I had a wonderful time recently presenting a webinar entitled, “Recrafting Your Job to Leverage Your Strengths.” This webinar is based on research done by Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin Berg, and Amy Dutton. See an article by them here: Turn the job you have into the job you want. The premise is that we can view our jobs as a fixed job description or as a set of flexible building blocks that we can rearrange to more closely match our strengths, values and passions. Click here to order a job crafting workbook: Job Crafting Exercise. The exercise begins by having participants log how they presently spend their workday by listing tasks in big, medium or small task boxes. The tasks they spend the most time on are listed in the big boxes, etc.

Often this “before diagram” of how we spend our days is eye-opening and not always in a good way. We may be spending the bulk of our time on tasks that don’t provide meaning or value. Then we spend time identifying the values we want from our work, our individual strengths and the passions we want to employ.

There are three ways we can craft our jobs: Tasks, Relations, and Cognitive Reframing. There may be tasks we can add, delete or alter how we complete. There may be people we want to spend more time with, less time with, or change the way we interact. Often times, people will 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.

Cognitive reframing is a technique that is always within our control. Cognitive reframing involves changing the way we perceive the work that we do. For example, a radiology technician could view his/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. Why do you do your job not What are the tasks of your job.

The Dalai Lama once said that “the meaning of life is to be happy and useful.” With job crafting, we can be happy while being useful. The best of all possible worlds!

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