Value March 2012 • 2 minutes

There are a number of ways to look at the value of something, such as intrinsic value (non-monetary importance, emotional attachment or important for example) and fiscal value (monetary importance, how much it’s worth to sell). When making career choices, people are faced daily with decisions which will affect both their ability to create value and their ability to capture it.

Creating value involves the creation of something. Musicians create value by creating a series of notes that sound appealing when strung together. Business people create value by shaping together a product and offering it to customers. Emergency service people create value when they help people. These are all important things, but none of them guarantee money in return.

Capturing value involves monetary return as a result of some type of interaction. Stock traders capture value when their investments go up and they’re able to sell higher than they bought something for. Employees capture value when a company pays them to work for it. Businesses capture value when their customers give them money in return for products.

Every job, career, or investment involves a certain amount of creating value, and a certain amount of capturing. Careers in financial services for example, involve a great deal of capturing value (you make lots of money) and a small amount of creating it (involves minimal creativity). Likewise, careers in arts often provide a much smaller proportion of capturing of value (financial reward) and a great deal of creating it (art is creation).

The ideal position to be in is one where the amount of value you capture (money you make) satisfies your personal needs, and you are creating as much value as you feel you are capable of. This explains why people say ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. The concept of work implies you are in it for the money, whereas if you are enjoying the way you create value, money becomes the lesser reward. People always often say that ‘money takes the fun out of everything’, meaning that if you have to do something for the money, even if you would enjoy it otherwise, the fact that the intention is to capture the value makes it far less satisfying.

In terms of career choices, it is important that a job, career choice or investment rewards someone’s goals in both of these areas. The more either someone is lacking, or worse the more both are lacking, the less satisfied one will be in their ventures. It is far more satisfying to start creating value then find an effective way to capture it, instead of focusing on the capturing of value and being stuck trying to create in your spare time.