We all have a particular orientation towards work and our professional goals. We approach our work with a certain set of priorities and values, which we call “career anchors”: a combination of perceived areas of competence, motives, and values relating to professional choices. Knowing and understanding these will help us be more self-reliant, make better career choices and thus enjoy a more productive and satisfactory career.
This was the objective of the first WiSE UP 2016 ‘Career anchors: Identify your strengths & values’ workshop facilitated by Tennie Videler and based on Edgar H. Schein and John Van Maanen’s publications. The evening started with a networking session and a mock-up job interview to help us get to know each other. After that and during the main part of the workshop Tennie helped us identify our career anchors among the eight possible:
- Technical/functional competence
- General managerial competence
- Entrepreneurial creativity
- Service/dedication to a cause
- Pure challenge
As Tennie pointed out, there are no good or bad anchors, only personal choices and preferences. And although Schein and Maanen imply that there should be only one anchor, Tennie’s experience suggests that many of us may have more than one to consider. In fact, many of the attendees had more than one career anchor and some of them even suspected that their career anchors could change with the passage of time. Tennie also pointed out that considering our anchor when selecting a career will help us choose the right path, avoiding incompatibilities with our true values. This prevents feelings of discontent and lack of productivity at work, and allows us to uncover our real values and use them to make smarter career choices.
Afterwards, we had a lively discussion about our career anchors and how being aware of them could be useful in all career stages.