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Dissatisfied with your job? Nearly three-fourths of American employees are unhappy in their workplace according to a study conducted last year.
If that describes you as well, one solution may be job crafting. Ever heard of it? Researchers define it as “redefining your job to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions.” This can happen by making changes in three areas: your tasks, your relationships or your mindset.
Their studies have shown that employees who are able to tailor their jobs to include more of the things they enjoy in one or more of these areas experience higher levels of job satisfaction.
Job Crafting in Action
Though I had not heard the term until recently, I’ve realized that job crafting is something I have always done throughout my career. In most of my jobs, I’ve been able to add new tasks that I enjoy and — in some cases — do less of those that I do not enjoy.
For instance, as a young newspaper reporter I sought out the human interest stories that most appealed to me while also covering my assigned areas. Later, as an online producer I was able to indulge my love of books by soliciting publishers within my content area. As a result, I was able to interview some of my favorite authors to write articles.
How Can Job Crafting Work For You?
Start by brainstorming some ideas to form a plan. Since some changes may require a discussion with your boss, you want to be well prepared. Determine any adjustments you can make in each area.
1. Adjust your tasks to include things you enjoy.
What skills are you not using that you would like to?
What are some ways it would make sense to use them in your current role?
Are there gaps in your department that you could help fill while still keeping up with your current workload?
Are there projects in other departments that could use your skills?
Use these questions to identify skills and areas that peak your interests. What is it about these roles or projects that you would enjoy? How could you incorporate more of these areas into your job?
Perhaps you enjoy planning events, but that isn’t a part of your current role. Could you assist the people who create events for your company’s clients or customers? Is there an internal events committee where you could use your talents creating fun events for employees? If there isn’t, could you start one?
2. Adjust your working relationships.
Are you satisfied with the level of engagement you have with coworkers throughout the day? If not, what would bring you more satisfaction?
Perhaps you are a “people person,” but your position involves a significant amount of time at your desk in working in isolation. How can you incorporate more interaction with others into your role? Do you enjoy mentoring or training others? Perhaps you could talk with HR about becoming a mentor to new hires or participating in on-boarding activities for employees who have positions similar to yours.
If the opposite is true for you, and you desire more alone time at work, are there ways you can build some quiet time into your day to recharge? This could even mean coming in early before others arrive or staying late. What could that look like for you given your current schedule?
3. Adjust your mindset.
Your job crafting may need to include a shift in how you think about those tasks that you don’t enjoy. There will always be portions of our jobs that we enjoy less than others–and some of these things most likely will not change. Since they are to remain on our plates, how can we change the way we think about them?
One study provides an example of restaurant cooks who decided to see their tasks of cooking and cleaning as art rather than merely serving food. Changing the way they thought about their work helped them find more meaning in their jobs.
Implement your ideas, or present them to your boss if approval is needed.
Once you identify changes you would like to make, you may need to discuss some of the changes with your boss. If you do, be prepared to explain the benefits the changes will bring for the team, your coworkers or your manager. You want to find ways the changes will be mutually beneficial for the company as well as for you.
A word of caution: be sure any new tasks you take on can be accomplished without allowing your other tasks to be neglected. This will build trust with your manager and coworkers, and ensure you are given the freedom to continue exploring new tasks and roles in the future.
Have you ever tried job crafting? How did it go? Share your story in the comments.