Job Craft Your Way Into A Different Job

man working at his desk

Tired of the same old, same old? Want to try something new? Maybe get ahead faster or have more time for your family?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, you may be a candidate for Job Crafting.

Making your job into the one you really want have more to do with making changes within your current role instead of finding a new one. You’d be surprised how much you can affect your day-to-day if you put your mind to it.

What is job crafting and what are its benefits?

Job Crafting refers to altering your job so your skills are better utilized and your interests are reflected in your work. It leads to increases in job satisfaction as well as worker commitment to their work and their employer. It’s also useful if you are unable to leave your current job, or you need to revitalize it. Some people job craft because they like what they’re doing but need more challenge. Some do it because they’re bored. Other times, it’s because workers want to increase doing what they like doing, and decrease what they don’t like doing. Job crafting can entail small changes to what you do, or how you do it. And it can sometimes lead to larger shifts in the kind of work you do, including where and with whom you spend your worktime.

Altering a job that comes with a clear job description is more common than you think

Jobs do generally come with job descriptions. These are outlines of what the job entails, the duties and what is expected. While these descriptions seem inflexible, they are rarely exact representations of what workers do daily. Within the parameters of many job descriptions, are opportunities to highlight certain aspects of the job, as well as latitude to invent new ways of doing things.

Certain types of workers are more likely to job craft than others

A lot of workers engage in job crafting already, but how you job craft will depend on your orientation towards work. If you have a Job orientation, you probably see your job as a way to make money for necessities, and your preference is for work not to interfere with your personal life. So, job oriented workers will find ways to suit the job to their goal of pursuing hobbies, or being with family and friends.

If you have a career orientation, you focus upon upward mobility. Advancing along your career path is important to you, so job crafting activities will suit this goal. You’ll find ways to increase the chances of getting a raise, a different title or meeting people of influence.

If you see your work as a calling, you’ll tend to blend work and your personal life, to give yourself a sense of purpose and meaning.

Job crafting in practice

Analyze what your job entails. What do you like? What do you dislike? If you are job oriented you may find you like times when others take the lead. If you are career oriented, you like networking. Those who see their work as a calling may like times when they feel completely engaged and focused. After you’ve decided what you like about the job you must look at how your job fits into the rest of the organization.

How does a worker figure out where they fit into an organization?

It’s important to look at your job from the organization’s point of view. Why does the organization have this job? What function does it perform? What organizational needs does your job fulfill? For instance, a man I knew wanted to have more time with his family. He had just become a new Dad, and he wanted to have more time at home. He looked at what he did in a day and how it fit into the needs of the organization, and discovered some of his projects could be done outside of work, and done faster with fewer interruptions. He proposed a work schedule that included some time at home with check-ins during the day.

Sometimes employers don’t like an employee’s job crafting suggestions

If a worker suggests something that doesn’t fit with the organization’s needs. It means going back to analyzing the job to understand where there are places of flexibility. It means thinking like an entrepreneur, including looking at gaps that aren’t being filled. One manager told me about an employee who noticed the need to connect his area to other parts of the organization. The employee found ways to increase efficiency and communication, so the manager let him run with it. The employee was career oriented and the connections he built across the organization eventually helped him choose his next move.

Job crafting tips

Keep you manager informed of what you are thinking about and why. They don’t like surprises. Also, watch out for stepping on other people’s toes. If you wade into someone else’s workplace turf, either inadvertently or because you’ve discovered you really like what they do, it could backfire.

Keep in mind you need to be relevant. If your interests aren’t relevant to what your organization needs from you, it may signal job crafting is not the answer. Take courses and integrate the knowledge into your work. Be willing to take on more responsibility and new assignments. Job crafting can land employees more duties they enjoy if they play it smart. This might sit well with Career Advancement types, or if your job is your calling, but not for those hankering for more personal time.

That said, being aware of your needs and knowing where they mesh with your employer’s will make job crafting possible for those who want to take this route.

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