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How to find a job that makes sense to you


    I am a fan of any questionnaire that develops self-awareness. Knowledge is power. The more you understand yourself and what you need to accomplish, the more up-to-date your career choices will be. Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors questionnaire is one such tool. Schein has developed a range of 8 Career Anchors, which are presented in a wide range of professions.

    The questionnaire requires you to respond to 40 statements. Their rating reveals your personal career anchors. Your anchors are a combination of your skills, values ​​and motivations. Without understanding the anchors of your career, you run the risk of being “enticed” into roles that do not suit you or feel right. Armed with an understanding of what needs to be accomplished makes it easier to understand why you may not be happy with your job and what kind of role you are likely to find more satisfying.

    The 8 Anchors set

    1. Technical / Operational Ability.

    You bloom when you exercise your experience. Your technical skills will be admired and can lead to promotion to general management. However, the general administration risks leaving behind your technical know-how — exactly what you enjoy most.

    2. General Managerial Ability

    You thrive by making a difference in the wider body at a higher level. You will want to transfer the skills you have to a wider role where you are more likely to make a strategic contribution.

    3. Autonomy / Independence

    The ability to define your work and to determine how you deliver your work is central to who you are. Some who identify with this anchor lean toward self-employment.

    4. Security / Stability

    Job security and financial stability are critical to you. You are less worried about what you are asked to do than knowing that your job provides financial security.

    5. Business Creativity

    You are motivated and willing to take risks to be successful. You will not mind trying and failing on your way to success. You may prefer to start your own business rather than work for someone else.


    6. Service / Dedication to a cause

    Ultimately, you are driven by the need to make a difference through your work, whether through collaboration with people, through scientific progress, environmental impact or other endeavor.

    7. Pure Challenge

    Struggling with potentially insurmountable problems is what really motivates you. This could be mental through research, political, strategic, scientific, interpersonal, through sport.

    8. Lifestyle

    Work / life integration will keep you informed of the decisions you will make. It is important for you to achieve harmony with the various aspects of your life. The decisions you make will be informed by whether you can achieve this successfully. For example, you may refuse a promotion or change of location where this negatively affects your lifestyle or that of other members of your family.

    The Career Anchors questionnaire

    The purpose of the questionnaire is not to “match” you with an ideal job, but to know the factors that will determine the degree of fulfillment that you are likely to experience depending on your personal anchors. In this short Youtube excerpt, Schein suggests asking yourself about the professional decisions you have made so far.

    • What decisions did you make and why?
    • Is there a pattern?
    • Do these indicate a specific anchor / career anchors?
    • Which anchor would you most hesitate to leave?
    • Which is less important?

    Reflecting on these questions has led me to understand my own Career Anchors Autonomy / Independence, Service / Dedication to a purpose and General Managerial Ability. My first job, in retail, was delivered to a limited extent Service / Dedication to a purpose but not up Autonomy / Independence or up General Managerial Ability. My next job, working in an employment office, did not yield any of these – and led me to a professional career – which paid off. Service / Dedication to a purpose and Autonomy / Independence. Eventually, my move to a higher management role paid off for all three of my Anchors.

    Where I have been denied Autonomy / Independence in roles I literally feel suffocated. When I look back at jobs I have left, that was a key reason for me to move on. Where I was denied Service / Dedication to a purpose, my job meant that, as a friend put it, I was “hitting the target but losing the point. ‘ Again, I needed to move on to rediscover both autonomy and meaning in my career.

    Discover Your Career Anchors

    You can access FREE version of the Career Anchor questionnaire. You can find the book, which contains a printed version of the questionnaire amazon. Take time to think about your current / next role. How will your Anchors keep you informed of your business decisions? See also my post with links to others FREE questionnaires and my post on forces. “The decisions you make are a choice of values ​​that are reflected in your life in every way.” (Alice Walters)