Career Anchors: What Motivates You?

Sections of this topic

    career motivationNot everyone is motivated by the same thing. It really is different strokes for different folks.

    Some people thrive on being creative and innovative whereas others prefer stability and continuity. Challenge and constant simulation may be important to one person, while creating a work/life balance is paramount to another.

    So, what is important to you in your career?

    What motivates you to do your best work? To help people answer this questions, Edgar Schein, a specialist in career dynamics, identified eight career anchors that impact career choice and career satisfaction. What are yours?

    1. Technical / Functional
    Your primary concern is to exercise your talents and skills in your particular technical or functional area. You feel most successful when you are recognized as an expert and are given challenging work rather than being given promotions and raises, although these are important.
    2. Managerial
    Your primary concern is to integrate the efforts of others and to be fully accountable for results and to tie together different functions in an organization. You welcome the opportunity to make decisions, to direct and coordinate work and to influence others.
    3. Autonomy / Independence
    Your primary concern is with freeing yourself from organizational rules and restrictions in favor of determining the nature of your work without significant direction from others. You enjoy being on your won and setting your won pace, schedule, lifestyle and work habits.
    4. Security / Stability
    Your primary concern is to stabilize your career so that you can feel safe and secure or that future events will be predictable. A long term career, geographic stability, good job benefits, basic job security and community involvement are very important to you.
    5. Service / Dedication
    Your primary concern is to achieve some value (e.g. make the world a better place to live; improve harmony among people; help others, etc.). You tend to be more oriented to the value of your work than to the actual talents or areas of competence involved.
    6. Pure Challenge
    Your primary concern is to solve unsolvable problems, to win out over tough opponents or to surmount difficult obstacles. The process of winning is most central to you rather than a particular field or skill area.
    7. Life Style Integration
    Your primary concern is to make all the major sectors of your life work together into an integrated whole. You do not want to have to choose between family, career or self-development. You want a well-balanced life style.
    8. Entrepreneurship
    Your primary concern is to create something new or different – product or service. You are willing to take risks without knowing the outcome. You have a desire for personal prominence in whatever is accomplished.

    Career Success Tip:

    Realize that different personal and professional situations bring forward different dominant anchors. For example, people early in their careers may want to develop an expertise and relate to the technical/functional anchor. Later on they may want to be in charge of a department or division and switch to a general managerial anchor. And if life priorities change, they may identify most closely with the lifestyle or service anchors.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?