Values mapping: design process to get a new job

I recently switched day jobs to something I’m excited about – YAY!

It’s a role that uses more of my creativity, high-level design and problem solving skills, and ease at leading groups. YAY!

…and which also happens to be remote-first, in a tech field I find super interesting, with smart cool people.


… and it pays abundantly a/k/a NYC market rate for my skill set. That goal I set of buying my mom a house is now possible, and on my 2-year roadmap.


The questions you have might be along the lines of:

“how did you hit so many wins with that job?”
“how did you find something so perfect for you?”
“how did you know what to look for to find a fit?”
“how do I do that, too?”

Friends, I engaged in a formal design process of values mapping to define what I was doing in my job search.

I recently posted on my personal insta about my mapping process and thanks to the inquiries about it, I’m sharing my design process and map for:

  • getting a new job
  • working in a way that’s more sustainable and aligned for me
  • getting paid the hell more. 

I took the advice I give my clients and colleagues, made a visual guide – and broke the problem down in a new way for myself.

And damn if it didn’t change the game for me.

You know, rather then running around willy-nilly clicking every job search link I could find (I tried that too and it was hellish) wondering if maybe it would be cool to be a Feedback Manager* with a 50-minute commute (a job I interviewed for and didn’t proceed with).


The Map

First, I got framework guidance and a ton of inspiration for the top two rows of my map from a book called Finding Right Work by Leni Miller. I added desire and feelings to my map inspired by The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, and I included rhythms thanks to my rad integrative herbalist Avi Rose.
The map I ended up with is basically a mashup of sets of questions from those teachers, in my own words.
Here it is as an empty framework (also find it handwritten at the end):

As you may see, it’s just quadrants (sextants? there are six) to be filled in with: values, strengths, talents, priorities (for work), rhythms (of life), and desires and feelings (that I want).

They get filled out with the following:

  • values – what do I care about? what matters to me?
  • strengths – what am I strong at doing, practiced at, and  – work-related or otherwise? What would I say? What do others say?
  • talents – What are my gifts? What’s unique to me? What would I say? What do others say?
  • priorities (for work) – what matters to me in working? what do I want to do with a work life? what outcomes do I want?
  • rhythms (of life) – what do I want my days to be? what do I want to literally do as I move through time?
  • desires and feelings – how do I want to feel? what would I like to experience? how do I want to be?

The Process

The whole process of finding a job (not making the maps) took about 6 months, to be frank, from when I knew it was time to change to getting to a mutually excited YES.

About six weeks into my search someone left Finding Right Work in the magical free box in my lobby, and I am forever grateful because that book invited me to create a process. It asks you to slow down, stop slinging resumes to the wind, and really think about what YOU WANT.

You’ll observe above that the quadrants in the map are all positives: things that are, or are desired.

Mapping out my values, strengths, talents, and priorities (for work) meant I had to get real.

I had to stop it with focusing on what I had been trained to believe by capitalism that my value was, and name what I really wanted to do with my time.


It meant my keywords for searches gradually changed as I practiced learning from responses and rejections (a different post altogether for another time) what the words I was using in my map meant in relation to the ones in job ads.

As I was seeking out jobs it was REALLY helpful to fill in the top 4 squares, so I knew what to avoid – and where to get creative.

That is how I ended up staying in tech, but doing something I find delightful that’s adjacent to technical development (which I like and am good at but don’t LOVE – key difference).

The Secret Sauce?

Around this time, I also read You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero – which I highly recommend if you are ready to cast aside self-bullshittery and, in Jen’s words “make some damn money around here.”

That book’s urging plus the content of my values map helped me create an affirmation, which was:

A job that brings me joy, which I bring joy to, is ready for me and will pay me abundantly.

It was simple enough that every piece made sense, and I repeated it every damn day. I just said it until I believed it.


I’m not gonna insinuate that this was alone enough – but here’s the spin from the book: anything you really believe is possible (eg affirm) you will do the damn work to make possible, and relevant opportunities will start to come at you so it can happen.

I certainly did NOT sit on my ass hoping and repeating my affirmation – I spent hours a week on this project. However, that would have been frivolous time had I not been focused as hell.

I started to get suspicious that I was on to something when I was randomly (…or not!) recruited to interview at a very cool financial services firm. Ultimately it wasn’t a match for my map but it blew my mind wide open about my possibilities.

Look – I’d never figured out how to full-time work where every aspect appealed to me before. I’d either worked thank-god-I-have-money-at-least jobs, and more recently I’d worked lovely jobs I was good at but that had elements I’m not into – like slap me if I am ever going to build a fucking CRM again. I’m awesome at it! And I’m done doing it.

Oops sorry, got distracted by the P-A-S-T. Bye, past!

The map was deep and critical, but here’s where my process got wide…

The REAL Secret Sauce: PEOPLE.

Oh goodness I talked to a LOT of people about this. Friends, friends of friends, strangers in person and on the internet…

For me, it was crucial to have mapped out all these values and desires to drive these conversations in a direction that would be clear for the people, helpful for me, and not vague.

Adding in the feelz

After I landed my awesome new job, I knew I had another step to add: how did I want to be while doing said job?

What needed to change in my interior thinking? In my habits and approaches? What new forms did I need to bring to the project that is work?

Ultimately, writing in the final row’s two fields was about confronting how I have experienced life as a worker in capitalism, and how I have always wanted to dream and tried to act in ways that are not restricted by being a working in capitalism … all while being restricted.

Given that I have the lucky and privileged experiences that I do of having been a worker-owner of a cooperative business, having created side businesses and art projects I love where I know what it feels like to show up authentically, I had a set of information I could draw from to generate my desired feelings.

I also have a “check out” practice for my workday, where I see how I was able to invite in these feelings. What did I do that helped? What did I do today that is part of an old pattern I can let go of?

You try it!

If you go ahead and try designing your next change using this map, let me know how it goes, what you change, and how it helps you?

I am always curious about designing better systems 🙂


This was a REALLY hard secret to keep these last six months, as so much of my work was money and value related. There was so much I wanted to share here along the way  – but out of consideration for my existing job, I kept mum.

Now that I can share openly, I hope this framework and design approach is useful to you or someone you love who’s looking for work that more fully aligns with their values, desires, and dreams!

We’ll be talking about getting jobs and I’ll share my filled-out map in the next Kicking Assets Hacks Lab workshop on 7/15! That content will go into the Lab Library for all the Hacks Lab members out there reading this 🙂

* Being queer is already being a damn feedback manager. I’ve done that job already and you probably can guess how fulfulling it is!!