Traditionally, if you were bored with or hated your job, you could either quit or eventually just burn-out. These days a third option is recognised as having great potential: shape your job so it’s more fruitful than futile. Amy Wrzesniewski, an associate professor at the Yale School of Management, says “We often get trapped into thinking about our job as a list of things to do and a list of responsibilities, but what if you set aside that mind-set?” If you could adjust what you do, she says, “who would you start talking to, what other tasks would you take on, and who would you work with?” To make livelihoods more lively, Wrzesniewski and her colleagues Jane Dutton and Justin Berg have developed a methodology they call job-crafting. They’re working with Fortune 500 companies, smaller firms and business schools to change the way we think about work. The idea is to make all jobs — even mundane ones — more meaningful by empowering employees to brainstorm and implement subtle but significant workplace adjustments.
Simply put, a job is a collection of tasks and the relationships that come with doing those tasks in an organization. Although jobs are typically designed for employees by managers, employees are often able to redesign their own jobs so that they are better aligned with their motives, strengths, and passions. This concept is known as “job crafting,” and people who engage in this kind of behavior are called “job crafters.” Job crafters can carry out at least three different forms of job crafting:
• Task Crafting: Job crafters can change the boundaries of their jobs by taking on more or fewer tasks, expanding or diminishing the scope of tasks, or altering the way they perform tasks.
Examples: An accountant creating a new method of filing taxes to make her job less repetitive. Or an artistic machine operator volunteering to design a new logo for his company.
• Relational Crafting: Job crafters can change their relationships at work by altering the extent or nature of their interactions with other people.
Examples: A computer technician offering help to co-workers as a way to have more social connections. Or a bus driver making an effort to converse with passengers.
• Cognitive Crafting: Job crafters can change the way they think about their jobs by altering how they perceive tasks or viewing the tasks involved in their job as a collective whole as opposed to a set of separate tasks.
Examples: A hospital cleaner seeing his work as a means to help ill people rather than cleaning space. Or an insurance agent viewing her job as “working to get people back on track after a car accident” rather than “processing car insurance claims.”
Examining each of these different areas encourages you to look at your job in a new way and consider ways to make your job more interesting and satisfying.
Reference: Harvard Business Review
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