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170: Discovering Your Career Anchors: A Conversation with Peter Schein
25th August 2023 • Happier At Work® • Aoife O'Brien
00:00:00 00:48:31

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Are you at a career crossroads and wondering how to make the right choice?

In this enlightening podcast episode, Aoife O'Brien dives into the world of career anchors and choices with Peter Schein, co-author of "Career Anchors: The Changing Nature of Careers." Peter explains how career anchors help individuals understand their unique values and preferences, guiding them towards fulfilling and successful career paths. From technical functional roles to autonomy, creativity, general management, and more, the conversation explores the different career anchors and how they influence our decisions. Discover the power of self-awareness in career planning and decision-making, and gain insights into finding a balance between personal and professional goals.

The main points throughout this podcast include:

- Understanding the concept of career anchors and their role in making career decisions.

- Exploring the eight different career anchors, including technical functional, autonomy, challenge, entrepreneurship, general management, service, stability, and lifestyle.

- Recognising the importance of aligning your career choices with your personal values and aspirations.

- How the pandemic has reshaped the way we perceive and approach our careers.

- The significance of self-awareness in navigating career transitions and building a fulfilling professional journey.

“The next one, it was actually one of the newer anchors called to challenge and risk is how we label it, but it's basically, you don't ever want to be too comfortable doing something that's simple. You always have to be finding something that is boil the ocean hard or you, you're sort of a risk junkie.


A friend many, many years ago was a capital market, financial instrument trader and was given the opportunity to, become a manager in that same, department. No, it was the challenge of your life on the line with every trade you make. That is what motivated him. He didn't wanna manage other people doing that.


In 2023, the world embraced that idea, but when this research started at the Sloan Business School at MIT, Ed and other people working on it knew that those people were all going to say, I want to be the boss, I want to be the general manager. I'm at business school because I want to be a CEO. But I think we've moved past that. And they discovered in the research that if nine out of 10 of their panellists said that, by the time they got 20 years later, less than half of them were actually still saying they wanted to be the CEO.”


Listen back: https://happieratwork.ie/happier-at-work-68-embracing-the-gentle-art-of-humble-inquiry-with-edgar-and-peter-schein/


Connect with Peter Schein:

Website: https://ocli.org/


Do you have any feedback or thoughts on this discussion? If so, please connect with Aoife via the links below and let her know. Aoife would love to hear from you!


Connect with Happier at Work host Aoife O’Brien:

Website: https://happieratwork.ie

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aoifemobrien/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HappierAtWorkHQ

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/happieratwork.ie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/happieratwork.ie

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm0FKS19I5qSlFFmkx1YGqA

Transcripts

Aoife O'Brien [:

Peace or shine, you're so welcome to the Happier Work podcast your second time to be a guest. So I'm really delighted to have you back and talking about your latest book. Do you wanna give people a little bit of an introduction who you are and maybe, a brief overview about the book and what we're gonna talk about today.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. Yep. It's wonderful to be back. It's nice to see you again. And, so, my name's Peter Shine. I've, I, spent the last 6 years or so working with my father, Ed Shine. who passed away in January, but, you know, we worked all the way to the end. And, so he's, he's at rest. And, but, but, you know, kept kept driving and contributing until the

Aoife O'Brien [:

very end, I think. Amazing.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. We we all should to strive for

Aoife O'Brien [:

that. So Yes. Absolutely.

Peter Schein [:

so, that was in January and this year, 2 work of his and hours come out. and the first one, is this book career anchors reimagined. Let me try to get my there we go. and so this is the 5th edition of a book, that was based on some research that was done in the 70s, well, actually 60s through 80s is probably

Aoife O'Brien [:

not accurate. I was gonna say because I I remember when I was kind of looking at my career and and trying to understand things, that would have been a really old research paper that popped open the search results, I think, is how I first came came across it.

