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Craft Your Job

2 September 2019

Craft your job so it better suits your strengths, skills and aspirations.

All of us, whether we are aware of it or not, engage in the process of job crafting.  Job crafting is when you tinker with your role in ways to make it more rewarding and satisfying, and more reflective of your strengths.  For example you might change the order in which you undertake some tasks to do more of bits that you find enjoyable, or you might arrange things so you spend more time with customers who inspire you, or you might put more effort into an area you are particularly good at doing.

I remember being a young office worker and volunteering to do all the running around for other people in the office because I enjoyed getting out from behind my desk.

When you take the time to intentionally investigate it most roles can be crafted much more than we think.  Professor Amy Wrzesniewski is the key researcher in the field of job crafting identifying three key ways people can craft their jobs so their work better aligns with their motivations, strengths, skills and career aspirations. 

Task Crafting in when people alter the boundaries of their job.  This might look like adjustments to the type of and number of tasks undertaken, expanding or diminishing the scope of tasks, or altering the way tasks are performed.

Relational Crafting is when people change the relationships they have at work.  It is about looking closely at the people you interact with and the nature of those interactions.

Cognitive Crafting is altering they way work is perceived, and consequently how you talk about and think about your tasks.  Often it involves looking at the job as a collective whole rather than a set of separate tasks. 

Bringing intentionality to crafting your job you allow your employer to get the best of you and you get to have the best of the job.

Job crafting does require a bit of effort to get started, but once you get going there are countless ways to make the small adjustments that will see you flourish.  Create some new methods for doing things, volunteer to do things you will enjoy, help others in tasks you have an interest, spend time with people doing work that inspires you, get out and talk more with customers, see the meaning behind the work you do (even if you are a small cog), focus on having more impact.

Here are some questions to help:

  • What areas of your wok could use an overhaul in the ways they are done?
  • How could you change the scope of the tasks you do?
  • What new things could you do?
  • What old things could you stop doing (people may not even notice)?
  • What tasks can you give preference to that particularly suit the skills you want to develop?
  • What might make the tasks you do more enjoyable?
  • Are there unproductive tasks you could reimagine?
  • How does what you do add to the overall success of the organisation?
  • What could you do to ensure people missed you if you didn’t show up?
  • Who would really value your help?
  • In what ways can you link your work to your own personal values?
  • What is the bigger purpose of the work you are connected to?
  • Who is doing things you might like to find out more about?
  • Who (colleagues, customers, suppliers, people in other areas) could you get to know a bit better at work?
  • Could you mentor anyone, or be mentored?
  • Who has similar skills, interests, and outlooks to you?

Every role benefits from a little intentional job crafting every now and then so you don’t fall into ruts and routines.  Intentionally crafting your role is in fact necessary for opening up the edges of your current role that prepare you for how you want your career to develop.  Have fun playing with what is possible.

As always wishing you a flourishing career.


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