Job Crafting – how to pursue your passions at work

Katarzyna Lawera

The words growth and development have been widespread lately. We wonder how to develop ourselves and what to do to feel that we are keeping up with reality. Unfortunately, often the first idea that comes to mind when we feel we need to grow is to change jobs.

This solution seems tempting. The new employer usually promises us more money and presents us with a vision of endless possibilities. Often, however, after an initial period of hope and anticipation, the reality turns out to be barely different from what we left.

How does it work? In the beginning, we do indeed have a false sense of growth because the brain gets its challenge from a new situation. People, surroundings, processes and routines are new. Everything has to be familiarised and used to, so the brain works at top speed. We often refer to this agitation as development. (This is a frequently observed phenomenon in our lives, and in psychology is called tension attribution bias). And when the novelty sets in, we realise that it has little to do with development. This is not because someone lied to us or did not keep a promise. We are the reason.

Simply put, if we don’t answer some fundamental questions ourselves and realise what we really need, every subsequent job change will only bring us temporary satisfaction. Besides, it is essential to realise that a sense of happiness and joy does not come from the outside. Every day, it requires our commitment and action, not once in a blue moon.

Researchers who have studied this topic point out that the key issue here is our sense of meaning in work. However, we need to realise what is important to us to find this sense. What talents we want to use in our everyday work, what values we want to realise in our work and what gives us a sense of satisfaction.

It is often believed that professional success is mainly about money and power. And for some people, this is indeed the case. But for many people, there are other important values: such as being in contact with others, happy relationships, self-esteem, a sense of professionalism, etc.

If we consciously recognise our values and realise how we want to pursue them, we have the chance to find our way without having to keep looking for a better job. You don’t have to look for a new employer to build a sense of meaning and job satisfaction. Just start with job crafting.

This is a new concept because until now we have always thought about how to adapt to a new situation. Now we are starting to think about what actions to take to make the situation a little more suitable for ourselves, make it more friendly, and benefit from it more. The need for self-actualisation is satisfied when we feel that our work is done in accordance with our values and gives us a sense of meaning.

It turns out that even small changes we start to make in our day-to-day activities can increase this feeling and the level of joy we experience. Sometimes it is enough to organise the day differently and plan all activities carefully. For someone else, it may be the acquisition of some new skill that they can use in their work. Someone else might ask a colleague to help them with some of their responsibilities. It could be talking to a leader about what projects one would like to be involved in and planning this together for the near future. Sometimes, talking about difficult communication with a colleague and asking for help with an issue improves our mood significantly. After all, it could be to include some activities that are not related to my professional responsibilities. I heard of a case where a girl, wanting to share her passion, organised a yoga class for her co-workers, which she led once a week. In pursuit of their passion, someone else took photos of company life and hung them on the company board from time to time.

There are many possibilities, and everyone can find suitable activities to help them do their job with meaning and satisfaction. It’s really up to us, and it’s not where we are that will provide us with fulfilment, but our conscious effort and taking advantage of the opportunities around us.

In our company, everyone can ask the company coach for such help. (Kasia Lawera)

So let’s look for opportunities for growth that are within our reach, and let’s reach for them. We should not expect that someone will give them to us as a gift because it is (as someone once said) “like waiting for a comet”.