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Time to consider job crafting

In my last article, I wrote about career skeptics and the changing way we are interacting with our jobs during the pandemic. Today I want to talk about job crafting and how it can be used to improve your working conditions and perhaps move your job in the right direction and help your career.

The term conjures up glue guns and glitter, which isn’t a bad metaphor for what is really behind the term. This idea is not entirely new. A 2007 paper titled “What Is Job Crafting and Why Does It Matter?” published by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business explores the idea of employees redesigning their jobs to improve work satisfaction and engagement. If HGTV or DIY had shows about job crafting, they would show the before and after shots of tedium transformed into an exciting, vibrant workplace. Or something like that. (But please, no shiplap. I can’t stand shiplap.)

There are three components of job crafting: tasks, cognition and people relationships. Let’s take them in turn.

The task of job crafting is perhaps the easiest to get your head around: you want to change the type and scope of the particular tasks of your job to make the job more interesting, more useful or other reasons. This often involves changing your job responsibilities. My wife says you should be doing the job that you want to have when you get a promotion.

A companion piece is changing your cognition or mindset of these tasks, such as how you interpret your job responsibilities or the specific work that you have been hired to do. Here is an example: if you take orders from your customers, your job could be defined as just pure input, and making sure the orders are entered correctly. But if you alter your mindset a bit, you could be providing your customers with the best possible experience and making sure that they are ordering what they need and have the right expectations. It is a subtle shift, but an important one.

Finally, crafting your relationships is a lot harder: are you aiming to get more mentorship from a particular person in your organization? Or find a particular collaborator? Or are you looking to build particular connections to an important customer or partner? The authors of “What is Job Crafting and Why Does It Matter?” also wrote a 2020 piece for Harvard’s Business Review that provides some case studies to illustrate these three points.

These three elements interact with each other, so the lines are somewhat blurry among them. But what is important is that crafting your job is only possible when you have cooperation from your manager. If your boss is a bad one and can’t delegate responsibility and authority (just to pick something at random that frequently happened to me), they aren’t going to be able to help and will use their job glue gun to gum up the works, rather than build something wonderful.

 

This article was originally published here.

David Strom

David Strom is one of the leading experts on network and Internet technologies and has written and spoken extensively on topics such as IT security, VOIP, convergence, email, cloud computing, network management, Internet applications, wireless and Web services for more than 30 years. He has held several editorial management positions, including Editor-in-chief of Network Computing magazine, Digital Landing.com, and Tom's Hardware.com. He currently writes for IBM's SecurityIntelligence.com, HPE's Enterprise.Nxt, blogs for RSA and Kaspersky and CSOonline.com and has contributed opinion columns, reviews, feature stories and analyses to ITworld.com, TechTarget.com, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, c|net and news.com, eWeek, Baseline Magazine, PC Week, PC World, PC Magazine and more. David has created numerous print and web publications, built several hands-on IT test labs, curated various email newsletters, blogged extensively about a wide variety of IT business topics, spoken at IT business conferences, written thousands of magazine articles and published two books on computer networking. He is the author of two books: Internet Messaging, which he co-authored with Marshall T. Rose and Home Networking Survival Guide. David also publishes Web Informant and is the creator of an innovative series of video screencast product reviews of enterprise IT products that can be found on Webinformant.tv and syndicated to various other Web sites. He has also appeared on the Fox TV News Network, NPR's Science Friday radio program, ABC-TV's World News Tonight and CBS-TV's Up to the Minute news broadcasts.

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