When your job is a depressing slog, sometimes the best thing to do is simply take the leap and quit (even if you don't have something else immediately lined up). But other times that's just lunacy.
Maybe you have no financial cushion. Maybe your job has some redeeming qualities, or there is more learning to be wrung out of it. Maybe you just need to hold out until your other ducks are in a row. Whatever the reason, for lots of us the reality is that work kind of sucks but we can't quit right now. So is there nothing left to do but white knuckle your way through it?
Jobcrafting to the rescue?
The answer might not be sheer grit (supplemented by occasional glances at your less-than-impressive bank balance), but something called jobcrafting. Coined by researchers out of Yale and other institutions and embraced by the likes of Google, the term refers to the process workers use to subtly shift their jobs away from their grimmer aspects and toward something more enjoyable and meaningful.
Everyone can do it. Here, for instance, is an inspiring report of how some janitors with less-than-obviously appealing jobs learned to like their work more by focusing on their role in healing patients and finding clever ways to incorporate more meaningful tasks into their routines.
OK, great, but how?
All of which is lovely in theory, but the idea of jobcrafting invites the questions, how exactly do I do it? After all, your boss is unlikely to react positively if you walk into his or her office with your job description, a red pen and an eraser, and suggest an editing session (though according to other research, he or she really should -- jobcrafting boosts performance).
That's where a handy new article from Insights by Stanford Business comes in. Jobcrafting, explains Stanford's Justin Berg, who has researched the subject, consists of three parts. "Task crafting is about retooling the activities included in your job, relational crafting is about revamping your interactions with others, and cognitive crafting is about reframing how you view your tasks and relationships," he says.
Still want more specifics? Apparently there's a workbook based on the research to help. Berg touts this $35 tool as a guide to the jobcrafting process that will help you "view your job as a flexible set of building blocks, rather than a fixed list of duties. This helps you identify creative ways to redesign your job."
"You first build a 'before sketch,' breaking up your job into 'task blocks' and grouping them by how much time and energy you spend on them. Then you create an 'after diagram,' which is a more ideal but still realistic version of your job, a vision of something to work toward. To build your after diagram, you revise the set of task blocks from your before sketch to better match your values, strengths, and passions," Berg further explains. "We've found that going through this process can be really eye-opening for people."
Is this tool worth the money? I have absolutely no idea. I haven't tried it myself. But if you've read up on jobcrafting and feel like it might make a dent in your less-than-stellar current work situation, a workbook is surely cheaper than the process of looking for a new gig.
Has anyone tried this tool or anything similar? Was it helpful?