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Posts tagged ‘returner’

Finding your career anchor with Tennie Videler

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.

Tennie Videler

Tennie Videler

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
  • Autonomy/independence
  • Security/stability
  • Entrepreneurial creativity
  • Service/dedication to a cause
  • Pure challenge
  • Lifestyle.


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.

Profile: Anne Clarke – Senior Business Analyst, Cambridge Assessment.

Cambridge AWiSE steering group co-chair – ANNE CLARKE
Anne ClarkeI joined the Steering Group of Cambridge AWiSE a few years ago having been a member for a couple of years before that. I find the group really supportive and encouraging, providing lots of interesting people to meet and listen too. I particularly enjoyed our series of WISEUP workshops and organising a successful day for returners in Cambridge.

My first introduction was from Lucy Spokes, when she was our co-ordinator, and attended the same OU Return to Work event as myself. One meeting and I was hooked! I am especially interested in supporting other women who have put their careers on hold to raise a family and want to return to professional life.
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Profile: Dr Judit Molnar- drug discovery biologist

Cambridge AWiSE Steering Group Member – DR JUDIT MOLNARI currently work at GlaxoSmithKline a large pharmaceutical company as a clinician scientist. I lead early clinical development of medicines treating autoimmune diseases, especially trying to find treatment for systemic sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

I am originally from Hungary, where I gained a Medical Degree. I lived in the US for a number of years while pursuing an academic career in medical research including a PhD and a postdoc. But… after a few years of racking up air miles with my British husband I moved to the UK to start a family. I became a full time mum with two little boys. At times it looked very challenging to return to a career path for which I was highly trained. I was lucky to be awarded a Daphne Jackson Fellowship just to do that. I used the opportunity to join Pfizer, a large pharmaceutical company and explored drug discovery as an alternative to return to Academia.

I have been a steering group member since 2011. I was new to the Cambridge area and found the networking with other like minded women at AWISE highly valuable. AWISE proved valuable again, when I was made redundant from Pfizer. The networking and the career development workshops definitely contributed to securing a position at my current company.

I always enjoy sharing my own experiences with other scientists in similar situations.

Dr Judit Molnar
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