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Taking Power Back at Work

How to take a look at your job and shape it to fit you.

Key points

  • Job crafting empowers you to reshape work around your strengths, values, and passions.
  • First craft a map of yourself by outlining your tasks and determine what drives and inspires you.
  • Visualize a new role by tweaking, delegating, or adjusting tasks to align with your motivations and passions.
  • Test your crafted role, refine, and seek meaningful outcomes.

Work can sometimes feel like an endless loop or a stressful experience that lacks meaning. Even if you currently don't mind your job, there are ways to take control and shape your role to make it more enjoyable.

"Job crafting" involves proactive and intentional adjustments you can make to to better align your job with your personal strengths, values, and interests. Job crafting empowers you to take control of your professional life and create a more fulfilling and engaging work environment.

There are four ways you can tweak your job:

Anna Shvets/Pexels
Anna Shvets/Pexels
  • Adjust your tasks. Find new things to do, see whether you can eliminate unenjoyable tasks or perhaps find new processes or approaches to your tasks.
  • Adjust your tools. Can you get new technology to help you do your work? Can you adjust the process?
  • Adjust your relationships. Are there different people you can interact with at work? Relationships at work can be for emotional support or collaboration.
  • Adjust your thoughts. Can you better connect your day-to-day tasks to the bigger picture? Can you link your tasks with your values?
  • Adjust everything else. Adjusting elements outside of work can help reframe your perspective. Setting different boundaries can assist in better value alignment.

So how do you craft your job?

Make a Map of Yourself

Start by listing all the tasks you currently engage in--focusing initially on work. List everything from the daily mundane (checking emails) to larger tasks (annual strategic planning). Outline the amount of time, energy, and attention each task requires.

Next, identify your strengths, motivations, and passions. Strengths are the skills you can easily and effectively apply. Motivations are the driving forces behind your effort and persistence. Passions are the activities that deeply interest you or bring meaning or flow. These can also extend beyond work (you can potentially connect them later).

Now, cross-reference your task list with your inspiration list. How do each of these tasks help you utilize a strength, get motivated, or connect with a passion? For instance, team meetings may boost your energy by tapping into your team spirit. Bundle together tasks that all help tap into a certain inspiration. Note whether any task does not connect to any strength, motivation, or passion. Also, note whether any strength, motivation, or passion isn't accounted for in your tasks.

Visualize Your Future

Redesign or craft a new role from the tasks that aren't aligned with your inspiration. Can these tasks be delegated or reduced? If they are necessary, how can you adjust them? For instance, if you dislike budgeting, is there someone on the team who would enjoy it? Perhaps you can collaborate in a working meeting to build the budget together, leveraging your enjoyment of working with people. Alternatively, you can schedule a task you love before and after budgeting to maintain your energy levels.

Find ways to eliminate or rethink tasks that aren't aligned. Also try and find ways to do more of the tasks that energize you. Work with your boss or your colleagues in order to adjust aspects of your role.

Reflect

After creating a future version of your role, test it out. Then after a few months, reassess whether it's working for you. Consider new or different ways to redefine your responsibilities, alter task execution, and reconsider the meaning of your work.

Research suggests that if you engage in job crafting, you can experience increased job satisfaction, engagement, and overall well-being. It can empower you to play a more active role in shaping work experiences, contributing to a healthier and more fulfilling professional life. By actively seeking opportunities to leverage your talents and pursue meaningful outcomes, you can not only enhance your job satisfaction but also foster personal growth.

References

Wrzesniewski, Amy; Dutton, Jane E. (2001). "Crafting a Job: Revisioning Employees as Active Crafters of Their Work". Academy of Management Review. 26 (2): 179–201. doi:10.5465/amr.2001.4378011. ISSN 0363-7425.

Tims, Maria; Bakker, Arnold B. (2010-12-02). "Job crafting: Towards a new model of individual job redesign". SA Journal of Industrial Psychology. 36 (2). doi:10.4102/sajip.v36i2.841. ISSN 2071-0763.

Berg, J. M., Wrzesniewski, A., Grant, A. M., Kurkoski, J., & Welle, B. (2023). Getting unstuck: The effects of growth mindsets about the self and job on happiness at work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 108(1), 152–166. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0001021

Berg, J. M., Dutton, J. E., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2013). Job crafting and meaningful work. In B. J. Dik, Z. S. Byrne, & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Purpose and meaning in the workplace (pp. 81–104). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/14183-005

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