Peter Schein [:

Right. And and the idea of the research was that Ed and his colleagues are social scientists. And so rather than applying a sort of a personality test to a career arc, it was Let's have a panel and let's track how people's careers evolved over a number of years. And the thing that's that's great and is also challenging about that kind of research is that, you have to, you know, you have to maintain the panel Yeah. And you have, you know, time is your friend because it's all about what's happened over that, you know, 5 year block of, of career choices or so, that research turned into a finding that there are some anchors that people optimize around in the career choices that they make. And the original panel, there were 5 anchor and in the current work, they evolve that, Ed and the other author, John Van Mannon, Evolve that to become 8 anchors over the last couple additions of the book. and in this new edition, we've sort of changed format, and we've changed the way we present those, those anchors, those 8 things that you optimize for. And I'll just give you a briefly, a, a description of what anchors are. Is there sort of talents, abilities, and skills?

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

So that's sort of in a traditional career, assessment or a, or a career counseling. That's what you tend to focus on.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

because, you know, you're why are you doing this? Well, you might be looking for a new job or you might be looking for a pivot or something. So you need to kinda have that mindfulness of who you are.

Aoife O'Brien [:

This is this.

Peter Schein [:

Right. But it's also, what do you want and what do you need? So that creates a a set of, you know, dimensions that influence the way you make career decisions. And, again, the career anchors idea is that it, it creates a visual for you to understand the choices that you've made, not just who you are, But how does that, relate to the choices that you've made? Because we, we, we, you know, are, at any point in our career, we make good choices and we make bad choices. Absolutely. I can relate.

Aoife O'Brien [:

I can relate.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. so it's very important to sort of balance all of those things. And the way the book works is you, you, you respond to 32 prompts. And that then allows you to sort of see a pattern, around the choices that you've made And then you also respond to 30 two prompts around what you think you need to be, how you think you need to grow, what you think you wanna do.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And so you end up getting this picture of, who I am today based on the career decisions I've made, who do I think I need to be based on, you know, changes in my life or, different aspirations or, or, or whatever? So it's a combination of accumulated work, that, you know, and choices that you've made to become a guide

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

But also a constraint. You know, I one of the things that I wanted to do in in in sort of recreating this book was recognize that anchors are both that. They're they're we think of a boat anchor as this thing that doesn't move. and, but career anchors are, are not just a restraint in that sense, but they're also a guide. And so, I like to spend time on the water and happen to know about the concept of the sea anchor, Okay. Or drogue.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Which, if you've ever been out in the water and you put out a sea anchor or a drogue, it stabilizes you. It it if if things get really rough, the the drug you know, helps maintain your, your direction. because the wind and the waves will take you anywhere. Well, the drove, the C anchor, In this sense, the career anchor kind of gives you a guide in in turbulent times. So the whole idea of the book is that you have a visual for, you know, what yours, what your anchors or what your C anchor looks like. so that as you're making decisions, you can, recognize who you are, how you've made decisions in the past, and what you need to optimize for as you make career choices.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Brilliant. I love that. And something that kinda sprung to mind, and it was from a conversation on a previous podcast episode, with, with e and all about these the idea of the the towards move and an away move So I think if you can describe where you've been and where you'd like to get to, the aim is to make a towards move towards what you want. rather than an away move away from what it is that you really want, using that framework should essentially should help you to be able to do that.

Peter Schein [:

Right. Right.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Brilliant. Love that. Do you wanna talk us through what the 8 anchors actually are?

Peter Schein [:

Sure. So this, just to to get a little bit more on the arc of the book too. and I and if I promise I will get to the 8 anchors, but I I do.

