What Career Next!

Ca r eer Change and Pl acemen t Specia li sts

There is a school of thought developed by Edgar Schein that people have a single selfimage that grows with them over time. This led Schein and others to develop the idea that people had single career preferences or needs that they should seek to fill by matching their job with this self-image. He called this preference their career anchor and proceeded to research them. He found that there are eight such career anchors that I have listed below. His research showed that people indeed do seem to have one and only one strong career anchor. From knowing this anchor, they can better choose their career and job to satisfy their needs. On this basis, they can be happier and more productive at work. The eight career anchors are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Technical/functional competence General Managerial competence Autonomy/Independence Security/Stability Entrepreneurial Creativity Service/Dedication to a Cause Pure Challenge Lifestyle

His research showed that even if you have a job change, a change in country or a change in fortunes your career anchor would not change. This is because it links directly to your image of yourself. How you see yourself and what you believe it is important for you to do. This concept grows on you through the twenties and thirties as you try various roles in life and your idea about yourself and your values crystallise. His research found this happened to the people that he researched. He says that if an individual does not know his or her own needs and interests then they will not be able to manage their career effectively. Therefore, the responsibility for selfknowledge rests with the employee to find out about themselves. Companies, on the other hand, can facilitate this process, by either making such tests available internally or sponsoring them externally. What about your personality and your career? How do these two aspects relate? I find that many people do not really understand what is personality. They can confuse it with many things including their interests, or their values and beliefs, and their preferences and abilities. So perhaps we can briefly discuss some definitions for everyone to consider…

Personality = a collection of traits (lasting over time and consistent in the individual such as optimistic; opposed to states which are temporary conditions of the person such as anger). This collection is a unique combination that reflects the each individual’s lasting character. Can be changed only moderately after adulthood by external circumstances; say by specific traumatic events. Personality Development = the interaction of innate characteristics (traits) with the environment, promoting some traits and modifying or inhibiting others. Studies through childhood and beyond show that the inborn traits and characteristics (like activity level, attention span, adaptability to changes in the environment, and general mood) are very persistent over time. Abilities = accomplished skills, skills already learnt. Learning is also a skill, so that someone may have a strong (or weaker) learning ability. Abilities can be grouped together, such as intelligence, or divided into specific sub-groupings like mechanical, musical, clerical, etc. Interests = Activities that you find attractive and want to pay attention to or engage in. Things that you like to do, reflecting your values and preferences. Values = Internal rules that you use to determine acceptability of actions, situations and choices. Grows over time and through social (family) learning. Now that we have all these aspects introduced let’s put them together into a career matching process. Companies invest a lot of time and resources to ensure that candidates are eligible for jobs. Eligibility means that the candidate has the required qualifications and experience to enable them to do the job. This gives no guarantee of how well the candidate will do the job. Past-experience is only a moderate guide to future performance. It is incomplete as a candidate screening process. How well is the candidate going to ‘fit’ with your company and how well do they ‘fit’ with the job itself? These two aspects are called suitability. A candidate’s suitability for a job can determine up to 90% of their success rate on the job. Suitability covers the following eight different areas: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Task preferences Work Environment preferences Motivation and Stress management Attitudes Interests Personality Interpersonal skills/preferences Decision making skills/preferences

This collection of characteristics predicts on the job performance up to 90% when properly matched to a researched profile of the job.

Job interviews and a check of the candidate’s background will only give slightly better than chance results or only 55% percent chance of successful performance on the job. What Career Next! uses a single tool, the Harrison Inner View to assess these eight characteristics. The reports produced allow the candidate to be specifically assessed against the job (or career path) and their ‘fit’ measured and quantified. So we come back to the start … what can be changed? Can the candidate change their results on this assessment somehow to improve their match to a particular job? We can now answer what can and what cannot be readily changed:


HOW TO CHANGE Training and education, Practice Self analysis, experiences, feedback Training and education, reading, internet surfing … Experience, education and training Self analysis, experiences, feedback; education and training, social group changes Education and training, practice, lifestyle changes



Oh, there is one more important thing that CAN be changed: your CAREER. I will cover this in a future article. John M. Read Certified International Job & Career Transition Coach Managing Consultant What Career Next! Registered in Singapore career@magix.com.sg
Tel: (65) 354 3551

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