Crafting Your Job for Greater Satisfaction at Work

Job crafting is the process of re-designing your job to suit you better. To begin, examine your job duties, work relationships, and perceptions about your job and identify what satisfies you and what you dislike. Be aware that job crafting does have some limitations. It is possible to burn yourself out by taking on too many new tasks, even if they interest you. If you find that there is too much of a gap between what you do and what you want to be doing, it might be time to search for a new job or go back to school to gain the skills for the job that you want.

If you've ever felt trapped in a job that doesn't interest you or give you meaning, you know how draining that experience can be. Often, that's a sign that it's time to look for a new job. However, that might not be an option for you if the job market is bad or you don't yet have the skills you need to be hired into the job that you want. That's where job crafting can help you.

The term"job crafting" was created by Professors Amy Wrzesniewski and Jane Dutton in their 2001 paper "Crafting a Job: Revisioning Employees as Active Crafters of their Work." It refers to the process of re- designing your job so that it suits you better. In the process of job crafting, you will examine your job duties, your work relationships, and your own perceptions about your job.

Crafting Your Job Duties

To make changes to your job duties, first, make a list of the tasks that you do regularly. Identify the things that you enjoy because you find them fun to do, they allow you to use your strengths, or they give you meaning. If nothing immediately comes to mind, try keeping a log throughout the day and write down the things that you do and how they make you feel. For each thing that you enjoy, create a plan to perform that task more often or make that aspect of your job more central to your role. For example, if you enjoy the times that you are able to directly help your colleagues, you might make a plan to reach out to more teams and collaborate on more projects across departments.

Think about how you can minimize the tasks that you don't enjoy. You probably won't be able to altogether eliminate tasks that are central to your role, at least not without permission from your boss, but you can probably alter the processes that you use to perform them. For example, if you don't enjoy creating your department's annual budget but you do enjoy collaborating with your team, come up with a way to turn budgeting into a collaborative process.

You can also change the number of tasks you have on your plate. If you have too many, see if you or your boss can delegate some of your duties. If you have too few, talk to your boss about taking on more. Changing your job duties has the potential to be the most precariouIs area for job crafting, make sure that your changes don't have a negative impact on the outcomes that are valued and measured by your bosses and colleagues.

If you are crafting your duties to develop the skills you need to get the job you want, identify what you're lacking. Do some job searching and save a few postings that interest you. Of the skills listed as"required" and "preferred," identify those that you don't have. Next, identify ways that you can develop those skills in your current position. Do you need web design skills?

Maybe you could cross-train with someone at your organization who is responsible for this and serve as a backup for them when they're on vacation. Do you need management experience? Maybe you can lead a committee within your organization or volunteer to coach a sports team on the weekends. Plan ways that you can develop each skill within the boundaries of your current job to grow your resume in the direction you want to go.


There are many reasons why your relationships at work might be less than satisfactory. Fortunately, you can develop the relationships you feel you're lacking through job crafting. Take some time to reflect on your relationships at work. What do you feel you're missing? If you have negative relationships with your boss or coworkers, you can make a plan to repair them through your own actions or possibly involve Human Resources. Often, less-than-satisfactory relationships at work aren't as dramatically bad as that; they are simply relationships that fall short of what you'd like them to be. An example is a boss who is not interested in your professional development. You probably won't be able to make that boss take an interest, but you can seek out a mentor outside of your organization who can help you with your professional growth.

It is also important to have friendships at work to feel more connected to your organization and prevent feelings of loneliness. If you don't have any good options on your own at once, make an effort to seek out a friend in a different department or maybe even in a different organization within your same field. A work friend can serve as a confidant who can help you problem-solve your professional frustrations and provide you with support and camaraderie.


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