Aoife O'Brien [:

We'll keep people listening a few minutes longer.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. So the the thing is, with a lot of our books, we would sort of encourage people to sort of, you know, maybe read the read the final chapter first or, you know, flip around and find us in with this book, we kind of want you to go through it one through eight

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

We want you to go through the book, linearly because the first thing we talk about is how much work has changed in the last I mean, it was the last 5 years.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

I'm certainly since the last edition of this book, saying a lot of things have changed. And we have, you know, we're all familiar with terms like the great resignation or you know, hybrid work or all of those things that are fundamentally different than certainly the the original panelists for this work. would never have imagined that you might have you might live in a country that has a 4 day work week, or you might Yeah.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

you know, or you might, only really be asked to be in the office 3 days a week.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. I mean,

Peter Schein [:

those things were inconceivable. so so we we kind of recognize that those, there have been a bunch of really tough challenges. for people managing their careers over the last, certainly the pandemic and, and, and, and, you know, economic impact of the pandemic has changed things a lot. so we, we sort of level set on that and ask you to sort of you know, write some downs, some reflections about how, you know, the last 5 years have impacted you. The next thing that we do is very important in that our view is that you don't make career choices in the vacuum. in a in a sort of an individual bubble, you're always making it in the context of real relationships that you have in your life.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

or in your work. So you may be following in the path of a mentor. So you are not making career choices without some sense of what that mentor had done or might do or would advise you to do.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

So we, we ask you to build a relationship map and think about the people who influence, you know, how you live your life what choices you make, what you value, and, be very conscious of how you are making career decisions in that relational context. And, we, we apply our relationship theory that, you know, essentially goes from exploitative relationships to transactional relationships to personal relationships to intimate relationships. And, and you're making your relationship map, we want you to be very conscious of, are there transactional relationships that should be personal relationships? in order to help you make better career decisions. and, and again, we talk through how to do this relationship mapping and how to think about those different levels of relationships that may, you know, help or hinder the choices that you wanna make.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. I love I love that I as an as an idea as a concept because it's so true. We don't just make a choice for ourselves. We we do consider the other people that we have in our lives as well, whether that is someone who's a mentor, or whether it's the personal relationships that we want to maintain. So you might choose to go and work in a specific place because it has flexible options, for example, because you have other people in your life that you need to take care of. So It's, yeah, I love that idea. It's not just kind of a selfish thing that this is why we're choosing to do this particular career, but actually it exists within the wider context of of the relationships that we have in our life.

Peter Schein [:

Right. Right.

Aoife O'Brien [:

I love that.

Peter Schein [:

So then So we go through that. And, again, we're trying to sort of build mindfulness or careerfulness. Right? Careerfulness.

Aoife O'Brien [:

heard it here first.

Peter Schein [:

At the danger of coining another bit of jargon in English language.

Aoife O'Brien [:

But -- This is this. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

so the then the thing that was always very important in the history of this work was the interview. where, you and a colleague, you and a partner, you and a friend, Or as I wanted to say in this work, you and Zoom or you and a mirror or you and a phone, any sort of device that would, would allow you to effectively be explaining yourself to another person.

Aoife O'Brien [:

And,

Peter Schein [:

again, you could do it looking into a zoom camera, and and we give you a interview front.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

ask you to describe this, that, and, you know, choices here. You know, where'd you go to college? Did you go to college? You know, how did you make? So so you build this set of insights, and it's probably better to do it with another person. but you don't have to. You you can do this as an individual exercise.

Aoife O'Brien [:

And it's it's essentially a way of explaining the choices that you've made. rather than being, like, say, a job interview, for example, it's more about explaining, well, what made you know, why did you do this or, or why didn't you do that?

Peter Schein [:

Right. Exactly. And and when you, when you force yourself to articulate it, you, you know, you understand yourself better. Right? It's very easy to sort of, you know, go through the questions in your head.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

But we really want you to do it with a friend, or do it with yourself, but actually go through and verbalize you know, the choices you've made. and then you can go back and, and transcribe the recording and say, oh, yeah. I guess that's right. I really did do this. even if I thought I was doing that.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's amazing. The different results are the different things that you get rather than thinking about things in your head, even versus writing down, but versus verbalizing it and and trying to explain and maybe just verify why you did certain things. I think, it does make a huge difference. I think just getting it out there rather than being stuck in your head all the time.

Peter Schein [:

Right. And you can play a lot of tricks on yourself when you're stuck in your head all the time.

