How to Create the Job
You Really Want

Dear Springboard:

My company is closer to mandating we all come back to the office at least a few days a week. I hate the idea of giving up the freedom and flexibility I’ve gotten so used to.

I’m having thoughts about how great it could be to join The Great Resignation.

Sign me,

Green with Envy

Dear GwE:

I understand that it’s hard to give up what we like and have gotten used to having.

Quitting and then searching for a new way to replace that salary is, of course, an option. It can also be very disruptive and take much longer than expected to land a new role.

Another approach to consider is to deal with what you have and change it so it better meets your needs.

There’s a process called job crafting where employees proactively make changes in how they do their job so it is more fulfilling for them.

It’s a process to change aspects of the job so it
is better aligned with the person’s strengths, interests, skills with the intention of realizing greater satisfaction, engagement, resilience and, ultimately, thriving.

There are three main ways someone can engage in job crafting, according to Yale Professor Amy Wrzesniewski, who first introduced the concept with Michigan Professor Jane Dutton in 2001.

Task crafting refers to changing the tasks that one does for their job. It can mean adding or dropping tasks or shifting emphasis so the collective tasks one does better fit their skills, interests and temperament. It can mean playing to one’s strengths and delegating strategically.

Relationship crafting refers to making changes with whom you spend time and how much. To the extent you have control, you can be intentional and shift so you get the most from your interpersonal relationships at work. One could cultivate personal interests or professional development through increased involvement with other departments.

Cognitive crafting refers to changing how we conceptualize our role and impact so as to make it more meaningful.
It could involve reframing how one sees their job — building a cathedral vs brick laying. It often means connecting more consciously with the organization’s higher purpose.

In all instances, one should continue to meet the core requirements of their job. This is icing on the cake, not switching to pie.
As others have developed the job crafting concept over time, additional ways include:

Developmental crafting refers to collaborative professional development and career planning sessions.

Environmental crafting refers to making changes for optimal working conditions. This could address the issues of working from home, at an office or a hybrid arrangement plus making the best of the actual work space whatever it is.

For more of an explanation and from Amy Wrzesniewski herself, click here for a 12-minute YouTube video.

In coaching clients who are interested in realizing more fulfillment in their work, I have found the Personal Directions assessment from the Management Resource Group to be a very effective tool.

This three-part assessment details the degree to which one gets fulfillment from different ways of being in work environments; a holistic snapshot of where one is putting energy in their life today; and their current world view.

Clients have found this information to be extremely helpful whether they wanted to modify their current job for a better fit and more fulfillment or identify key building blocks for a new career path altogether.

Because the process is proactive by definition, it is sometimes covert. Someone can quietly make some changes to their tasks, the network they are developing, or how they envision the meaning of their role.

Given the concerns for finding and keeping talent today, it might be smart to offer the process to a direct report: listen to what is important to them and be accommodating where possible.

This could also work with a team, where some tasks might be reshuffled to maximize skill sets and preferences.

Shifting perspectives to a wider lens. . . for those who like to make plans and set goals for the coming year, this process could be applied to our whole life: what actions do I want to do regularly both work and leisure; who do I want to spend the most time with; and what is the purpose that gives my life meaning?

 From the Watercooler


My happiness is my responsibility.

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