Want your work to have more meaning? Try Job Crafting
Ever had the feeling that, well something is just missing from your work? The good news is there is something you can do about it. It’s called Job Crafting and recent research shows it has the power to transform how you feeling about your 9-5. It doesn’t matter whether you work in a national corporation or run your own business, applying the core concepts of Job Crafting will improve how you feel about your work.
What is Job Crafting?
It’s a process where you identify the parts and tasks of your job that you enjoy and that play to your strengths. You then shape your daily routine to include these. For those areas that seem to drain you, identifying what this helps accomplish provides missing meaning. Early studies in this area have shown that by making small changes in how you approach your work and what your work consists of you can effectively increase your engagement levels at work. All of this is good news because it’s a process you can begin yourself.
Research shows there are three dominant categories of work orientations. You can be ‘Job Orientated’. Put simply you do the job for the money – it pays the bills. You can be ‘Career Orientated’. Promotions and advancement are important motivators for you. Finally, you can have a ‘Calling Orientation’ – you work for the fulfilment your job brings. What’s important though is that these are attitudes you hold towards your work, they are not defined by the job role or career field. So it’s possible to have a Heart Surgeon who is job orientated, or a financial adviser who is ‘Calling Orientated’ and takes pride in helping others re-define their relationship with money. So there are people who have the same job, in the same business, but who have different work orientations.
The Benefits of creating a ‘Calling-Orientation’
It’s possible for anyone to create a ‘Calling-Orientation’. That’s a powerful fact and one that should carry hope if you’re struggling with your job. You really are the master of your own destiny. Creating this level of meaning in your work means you find yourself immersed in tasks for longer, you feel more energised as a result and often feel more connected to those around you. This is something Business Psychologists refer to as ‘Relatedness’. It’s one of our three basic psychological needs.
Where to start with Job Crafting?
Task One – Audit your tasks
Begin by taking an audit of the tasks you complete as a regular part of your job. Start with a left hand column which asks you to identify what is the purpose of the task. Next, add a column that asks ‘What will this accomplish?’. Finally, we’ll add a column asking ‘What this result will lead to?’ Keep repeating the last step until you reach a stage where you feel the work now has meaning for you.
Task Two – Record how long your spend on your core tasks
This audit should be carried out over a minimum of two weeks. Your table here needs four columns. Firstly, the name of the activity – remember to list everything in this column, from answering emails to professional networking. Secondly, the time spent on each activity. Thirdly, give the task a ‘fun score’ out of 10 with 1 being ‘loath’ and 10 ‘if a brass band marched in I probably wouldn’t notice’. Finally give a score, again out of 10, for how challenging you find this task. 1 here means ‘I can do it blindfolded in my sleep’ and 10 means ‘I lose sleep worrying over this regularly’.
Pulling it all together:
What you now have at your fingertips is meaningful data. You can see which areas of your job you enjoy and like. The aim is to increase the frequency of the elements you like and which bring meaning. With the tasks that you don’t enjoy, you could seek to share these with a colleague who shares a similar role – offering to take from them elements that you would enjoy and which match your strengths. If you run your own business – some of these tasks should be outsourced as soon as is financially viable. I’m a huge believer in the value added that a Virtual PA could bring to your business, until you are in a place to invest in employing your own admin staff. If you’d like an introduction to a quality Virtual Assistant just email me and I’ll be happy to help connect you.
How quickly should I expect to see results?
The research in this field is fairly new but encouraging, so quite quickly, within months rather than longer. Possibly quicker if you’re working alongside a strengths based coach.
More on strengths-based coaching in my next blog :o)
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