Aoife O'Brien [:

So Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I did this because of this. And then when you actually talk about it, I mean, someone even prompts you, or they they kind of question, well, is that really the case? Or, you know, when you're actually talking to someone else rather than talking to your phone or talking on zoom or something like that. And yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

It it's dynamic too because because, you know, you, you don't want to spend your whole time justifying, because you're you're partner who's going through the questionnaire is getting sort of judgy, right? It's not, yeah, it's not supposed to be kind of a normative exercise. It's supposed to be a socialization exercise.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. If if all you can come up with is a bunch of wrong choices you've made. Well, you might as well give up. No.

Aoife O'Brien [:

There's always something you learned. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

long choices there. Just

Aoife O'Brien [:

free zone. Mhmm. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. So, and so then after the interview, then we say, alright. Now we can start talking about the anchors.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

and

Aoife O'Brien [:

So you don't even know about what they are until you go through that interview process.

Peter Schein [:

Right. Right. Well, actually, wait. Is that right?

Aoife O'Brien [:

it's Or maybe you don't have

Peter Schein [:

that much detail? I think we've tried to not get people too focused on the anchors well, I I should add one other thing. We did have there's a chapter that's sort of theory about the internal career versus the external career.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay.

Peter Schein [:

So there really is who you are versus what your resume says you are. It's just important to be mindful of that. distinction.

Aoife O'Brien [:

-- Can we can we explore that topic diminish? Yeah. I mean, that kinda really resonates with me, and I'm thinking not just resume. I'm thinking LinkedIn and, you know, oftentimes when I'm talking to people for the first time, I won't necessarily go and read their LinkedIn because I want to hear their experience in their own words and why they make choices. And I'm not going to on my LinkedIn explicitly say why I took one job or left another job because you know, there could be personal reasons associated with those, and there are. So when I'm talking to someone, I kind of explain my career history in a very different way than what what you would ever see on my resume or what you would ever see on my LinkedIn profile as well.

Peter Schein [:

Right. I mean, I think it's it's very true because, and I think with LinkedIn in particular, knowing that, the audience for it is much, you know, is way up into the right of what your you know, traditional, you know, 1 or 2 page CV, you know, that that LinkedIn's a completely it's a mark. And it's explicitly that. And you you you may not have thought of your paper resume as as your, you know, the, the door of your store, you know, the, the, your storefront. But it really is. And, I guess the good news about LinkedIn and sites like that is that, that, you know, you realize there's nowhere to hide. I, I, you know, I need to represent myself. But a lot of what what this book is about is maybe drawing, you know, drawing it closer to what your actual internal career is. so that you're not always, you know, continually feeling like you're putting lipstick on the pig or You know, you're not just overrepresenting things that that is just typical in in in you know, in LinkedIn profiles or resumes that you're overrepresenting, some things and not others. And, and you know, people who are hiring, you know, get that. They can read through that. Right? that the humans have a very good bullshit meter. And we, you know, we didn't, you know, it, it didn't. It's been there for a while. It didn't wasn't created with LinkedIn.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And so, so that just being that bill building that consciousness of that internal versus external.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. No. I think it's I think it's really important. And presumably, it brings you closer to something that you really want to do in that case as well. So again, whatever history you have, is not necessarily what you want to do internally, but I think oftentimes people fall into a career, and they just continue in that career because it's what they've always is done and you get to a stage where you think it's too late to change now and what skills do I have, and I can't change industry. There's all of these things that go on in people's heads, I think, which is you know, it's it's not true in a lot of cases. I think there are, you know, you can there's a lot of transferable skills that you can take from from one industry to another, and I think it should be encouraged to do that as well.

Peter Schein [:

I think that's absolutely right. And if and if any, if if we can help, you know, people be happier at work

Aoife O'Brien [:

by having a little

Peter Schein [:

bit more of this sort of sense of, you know, I am who I am. And I just now have a better visual for who I am.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

we were talking earlier. We, we, you know, it's very common that people know their Myers Briggs type indicator profile.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

I tend to think of that one as being a little bit reductive.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

That, you know, that may become more of a strength than, than an enabler.

