Sunday, 25 July 2010

The future of work: job crafting

We live in an age of even squarer pegs and rounder holes. Most of us want more meaning at work, yet more and more jobs are process-oriented. When we search for a job we scan the classifieds to see if there's a job we can squeeze ourselves into. Mostly we can't, but assume we must.

Most of the really great jobs are designed not applied for. But there is an option for those who really can't bring themselves to leave their current jobs:

Job crafting.

Truth is, many jobs can be altered by the incumbent, whether in relation to content, relationships, scope or of the meaning you attribute to the tasks you undertake. Nearly all jobs have some discretionary time and this can be used to generate new momentum and meaning.

Small changes often throw up unexpected results. I've had one recent client who's had a real success using job crafting and is now involved in a new social media project which may form a significant new direction in his life. Not only is he viewed differently by colleagues, he also sees work differently.

This benefits the organisation too. Managers can use this to help motivate, engage and retain employees, especially in difficult times.

We often think about career change and know we must be bold. But what if we were as bold within our jobs?

For more on job crafting (Professor Amy Wrzesniewski's research) go here.