Stagnant. Unmotivated. Unfulfilled. Frustrated. Underutilized.
These feelings can be common for many during their working careers. However, if someone would have told me when I started my career years ago that I would feel these disheartening emotions and lose many nights of sleep while still working for a company that I so greatly admired, I wouldn’t have believed them.
In my early twenties, I began working at a small marketing agency/consultancy. I loved the organization’s culture from the start, enjoyed their line of work, believed in their product they produced and quickly felt a bond with my colleagues. I was itching to learn anything and everything, contribute significantly, excel rapidly and make big moves in my career.
The learning curve was great for my Account Manager role and I was afforded tremendous responsibilities, was assigned accounts with quite a few very renowned clients, and traveled all over the country for stakeholder meetings. For all of which, I am truly grateful.
Overtime however, the allure of the job diminished as the organization restructured and my role changed within it. A position that was previously fulfilling had now become lackluster. While I still believed strongly in the mission of the company and was pleased with its new overall direction, I also felt stuck and highly-unmotivated within an organization where I once experienced extensive opportunity and growth.
During this time of low motivation and unhappiness, I had my first, full encounter with job crafting, “the process of employees redesigning their own jobs to better suit their strengths and interests” (Wrzesniewski, 2010), while shaping their job tasks to better align with their personal values and goals. Job crafting is highly important as it can reengage employees, create more happiness among staff over time and in turn increase performance (Wrzesniewski, 2014). Implementing a consistent job crafting process is also a positive way to find what motivates employees and encourages them to take ownership of their work and purpose while becoming resilient. “In order to reengage employees and make them happy within the workplace, it requires that the employee be doing something meaningful and can get lost in their work on a daily basis” (Pinsker, 2016). Allowing each employee to craft a job that is meaningful for them specifically, is necessary for the success of an organization.
Throughout my last year with the company, I looked to build my experience in different areas to create a more fulfilling work environment by requesting to be involved with different client accounts from industries that aligned more with my values, built stronger relationships with all employees within the small company, and asked to attend meetings that would help me be more strategic within my position. With support from upper management and my colleagues, these efforts helped to boost my morale. However, without a solid job crafting plan in place and knowledge of how to specifically form one, these efforts eventually fell flat and I felt I had no other option than to leave the company for new endeavors.
Now as an MBA student reflecting on that experience, I can’t help but wonder if the scenario could have been different. Was this simply a situation of reaching a natural growth threshold within a company? Could I personally have done more to change my immediate working environment? With this new knowledge of job crafting, what would I tell my previous self?
- Identify your own motives, strengths, and passions and revisit them consistently. Self-awareness is key.
- Visualize your job, map its elements, and reorganize it to better suit you (Wrzesniewski, 2014).
- Find opportunities for work that also add value to others (Valcour, 2013).
- Explicitly document your job crafting plans. Write them down, make them tangible (Valcour).
- Build trust with managers and solicit their support specifically for your job crafting plans (Wrzesniewski, 2014).
- Specifically assess the three core aspects of work, Task Crafting, Relationship Crafting, and Cognitive Crafting, and formulate a plan to move forward with these in mind (Wrzesniewski):
- Have a solid understanding of the relevance of your work to the overall mission of the business. Recognize chances to use your skills and expertise to make a positive contribution.
- Refrain from completing work that you ‘should’ do and instead do the work you choose to do. (Livne-Tarandach, 2016).
While I didn’t experience a desired result initially, I do know that I’m now better equipped to more effectively job craft in the future when I’ll be back in the career world one day soon, in hopes for a more successful outcome.
This blog was inspired by a class assignment developed for the Management Individuals and Organizational (MGMT612) course lead by Dr. Reut Livne-Tarandach.