Aoife O'Brien [:

It puts you

Peter Schein [:

into your box. Yeah. And if if if those four walls Our walls, not doors. Yeah. Then that may not be helpful.

Aoife O'Brien [:

you should do because you're that you have this label. Right. You're more likely to be this. I mean, don't get me started on Myers Briggs because of what I learned about it. And, you know, I've used it over the years. and I've got different results. So this made a lot of sense when they told me when I was doing my masters, Myers Briggs, it's not it it it fails the test retest. So if you take the test again, you'll oftentimes get a different answer, which is not really conducive to to something that's, you know, really strongly scientifically backed but I do know my Myers Briggs, and I it helps to explain a lot, I think. I always thought of it as a kind of a scale. So people who would perceive me as more extroverted, perhaps they're more introverted than I am, because I always come up well, one exception. I think I came up as an e, for extrovision, but one time I came up or, sorry, most of the time I come up as an i, But that's not how I'm perceived by other people, but that could be in my own frame of reference because they're more vert it. And so they perceive me as being more extroverted. So more of a scale, and relational type of scenario rather than you're in this box and that's kind of it.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. and I think that's we should think of Myers Briggs or the CliftonStrengs finder, which is a very common tool or career anchors is we have to think of these as scales Not not.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Not to access, yeah, boxes or whatever labels. Yep. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

They're they're they have to be thought of as, yeah, And there are oftentimes, they're sort of continuum, you know, right? They're not, right? They're not just a point. They're a point on a scale.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Exactly.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. And and it's probably more realistic. It's a range on a scale.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yep. Yeah. Yeah. And perhaps even at a point in time as well. So it doesn't change over time. yeah, maybe it doesn't change over time, or maybe it does.

Peter Schein [:

It it's I mean, I guess our our view would be the career anchors, evolve. They they may not change dramatically.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

But, I I think if you, you know, did this 10 years ago and did it 10 years from now, your pattern might look a little bit different. your and the other thing that's different about this edition of our book compared to previous additions is in the past, it was your career anchor is. So there would be a top one And then there would be 7 in declining order underneath that top one. And, I think we all add my father, Ed, and John, and I all agreed. That's not really right.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay.

Peter Schein [:

But I was a little bit more vehement in saying, hated the way that was presented.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Because I know that I'm not. And and it's partly because, and I'll talk through the anchors, but it's partly because I didn't really like that image of myself that that was my anchor.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. and, so,

Peter Schein [:

Again, the the the idea in this book is that we present the anchors on a spider web or a radar scale And then your pattern around those eight dimensions is sort of the image that you have it's not what's my one anchor because what's my one anchor is a little bit more like what's my MBTI.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. It's not that simple, just like we were saying. so what are these anchors? I'll just read through them quickly. Yeah. The first one is technical functional.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay.

Peter Schein [:

So are you somebody who is you know, deeply involved in a specialized, you know, a pre specialized profession, a particular kind of engineering, or, you know, you're an, you know, a, a pediatric neurosurgeon or something. It's, it's a highly, and it might be something that you have to, maintain a, a credential in. know, you may have to do boards every few years or you might have to, you know, be tested to, to confirm this technical technical functional skill. And there are a lot of people out there, particularly where I live in Silicon Valley, who have a very strong technical functional foundation. Yeah. So again, things that are interesting around that find that foundation and not other things is what you would optimize for. If you're if your primary, you know, anchor is technical functional.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

next one is autonomy. Right? So you have said to yourself, and all the decision, career decisions I've made, what I really value is my autonomy.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay.

Peter Schein [:

So it's a little bit different than technical functional where that tends to be that tends to combine the external and internal career pretty, you know, transparently. Right? Right? You're you're, you know, it took a long time become a pediatric neurosurgeon, and people sort of understand that that is an extremely specialized skill.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Whereas it might be, it might be harder to sort of understand that you optimized for autonomy in the

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

On the other hand, you know, maybe you're a, you're an independent accountant. And you realize it wasn't your account.

