For some workers, changing careers and/or pursuing a dream career may be desired but impractical for a variety of reasons including geographical limitations, family commitments and a preference to avoid change. Although unhappy with the current job, some workers hold the view that at least having a job is preferred over not having a job. Changing jobs isn’t always a realistic option.

The challenge for these workers becomes how to manage the unhappy, often energy draining dread for work they experience daily.  Is it possible for an individual worker to craft greater job satisfaction with a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in their current job?

According to Bryan J.Dik PhD and Ryan D. Duffy, PhD the answer is YES!  In their book, Make Your Job a Calling, a great approach to this challenge is a concept developed in 2001 called, Job Crafting.

In this article, I will share Dik and Duffy’s 3 Approaches to Job Crafting so that workers have options for flourishing and strengthening satisfaction in their current jobs.  And like the name suggests, it’s about taking control and making adjustments in ways which can often be very small, but rewarding. (Remember, good things come in small packages!)  Job crafting always complements and/or enhances current job responsibilities.

Here are the 3 Approaches to Job Crafting:

1) Task Crafting

This approach considers the worker’s values, interests, personality and abilities when adjusting how current job tasks are completed. This can include adding and/or removing tasks or allocating the worker’s time and energy for job tasks in a different way.

For example, Stephanie decided to make extra time and energy for following up on a project that had been discussed previously in a department meeting and tabled. Because Stephanie enjoyed instructional design, she happily volunteered to interview other colleagues to formulate a proposal for the VP to consider.

Another worker, Terri who loved to write, was already responsible for sharing department statistics for the company newsletter.  She added more time to this task and submitted engaging stories on current work topics. She had fun choosing graphics to add spice and humor to her stories.

2) Relationship Crafting

Establishing stronger and/or positive connections with others around you can bring tremendous satisfaction and happiness. Like task crafting, relationship crafting makes use of altering the nature or quality of current relationships at work and sometimes adding new relationships. Decreasing exposure to some relationships is possible as well and surprisingly satisfying.

Joe felt isolated in his role as an IT specialist who has a more extroverted personality and invited a colleague he admired to meet for a weekly lunch. This was a welcomed break from staring at a computer screen and something he looked forward to every week.

Zach liked his supervisor, but disliked how  the supervisor often extended meetings for longer than the allotted time. He made a point of scheduling another meeting right after the supervisor’s meeting so he could excuse himself and eliminate the small, but weekly annoyance.

3) Cognitive Crafting

Simply, cognitive crafting is about an attitude adjustment that the worker adopts which is an improved ways of thinking about the job’s particular nature, purpose and impact.

Natalie’s job is to confirm appointments for a large metropolitan hospital’s surgery schedule. Her job responsibilities don’t include the warmth and care she brings to each call. Natalie is passionate about extending extra care and compassion to surgery patients and their supportive loved ones.  She loves her work.  It’s meaningful because it complements her values.

Here’s the takeaway:

Job crafting can be accomplished through altering tasks, adding or limiting relationships as well as adjusting cognitive appraisals of the work responsibilities. When persistent and patient, workers can empower themselves to strengthen the meaningful satisfaction in their current jobs by crafting small, but significant changes to their job role and/or responsibilities.  Job Crafting–a nifty concept to have in your supply box!

I’d like to ask you:

If you were to brainstorm crafting strategies to strengthen your work satisfaction, what would interest you?