Customise your work day to make your job more engaging and fulfilling

IMS Quick Reads

Almost two decades ago, a Michigan University Professor and a colleague from Yale began to study the behaviors of lower level paid staff working in a hospital. They found that among the janitors and cleaners and cooks, certain individuals eclipsed the rest in how they approached their working day. They were the ‘job crafters’, workers who pushed the boundaries of their job descriptions to include responsibilities that made their job more meaningful, to them.

Redefining your role in the workplace can be a powerful tool to revolutionize Mondays. By seeing your job as a set of building blocks instead of a fixed to-do list, you can better align your responsibilities with what you like doing. It’s not about extravagant upheaval – this isn’t a work version of Eat, Pray, Love. What we’re talking about is looking beyond the core elements of a job description and understanding how you can approach your work in a way that brings you fulfillment and happiness. By linking any changes or job personalisation to organisational objectives, you’ll also be contributing to the progress of your team and increasing your perceived value in the workplace.

Ever heard of the Fred Factor? Fred is a postman. Not just any old postman, but an extraordinary one. Fred understood that there could be more to his job than delivering mail, by looking at how his responsibilities could benefit the whole community. He provided incredible service, personalized to each of his customers, and he did it so well that someone wrote a best-selling book about him. Fred is a great example of how a seemingly ordinary job can be executed with passion and purpose. And because job crafting is an initiative driven by you, it also helps increase ownership of your tasks and gives you a greater sense of control over your workday.

How do you craft a job you love? Start by changing how you perceive your own role within a wider context. Next, look at your current workday and identify opportunities to include activities that allow you to grow, improve your skills, or manage side projects. You can be creative, but prepare a business case to present your ideas to your manager. Chances are, they’ll be impressed by your initiative and keen to work on how your ideas can benefit the business.

The real beauty of job crafting is in its universality: no matter who you are or what you do, you can create opportunities for professional fulfillment.

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