel about this? Sometimes, if we stop learning, or if we don't feel that motivation, usually we stop doing, like, we stop being so proactive sometimes, and the first example about that, I can completely realise that my time in that job was time to change or something like that because my productivity was really slow. I was like something is missing.

And I know that most of you are thinking about motivation, I think motivation is important, but sometimes we need to acquire discipline, and that is a different thing, but let's talk about how we can keep ourselves a little bit more aligned with what we do, and this is not only in tech, this can be in so many fields.

If you don't work in fields, also, you can listen to this talk. Again, this inner child spirit about, you know, trying to research, being amazed about new things, wake up every morning, and it is okay if we don't feel like we should do this or that, but, it is like you know when it is time to, "I don't like this stuff, it's not aligned", and I feel part of the motivation is trying to avoid that boring phase, which I said that once we stop learning, right, and sometimes we need to be really proactive, and try to check which kinds of things motivate us, but sometimes it's not really that. Sometimes, what happens to us is that we see the bigger picture of where we are, let's say working in a company, and that company what it does is to, I don't know, like make sweets, and just sell sugar to kids.

Suddenly, you don't feel like this is fine. What is your contribution? Maybe your values there are not really aligned. Maybe it is time to check. What can I do to think that I'm actually adding some value, adding a contribution? Let's try to see this. How can we know that we are aligned with our current job, or whatever we are doing if we don't know our own values? So, our very first step is to try to know which are your values. This is not as simple because it requires a lot of self-awareness, it requires a lot of self-knowledge, and I'm not going to lie, one of the main things that you can build with the years is because of the experience. I think that I wouldn't know that I don't like a certain kind of thing if I didn't have the chance to work in these different stages, or in these different companies.

And this is a message especially for people that are just starting their career in tech and maybe you're like, okay, what should I do? Should I deal my portfolio perfectly? Should I do any front-end, whatever? That is the best time for you to get experience. If you don't like it, you move, because you are able to, not make mistakes, I would say, learn, get lessons to learn, right, and during my career, I realised that there were a lot of things that I enjoyed. I enjoyed to work in a certain different, in certain environments. I didn't enjoy doing certain kind of things, or there were a few things that made me angry, and that was the reason why I was changing on trying to be more aligned with things that, that it feels better with myself. Again, this is something that you can get with the experience, so I encouraged everybody to, if you don't like something, get and try something new. This for everything, not only in tech. Again, always try new things. And there is always room for learning, I think so.

When I started, I started first of all as a back-end developer, and then he was doing the certain kind of jobs that it was, I started to work from home, and then I moved, and then I moved into different environments, and I learned that, okay, maybe I like front-end too. Make I can add this to my profile. But then later I was like, no, I think it is - I'm more like, you know, a back-end person. But I would never know if I didn't try to do some front-end, for example. Try new things, and then you will realise what kind of stuff you like or what you don't.

Besides that, this is a story time. I'm not a good person when it is about two things: routine, doing the same thing every day in general, something that I get bored, and I need certain kind of stability, usually, to follow a schedule for me is not easy. And that is something that I realise, not like when I was born, or when I was a kid, like, I don't like, you know, being in the same office every day, no, that's something that I learned within the time. As I started to work from home early, I moved to different companies, and then with different politics, and, for example, when I was working in the government, rules there are you need to go to the office every day, got this time, of the year, I was like, even though I enjoy the work, I need flexibility. I need that kind of thing. And I've started to know which ones are my values. And I'm that kind of person that, again, it is hard to do these things every day. But also, this is where motivation goes.

This is a picture about myself when I was in New York City, and I got the chance to volunteer teaching coding to young people in New York City, and I was working in the summer and I realised I was waking up every day at 6 am and being there at this school at 7.40, and I think maybe one day, and I was never late because consciously I knew that there were people there, and I was like contributing something that I really liked so I realised I like freedom, but besides that this feeling that I'm helping others's. That is something that motivates me that I can do often. So review how you feel. If is not only for the good feelings, it is also whether was the time that you feel really angry, or really happy in this case, and it was happy doing this, and didn't have any problems with routine or doing the same thing every day.