Aoife O'Brien [:

traveling sales or something like that where you're kinda responsible for yourself, essentially.

Peter Schein [:

Right. And so you, you know, you, you have the opportunity to join a big firm. And you said, I value my autonomy more than that. So you're you're you optimize around that choice. So the next one, is, that we it's a it was actually one of the newer anchors called Challenge and Risk is how we label it. But it's basically, you don't ever wanna be too comfortable doing, you know, something that's simple. You always have to be finding something that is is, you know, sort of boil the ocean hard.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And, you know, and you or you you're sort of a risk junkie.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

so, I, you know, a friend many, many years ago was, a financial, you know, Capital Markets Financial Instrument trader and, was given the opportunity to, become a manager in that same, you know, department or whatever. No. It was the, it was the challenge of, you know, your life on the line with every trade you make.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. But it

Peter Schein [:

was motivated him. He didn't wanna manage other people doing that. He wanted to, you know, Can

Aoife O'Brien [:

I just commend the self awareness around that though? Because I think a lot of people chase after that title. So it's really great to have that level of self awareness to say, I don't want to go for that title. I'm happy doing this day to day. You know?

Peter Schein [:

And that is exactly right. And I would like to think in 2023, the world has embraced that idea. But when this research started, at the Sloan School at MIT, Business School at MIT, Ed and other people working on it knew that those people were all gonna say, wanna be the boss. I wanna be the general manager. I want, you know, I'm at business school because I wanna be a CEO. I think we've moved past that. And they discovered in a research that if, you know, 9 out of 10 of their panelists said that, by the time they got 20 years later, less than half of them were actually still saying they wanted to be the CEO.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay. Interesting. Right.

Peter Schein [:

It's just, it's, it's not, you know, CEO's pretty rarefied. Not everybody's gonna wanna be or able to be the CEO.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Exactly. Yeah. This is it.

Peter Schein [:

So then there's entrepreneurial creativity, which is a little bit like autonomy. but here, it's this it's you may you may wanna be the boss. You want wanna be creating something new. But, what it is, which might be more of the technical functional anchor is less important than you wanna be creating something new. and, always, you know, it's, it's, again, out here in Silicon Valley, there's the concept of the serial entrepreneur. And it kind of characterizes what this is that you optimize for new chances to build something. But once it gets to a certain size, you're gonna bail and go on to the next one.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Because you're just too much of a builder.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

But you don't wanna be a sustainer. You wanna you just wanna be always building something.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

then there's the general management anchor that I kind of implicitly referred to a couple minutes ago, where you're making decisions around, I just wanna build my organization. I wanna be, you know, the boss of more people. I wanna be, a C level in an organization. And I don't really care what we do or, or how we do it. I just, that's my aspiration is to be that. Yeah. General management boss. And again, I think in the, you know, fifties through eighties, maybe generally business schools in the US anyway, we're sort of training people on that track. Yeah. But we all know, you know, it's, even then, not everybody was gonna be on that track. people are gonna have other interests. They're gonna optimize for other things.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

so then there's, a a service anchor And this is also one of the newer ones where people realize in themselves that what they're really optimizing for is ways to serve other people. So this might, this might be, you know, somebody in the medical profession or, or any of the, different ways of, of, service that gets expressed through our complicated healthcare systems. But it also might be somebody who, you know, is more important or is more interested in, important sort of environmental issues.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Okay.

Peter Schein [:

And they are, a a different kind of technology or different kind of, you know, work lifestyle. our work style. so they, you know, they optimize around wanting to serve others or serve other causes. there's couple there's couple more that that are related. And then I think you do have your 8. I've got them all.

Aoife O'Brien [:

You guys have. I have

Peter Schein [:

so far.

Aoife O'Brien [:

I have 6.

