We’ve all been asked at a cocktail party or family reunion what we do for a living. Have you ever thought about how you respond? Do you focus on the tasks of the job or the value of the work that you do? Understanding the difference between the two and how you perceive your work can impact your on-the-job satisfaction.
I recently was a guest presenter at Cassling’s webinar entitled, “Recrafting Your Job to Leverage Your Strengths.” The presentation and information is based on research done by Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin Berg and Amy Dutton. I invite you to read about their research in this article, “Turn the job you have into the job you want.”
The premise is that you can view your job as a fixed job description or as a set of flexible building blocks that you can rearrange to more closely match your strengths, values and passions. There is an exercise, called Job Crafting, which begins by having participants log how they presently spend their workday by listing tasks in big, medium or small task boxes. The tasks you spend the most time on are listed in the big boxes, etc.
Often this “before diagram” of how you spend our days is eye-opening and not always in a good way. You may be spending the bulk of your time on tasks that don’t provide meaning or value. The next step of the exercise is to identify the values you want from your work, your individual strengths and the passions you want to employ.
You can craft your job in three ways: tasks, relations or cognitive reframing. There may be tasks you can add, delete or modify. There may be people you want to spend more or less time with, or change the way you interact with them. Often times, people feel that they don’t have much control over task and relational crafting, but usually find they have more control than they think. If management approval is needed for task or relational recrafting, employees should point out the benefits to the company of making the changes, and buy-in can usually be achieved.
The third way you can craft your job, cognitive reframing, is a technique that is always within your control. Cognitive reframing involves changing the way you perceive the work that we do. For example, a radiology technologist could view his or her role as one of improving patients’ lives as opposed to processing scans. The best way to cognitively reframe is to ask why instead of what. Ask, “why do I do my job,” not “what are the tasks of my job?”
Completing this exercise, whether formally or unformally, can give you insight into how you view your job. If you find that you have a negative perception, consider recrafting the way you look at things by focusing on the value you provide and answering the “why.”
Then you’ll be prepared to surprise your family and friends the next time you get the “what do you do?” question.
Share your comments about Pam’s topic of job crafting in the comments below. To learn more about job recrafting and other topics, visit Pam’s website, and sign up for her newsletter and blog.
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