Again, I realise that part of my values were related with freedom, fun, I need to have fun wherever I go, inclusion, equality, helping others, that is something that I realised, okay? And we have an exercise. If you're at home, maybe you're wondering okay, I don't know what my values are. I don't know I have enough experience in the job market, whatever. Maybe you already know these.

This is the Maslow Pyramid where you start to identify what your needs are. We know that we have our physio logical needs like eating, a place to sleep, we need to have safety. Besides that, we need to have love, belonging, esteem, and then self-actualisation. In this pyramid, you need to take what are your values, and what things don't you have covered? One thing that happened to me when I was an nomad, I was enjoying most of the time, but I didn't have stability. And that is something that I realised I really needed if I want to have different - if I want to grow in a certain kind of project. So that is a need that I have. So constantly check yourself, what are the needs that you're missing? Besides that, again, Clerk your emotions. Not only the times where you're really happy or enjoy, also, what are the things like you were really mad at? What kind of stuff made you angry? Review that kind of feeling. And, again, the exercise maybe if you are like ... well, this is pretty simple, and it is something that you can start doing.

You can look for - you can ask to show me a list of personal values, and you will see a bunch. You have something here. If you Google something, you will see a lot of values. Try to choose from this list ten, at least ten that resonates with you. In my case, I did this exercise it not only once and that's it, but remember we grow as people, and try to remember what are my values, and from those ten values, you choose from this big list, to see which ones are your top three. Then every time you made a decision, try to see if those values are aligned, because at the end, it's something that it will motivate you, and most of the decisions that you make if they are aligned with your values, I think probably the output can be amazing.

Again, for example, in my case, if you want to know, freedom is one of the things, fun, equality, helping people, those are the kind of stuff that motivates me a lot. All righty. I hope that was helpful for you. I put "close to your hear" rather than "heart", or somewhere where you can find it in your journal, your notes, somewhere. And trying to review that often, so those are still my values and they resonate with that or that. You have a lot of experience and you're pretty clear about the stuff that motivates you, but otherwise this is a good exercise to start doing, so you get to know yourself a little bit more. What about work? This is so nice. You get to know yourself, when you start a new job, and you need to make decisions?

First do your research. Research what the company values are. For example, if again, if you're against, I don't know, eating, let's say if you're vegan, you're not going to work for a company that sells leather, or something like that, right? But this is like an overview. The thing is, and this is tricky, because you can do your research about the company. But, this can fail, because sometimes the company can say we are so sustainable, we are a Green Parking, we, green packing, we recycle, and then, when you start working there, it's not like that. So I would add extra research, and I think the best way to know how it works is to know your team-mates.

Especially this part is before, if you have to make a decision about a new job, try to ask your team-mates, and how if there are any activities that align to your values, for example, if is diversity, what does the company do for diversity? How do your team-mates feel about that? Do they do anything to make the team feel equal, for example? Those kinds of things.

I think that is a very good approach to see, when you can expect from job. Last but not least, when you're there, sometimes, it's hard, you don't see at once how it is behind the scenes, but let's say that you kind of are happy and I think like you're aligned with what you are doing, trying to plant your own seeds, share your values with the rest of the people, and your work, even if you work with your team-mates, if you work on your own as a freelance, if you're a student, sometimes, when I feel like, you know, I'm not, I'm a little bit lost, okay, what can I do? Whatever, again, if fun is my value, I'm trying to do something to make my colleagues enjoy the work, or go for a coffee, or make it feel like we are having fun in this process, of it can be a conference, it can be, I don't know, in any specific scenario, but that's my last advice, especially if you are in a place, even though if you think you're not someone 100% sure about which are your values, or the company values, have that checked and try to put your values in your daily day.

So, yes, I think, I hope that talk was useful. Yes, my cartoon, like during Covid times, hopefully you're all safe out there, and still take care of yourself. You can find me on Twitter. Sometimes I put stuff that I like on Instagram too, and then you can find on Samsung Internet where we talk about the web. So, yes, that is it for today.