Throughout my undergrad, I wanted to simply find a job within a company, and hopefully, align my values to the companies. But with 3 internships (but basically four), I've realized that you can't do that. Some engineers are lucky, finding a company that aligns with their values on the first try or unconsciously. But your values are part of your integrity, which you shouldn't give up.
Although this is an extreme analogy, Nazi Germany required many people to either surrender or defend their integrity. Some still defended their values, and were placed in dire circumstances due to their unwillingness to join the Nazis, and some were even killed. We still respect those people 70 years later.
So I've started to make a list of what I value, and some of it is very obvious. Here is part of my list:
- Meaningful work. not copying papers for the sake of copying papers.
- Education. I need to continue learning. And I want to continue teaching and mentoring others.
- Heath of the mind, body, and spirit...it should be encouraged.
- Openness to alternative and interdisciplinary solutions. It really irritates me when other engineers scoff when I talk about social interaction and trends.
- Social encouragement. Others flourish when they have friends and feel welcome. I know I do, and I love to see people excited about the above.
- Building up the next generation. It makes me so happy when I see young kids excited about science...and I want to be part of that mentoring and encouragement.
Those are just a few. Although they seem similar to "what-everyone-values," it's not. Write down your own list. What are you proud of? What gets you up in the morning? What makes you work harder during the 2 o'clock slump?
Find out what you value, and then find a company. Trust me, you won't become a disgruntled employee (I've met many even in my few internships of experience, haha).