The landscape of work is changing, yet people’s aspiration to build careers with moral value — that is, work that aligns with shared understandings of what’s right and good — remains constant. While doing so is difficult, it’s also worthwhile: Our careers take up an enormous amount of our time and energy, and it’s essential to feel that we’re creating careers aligned with our moral values. The authors’ research suggests that people can hold onto their moral values while building careers by staying attuned to moments of moral reckoning, questioning common purity rules, and being willing to change to whom they turn for validation.
What makes for a satisfying career? As professors, we’ve taught many young adults preparing to embark on their careers, and we’ve also studied professionals at all experience levels in a variety of fields, including journalists, educators, architects, consultants, and health care workers.News