Job crafting (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001) is one of the most useful and practical concepts to come out of the career development and organizational behavior academic arenas. Simply put, you may find greater satisfaction, and even meaning, in a job when you are able to figure out how to exert some control over the relationships or tasks of the role, or over your own perceptions of the work.
If the tasks of your work are drudgery, focus on the positive working relationships you have at work or that you could develop. If the people you work with are not the selling point of this job, look to the tasks. See if there is any way to shift your responsibilities or to take on work that better fits your interests or strengths.
As for perception, focus on what’s good about the job—what you’re getting out of it and how you’re making a difference, even there’s only a tiny speck of silver lining—rather than all the things that are so bad about it.
3. Have an exit strategy.
No, I don’t mean have a plan to quit—at least not without another job to go to if you really need to be employed. What I do mean is that looking toward the future can make the present easier to swallow. It will help you like a job you loathe and continue working till you get better opportunity.
You do not need to have a clearly defined future career plan. In fact, it’s better to be flexible and open to opportunities as they come along and not set your eye on too specific of a prize. If you have a good handle on what you enjoy, how you can add value, and environments in which you could thrive, you’re as focused as you need to be.
This approach is the crux of the Happenstance Learning Theory of Career Development (Krumboltz, 2009). Your goal should be to learn about yourself and then explore ways you might apply your strengths, satisfy your interests, and make a difference. It’s about planning but being open to serendipity—a planned happenstance approach to careers.
When I coach clients through the process of shaping new work identities, crafting jobs, and “planning happenstance,” I see their faces brighten and spirits lift, even if they are in a stop-gap job that is some degree of miserable. They can find a way to tolerate, or perhaps like a job they loathe because they are learning how to envision a future that includes satisfying work and how to be open to more satisfying work that may find them.
Apply these strategies and let me know in comments below if you can like a job you loathe?
© L. Michelle Tullier 2020
- Krumboltz, J. D. (2009). The Happenstance Learning Theory. Journal of Career Assessment, 17(2), 135–154. https://doi.org/10.1177/1069072708328861
- Wrzesniewski, A. & Dutton, J. (2001). Crafting a Job: Revisioning Employees as Active Crafters of Their Work. Academy of Management Review, 26, 179–201, https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2001.4378011
Witten by: Michelle Tullier Originally appeared on: Psychologytoday.com Republished with permission