Peter Schein [:

So, then there are 2 anchors that sound similar, but they're they're kind of not. One is, is it's called, we call it stability and security. And that is that you make career decisions as a way of maintaining your personal status quo or maintaining your personal sense of security and stability because you don't you don't crave change, you don't or or you may have many people dependent on you and just realize you can't take on a lot of risk. So you're opting or optimizing around that. that sense of security, you know, you, you know, that your salary is going to take you out this many years or it's just that some people optimize for that. And then the last one is in when it was in it was created as one of the later anchors was called lifestyle. And we realized that's it's not lifestyle. It's that And I think, again, in 2023, I think we're much more cognizant of this, idea that you are most people are optimizing their personal and their professional lives. The idea of somebody who's just, you know, a 110% professional and sort of you know, the, the train wreck of personal behind them doesn't matter because they're just all about their professional. I, I don't I I think the pandemic sort of got us over that little.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There's much more of a blend, I think, between life and life these days. especially with hybrid opportunities, remote working and things like that. I think there's there's much more of an opportunity to do that. And maybe in the past, I'm kind of thinking in the past, maybe people wouldn't have had or thought they didn't have that option for more of a lifestyle type of career choice, but now they do.

Peter Schein [:

Yes. And I think it it's embracing it as life work integration.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

and so true confession, when I did this a few years ago, maybe 10 years ago or something, I was my my anchor was lifestyle, and I thought, jeez. You know, I've been working pretty hard. I don't I don't know what why is that?

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

But I because I recognized it in my what I was motivated for and and what I valued, it did involve my kids. It did involve the things that I like doing that aren't just work. it's not everybody, but I think, you know, we're finding that that post pandemic, I think we, we kind of got real that, you know, we're all trying to survive this thing.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And we're all trying to protect our families. And we're all trying to protect people we love. And, so, you know, maybe, maybe how we think about Climbing the corporate ladder is a little bit different.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. And make kind of make different choices, essentially, I think. but, no, that shed some, some really great light. And I'm kinda reading through them thinking, well, there's a few that I could relate to, so I'm gonna have to go and get the book now and go through and kind of understand it in a little bit more detail. I think you've you've provided some information there, but I think for me and for anyone, who's making choices in their career. And I think you were talking earlier about career pivot, but for me, I think what I'm seeing more and more is people taking responsibility for managing their careers where previously we were kind of reliant on our organizations to present opportunities to us I see a lot more people taking full responsibility for their careers, whether they're looking for opportunities internally or externally. So I think something like this is really valuable for understanding the choices that they've made up to now and maybe the direction that they want to go in next.

Peter Schein [:

Right. And, So we would view this as it's a it's sort of a project to go through with yourself and maybe with your partner or spouse or or a close colleague at work. Yeah. And go through and, and, and do it and consider it another way of having, more insight to who you are and what you want to be. put it next to your Myers Briggs, or if you've done the Clifton Stranks assessment, put it next to that. In fact, there's appendix in this book that compares them, compares what your career anchors might be if your Clifton strengths look like this.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Oh, interesting. Yeah. I would be curious to see that because they do have my Clifton strengths as well. Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. So, think of it as, you know, as as just just another way of of having a little bit better insight into yourself.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And it's we also set it up so that it asks you about the, you know, the assessment part of it, which is all online, by the way. You buy the book and you understand how the assessment works, but you're given a certificate to go online and then do it, and that creates your spider web. And your spider web is not just your anchors, which is decisions you have made, but it's also how you wanna grow.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

So we ask you 30 two questions in each category, and then you get a different pattern for the choices you have made and maybe how you would try to optimize for the choices that you will make. And with that, I also want to mention that that in the final chapter, we, reprint the famous Robert Frost poem, the road not taken, I guess, is what?

Aoife O'Brien [:

2. Yeah. 2. Yeah. I think that's what I was, like, 2 roads emerged in a yellow wood. I Yeah. I always remember the first line, but I'm like, what is is that the name of the poem?

Peter Schein [:

The road not taken. Right.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Road not taken. You know?

Peter Schein [:

Two roads. diverge in Yellowwood.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And so we reprint that. And because we're sort of want you to sort of say, okay. I've gone through this thing. And now there's this great poem. Why are they throwing this great poem at me?

