Job Crafting: How to Turn the Job You Have into a Job You Love
When I first entered the workforce, I assumed that I was stuck doing the job based on the confines of its general description. Even so, I instinctively always tried to find a way to make my day-to-day more satisfying. I would pay attention to how I was feeling and identify which tasks I liked, which ones I didn’t, and what I could do to either get some help or pass those tasks off to someone else who wanted to and could, do them.
Recently, I heard about a term called ‘Job Crafting.’ Inspired by freelancers and entrepreneurs, it means breaking down your job into individual tasks and reflecting on which parts of it you want to do less of, and which parts you want to do more of. This can look like taking on new projects, dropping some responsibilities, working with new people or just shifting your perspective on what you do. I realized that this is essentially what I have been doing all along — designing a role that feels right for me. A role where my skills and abilities can be used in a way that delivers the most value to my coworkers and the organization. A role where I truly feel that I am making an impact and utilizing my full potential.
There are five simple steps you can take to redesign your current job into one that feels more like it was made for you.
Step 1: Grab a piece of paper and sketch your superpower.
And by superpower, I am referring to your skills and the abilities you possess within you, that have made you successful in your career so far. What is that one thing you are really good at? Instead of writing down what you think your superpower is, I’d like you to sketch it. Sketching allows us to connect to parts of our brain in a way that writing doesn’t. You don’t need to be Picasso — stick figures are fine. Take a minute or two to illustrate your superpower.
Step 2: Look at your job from a bird’s eye view.
Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. At the top of the left column, write down “People.” At the top of the right column, write down “How I help them.”
On the left side, list the people (or groups of people or departments) that you work with. This should include your clients or customers and your internal team members (coworkers, managers, etc.) It’s important not to forget your coworkers and internal stakeholders — many people focus only on their customers, without thinking about how they serve the internal teams.
In the right column, list all the ways in which you currently help these people. These could be tasks that are part of your job description, and tasks that are not. Think outside the box and the confines of your job. If junior folks come to you for career help and mentorship, write it down. If you spend your lunch break giving people life advice (whether it’s related to work or not), make sure you capture it.
Side note: when I did this exercise, I realized that many people would come to me asking me for career advice, interview prep and help with tweaking their resume. And I enjoyed helping them out. I wrote all of this down, even though it was not explicitly stated in my job description. This realization played a large part in where my side hustle was going. But I would have never been able to identify this had I not taken inventory of everything I did and looked beyond my job description.
Step 3: Identify parts of your job you want to keep and parts that you do not.
Now that you have both sides of the paper filled out, circle the tasks that you want to keep in green, and cross out those that you don’t in red. Do the same for people. Who do you want to work with more? What types of people are they? How do you want to help people and where do you want to focus your efforts, and why?
Step 4: Compare the list of tasks you circled in green to the earlier sketch of your superpower.
How are they related? Reflect on this and draw any parallels and connect the dots. Do the tasks that you identified leverage the superpower that you sketched out? How so?
Step 5: Redesign your current job.
List out the parts you circled in green. List out the types of people you want to work with. Specify what skills you want to use more of, and what skills you still want to develop. Could you come up with a new title? Could you make this happen at your current job, or do you need to look for a new role within a new organization?
When I set out to create the Discover Your Passion and Design a Career You Love e-workbook, I thought that “this workbook would be good for people who don’t like their jobs and want to transition into a new career.” But the more I reflect on the exercises in the workbook, the more I realize they’re also very relevant for those who simply want to know themselves better and explore what else they would enjoy doing within their current job or organization. Who’s to say you have to break up with your employer? At the end of the workbook, after you’ve explored your superpowers, strengths, desires, how you provide value and impact to those around you, you’ll realize that you’ve crafted a new job description that’s perfect for you. While the work doesn’t stop there, at least you will have a new career direction you can commit to.