Career Anchor

The most important part of a person’s life is his career. It’s going to be the source of income for most of his active lifetime and at times even after retirement. So, a person needs to be really clear about from where, how and through what kind of work are his finances going to be generated.

An individual needs to know his likes/dislikes, tastes, attitude, beliefs and values clearly before choosing a certain work or deciding on a career path. Otherwise, he might spend his entire life doing something he doesn’t even like and then end up hating his work and being unhappy with life in general.  His productivity is affected to a very high level, and even if he wants to, he won’t be able to give the work, his best shot.

In order to avoid this, an outline has to be sketched in the early stages of a person’s career itself when a person starts to know his or her skills and abilities and even recognizes what kind of work he\she enjoys doing the most. A career anchor helps an individual to do so by providing guidelines to individuals while making decisions regarding their careers and jobs.

A career anchor is basically an individual’s own professional perception of himself based on the judgment about their self skills, abilities, talents, motives, needs, attitudes and values.  But it is to be noted here, that this is not really possible without having a first-hand experience in a real life setting. A career anchor can only be recognized once a person has gained some work experience. And once it has been explored, a career anchor presents a promising foundation of stability throughout a person’s professional life.

The theory of Career Anchor was brought about by a study by Edgar H. Schein, an initiator of the modern day psychology, who projected that individuals have an exacting direction towards their respective works and that all of us handle our jobs using a certain set of behavior and standards.

Career Anchors may comprise of,

  1. Technical  or Functional Competence-

People with this kind of anchor like to prove that they are the best. They like becoming an expert at whatever work they undertake. They even develop specialized skills to get the work done quickly and accurately.

  1. Managerial Competence

Individuals possessing this anchor, have an attachment with people. They love to make others and everyone around them happy. They like to solve other peoples’ problems and work closely with them. Such people succeed on the basis of responsibilities handed over to them and they need emotional ability in order to do well. People with this anchor, can make great HR managers or personnel.


  1. Autonomy or Independence

These people are loners. They believe in individuality. Persons having this anchor prefer working alone. They like setting their own rules, goals and time tables and working according to them. They need to be given their own independence and pace of work to get the most efficient results out of them.

  1. Security or Stability

Such people are highly insecure about life and work in general. Permanence and continuous flow of work are what keeps them going. They avoid arguments and conflicts and do not like taking risks. They are peace loving people and work best under teams by playing the role of the “peace-maker”.

  1. Entrepreneurial Creativity

They are the developers or inventors. These people make up the brains of an organization. They are highly creative and like inventing things and coming up with new methods and techniques of work. These people love ownership and are born leaders. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like working with other people. They are the businessman class. These people like setting up their own business and running them.

  1. Service or dedication to a cause

Helping others is what makes these people really happy. They are more enthusiastic about this than solving their own problems.  If a certain task is assigned to them which falls out of their ability, they’ll go out of their way to complete it with zest.

  1. Pure Challenge

These people love challenges and trying out new things. They like undertaking difficult ventures and projects. They opt for a wide-ranging career so they can avoid getting “bored to death” with the same kind of work every day. They hate a dull and routine life.

  1. Lifestyle

The prototype of living i.e. a scheduled life is what these anchor type people prefer. Such people fail to maintain a balance between their professional and personal life, ending up giving more time to either of the two.

Other anchors consist of:


  • Motives
  • Beliefs & Attitude

It ultimately boils down to what stimulates you to give your finest.