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We have to start somewhere…

On Tuesday the 2nd October I, and 40 other women, arrived at Lucy Cavendish for the first in a series of five WiSE UP career focused workshops. The idea is that through the course of the series, by coming to know ourselves a little better, recognising our skill set, learning to put our best foot forward and knowing how to get the best out of others we can all take stock and consider our options…….

For some this may be looking for a new job and for others it may involve switching careers altogether, taking the first step back into work after a break or indeed making the most of our current position. The world is our oyster apparently!

The evening began with caffeine and cake (is there any other way to start?!) and an engaging networking challenge which involved finding our place along the spectrum of careers in the group from ‘just starting out’ to ‘hey I might just have cracked this career malarkey’ (my personal viewpoint).  The noise levels soon revealed that the group were keen to share experiences (!) and learn a few tips from others along the way.

The workshop itself was based around the concept of Career Anchors, a self assessment tool by Edgar Schein. Through a mix of interviews with a buddy and a personal questionnaire, the purpose was to identify how our motives, competencies and values relate to our career choices.

A career anchor ‘is a combination of perceived areas of competence, motives and values that you discover you would not give up if faced with a career decision that might not allow you to fulfil it’. I had done a similar kind of test some years ago which can be found online so I was looking forward to seeing if my perceptions and values had changed as I underwent a complete career change during the last 2-3 years. In the end my career anchors were a mix of technical competence (I enjoy being the expert!) and also dedication to a cause (supporting women in science is my current passion!).  Reassuringly my underlying values had not changed over the years, I had just found a job better suited to my anchors! For others the greatest challenge will be to balance the need to pursue seemingly unsolvable problems while still satisfying their lifestyle career anchor priorities.

This remarkable group of women have begun a journey together (whether they know it or not yet!) and I for one can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. The next workshop is “Don’t keep it to yourself: market your potential” about crafting an effective CV, managing your online presence and using your appraisal, so I’m off to update my LinkedIn profile and see what happens when I Google my name!

See you all next time….

Vivien Hodges, CamAWiSE steering group

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