Have you come across this word job crafting yet?

Recently when I was scanning through the internet, I read about job crafting.. Sounds interesting right? Can you craft your job? Or you the master of your job? Can you control and do only those things which you like in your job and opt not to do what you do not like? Here are my views about job crafting.

Jobs are collections of tasks and relationships that are grouped together and assigned to an individual (Ilgen & Hollenbeck, 1992) and Job crafting changes the meaning of the

work by changing job tasks or relationships in ways that allow employees to reframe the purpose of the job and experience the work differently  according to Job Crafting and Cultivating Positive Meaning and Identity in Work 287 (c) Emerald Group Publishing (Tausky, 1995)’’ (p. 186).

The reasons for altering task and relational boundaries is to experience positive meaning and sense of self, improve engagement, improve commitment and improve performance

After knowing the definition of job crafting the next immediate question which comes to any one’s mind is, what is the right time to think about job crafting? My answer would be now.. Irrespective of whether you are a fresher or experienced, u can apply these techniques. Please do keep in mind any job crafting you do, needs to be revisited every now and then. It is not a permanent solution to end all your vows..

Let me quote some of the examples on how job crafting helped people to enjoy their work by turning their jobs they have to Jobs they want

A friend of mine joined as a developer. His aim was to become an architect by mastering different technologies but in the meanwhile as he was doing well, he was given a promotion to be the team lead. For him, even though his financial goals were being met, his aspirations of being an SME was not being met. He listed all the activities he would do as a team lead and spoke to team mates who were willing to take on this additional responsibility in order for themselves to grow up the ladder. This meant that he now had some additional time which he could focus on learning different technologies within the boundaries. At the same time, the team mates were given an opportunity to do the activities for the next role which they were aspiring to get on.

Another friend of mine, did his MBBS and started with his career as a doctor but found that he has greater inclination towards administration. He started looking at ways to help the administration department in his hospital as a stretch goal for himself. After few years, he did his MBA and slowly moved on take a plum post in the administration department.

Another friend of mine, tries to volunteer for as many initiatives as possible along with the main stream of work for which she is accountable. Her reasoning, is that it gives her a boost and motivates her a lot. I checked with her on how she is able to find time, she says, when you want to do it from your heart, you always find that additional time. She is one of the top performers in her company.

A colleague of mine loves to interact with people and wants to contribute to the society as much as possible. She being in IT, finds very little time for these activities. She always used to smile at the housing staff and one day she took time off to understand how their life is. She realized for the women’s day, instead of calling out very high profile people to talk about their achievements, she could organize a get together to welcome these staff and gave them an opportunity to talk about how they have fought different obstacles to reach the stage they are in today. Ladies present there, realized that there are so many people who are fighting their odds out to meet their ends and their struggles were comparatively lesser. This not only gave the housekeeping staff a real morale boost but she felt that she contributed to the society in her own small way.

Job crafting can be either done by the employees proactively or managers can encourage teams to discuss changing the boundaries that comprise their jobs.

Some of the questions which needs to be asked while doing job crafting are as follows

1. What is my goal

2. What are the tasks  that needs to be performed for my job role/description for which i am hired for

3. How much amount of time, do i spend on these activities

4. How much of time is remaining after completing the current set of activities defined as per role description

5. What are the activities (including relationships) which i like to do which align to my goals

6. How can i fit in those activities in the current role (additional to the existing list of activities)

7. Can I do those activities as a stretched goal

8. What are the activities which i don’t like and if given a chance would want others to do it

9. What are the challenges i might face if I do not want to do these activities

10. How do i overcome these challenges? Ask the following questions

a. Is it just for the sake of process, we are doing something and can it be taken off from the list after having conversations with the stakeholders

b. Is there an activity which I love to do it which is currently being done by another person and is he ready for giving that task to me in exchange of another task

c. Can I negotiate with the stakeholders talking about the benefits which overweighs costs and thereby get that additional funding/ time required

d. Can I stretch for a few hours in a week to complete all my activities

e. Can I speak to my manager to move me to a different role which has the activities which I want to do?

Through job crafting, We differentiate between the meaning of the work and the meaningfulness  of work; as Rosso and colleagues (2010) point out (see also Pratt & Ashforth, 2003), the meaning of work concerns what it is that work signifies or represents, while the meaningfulness of work refers to how much purpose or significance work has.

To summarize, job crafting does not mean that you can get rid off all the unwanted jobs you do not want to do nor does it mean that you have got all the liberty to choose only the things you want/perceive to be important.

It helps you analyse what you like the most in your jobs, what are the activities which you may not like so much but can see if anyone else is able to pick up your work or you yourself pick on additional work to get rid of the boredom of ‘doing not so great tasks’.  It helps to increase job satisfaction, commitment levels and performance. It empowers individuals to think like as if they are job entrepreneurs.


Anu Ravi

Seasoned Agile Practitioner

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