the study aims at improving the comprehension of the factor structure of value (what it must be) and descriptive (what it is) attributes of work, and the betterment of the measuring instrument of these facets of the meaning of work. it was de developed with 622 workers, in a dwelling building firm and two supermarket chains in the federal district of brazil. these workers took part in the study, submitted to the application of the work meaning inventory and interviews. the results consist of two distinct factor structures of the attributes of values and description. the first with five factors: "social exigencies", "work justice", "physical effort and no-humanization", "personal realization", and "familiar and personal survival'. the second, with four factors: "success and personal realization", "work justice", "familiar and personal survival", and "mental load". second order factor analysis has shown that the main idea, which agglutinates the values attributes, is the social function of work, while among the description attributes is the hardness of work.