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

Well, it's because it's a poem that can be interpreted as either you know, go out there and be an individual and take the the road not taken. but if you read the poem carefully, it raises this idea that maybe the traveler in this poem has made a horrible mistake.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah.

Peter Schein [:

And it wasn't this great American go out and be an visual and, and take the road not taken, maybe that was a horrible mistake. And that's how careers are. come to a, you know, a road, you know, diverge in a yellow wood. and, you know, maybe the the one with the right path was the road that was trodden, not the one that was untrdden because, you know, so but be aware of when you've made the right decisions and met maybe when you've made the wrong decisions. And it may not be something that the, that wrong decision may not have had any, you know, catastrophic impact on your career. But, you know, it, it might have And it's just being mindful of, of those mistakes will help you not make as many in the future.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Exactly. And for me, I always like to think of it as a learning opportunity. So anything that has gone horribly wrong in the past, it's more of an opportunity to understand more about myself to grow in self awareness. And so if anyone is listening today and they're thinking, I'm in that situation now where you know, how can I get out of this situation? Think about what you can learn from it about yourself and what you want and and and what you might do differently next time.

Peter Schein [:

Right. And it's not just who you are, but it's what you've done and how that is influenced buy and influences the people around you.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yes.

Peter Schein [:

Your career is always contextual. It's never individual.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. I love that. yeah, because, you know, when we were talking earlier, we were talking kind of about how the relationships influence you, but you're so right. The career choices you make influence those around you as well. Right. Yeah. so Peter, if people want to, find out more about you, if they want to buy the book, what's the best place that they can go?

Peter Schein [:

Sure. Well, the book is available, you know, on all the online resellers, And it's published by Wiley, which is, you know, big academic publisher. So pretty easy to get, get a hold of it. It's that, I don't know, I don't know what the latest Amazon price is, but it's sort of $25, something like that.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Good stuff.

Peter Schein [:

changes every day. So. and, to get in touch with me, our organization is, it's Organizational Culture And Leadership Institute, ocli.org. And that's our website. You can, you can reach me through that. and if you have questions for John Van Mannon, who's one of the other co authors, you can reach me, even reach him through me as well. he's still a professor at MIT. So that's,

Aoife O'Brien [:

very good.

Peter Schein [:

and he's had a lot of experience teaching this to Sloan Fellows. to to students. So, my perspective is relatively fresh compared to his. He's got years of experience.

Aoife O'Brien [:

for a long time.

Peter Schein [:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm trying to just get people using it as a, you know, as a, as an, again, a career fullness idea.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Yeah. Career fun. Love it.

Peter Schein [:

And use it in comparison to the other ones because there's lots of other good assessments out there. It's just how can you get more insights into into who you are because it'll help you in an interview. It'll help you with a tough decision. it'll help you just sort of feel a better sense of who you are when you, when you finish a day of work.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Absolutely. And, Peter, the question I ask everyone who comes on the podcast, what is being happier at work mean to you?

Peter Schein [:

Well, I I think, again, in the in this context in in talking about career anchors, it's it is that sense of groundedness. Like, alright. if I'm feeling uncomfortable, let me sort of repaint my spider web in my mind. And remember kind of who I am, what kind of decisions I've made, so that I, I feel grounded. I don't feel like my, you know, my skills or my personality are in any way threatened. I'm comfortable in my own skin because I understand my own skin.

Aoife O'Brien [:

Brilliant. Love that. Thank you so much for your time. today, sharing your wisdom, sharing the insights from the book. I really, really appreciate that. love having this chat today as well. So thank you so much.

Peter Schein [:

Likewise, it's great to see you again, and thank you for your interest. We're, you know, I, in fact, our 2nd edition of humble leadership is coming out, in a in a few weeks. And, so maybe I should go book another hour, there

Aoife O'Brien [:

you go. Yeah. Talk about the offtake there for instance. Thank you so much, Richard.

Peter Schein [:

Alright. Thank you. Great pleasure.

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