Job crafting: the art of making your role work for you | #AUABlog

Lindsay Melling
Career Development Coordinator
National Heart and Lung Institute | Imperial College London

Many of us are in jobs that don’t necessarily match our occupational interests[1] but there may be various reasons why remaining in your current role is best for you at this point in time. The location, commute, or working hours may suit you, you may enjoy working with the team you are in and feel that you still have things to learn. However, there are ways that you can ‘craft’[2] your role to make it more interesting, to develop new skills or contacts, and to keep you engaged, satisfied and motivated.

Let’s be clear, you have a job description and have responsibilities that are non-negotiable so we are not talking about downing tools and abandoning your activities. But it is possible to subtly expand or include preferred elements in your role or do things a bit differently. Consider what you enjoy doing, what gives you satisfaction and what skills you would like to develop. Think creatively about how you might integrate these elements into your existing role. It might be helpful to do this with a colleague or friend, who can help you look at your role more objectively. Let’s see what this might look like:

  1. Enjoy events? Could you help to organise a departmental event? Could you volunteer to support graduation or other university open days?
  2. Like writing but don’t need to do it for your role? Could you write a regular/occasional blog for your department/faculty/university? Could you update the text on some of your local webpages or write a piece for the newsletter?
  3. Is there a process or activity that you are involved in that you think could be done more efficiently or effectively? Talk to your line manager about whether it can be reviewed and you can contribute your suggestions for improvement and implementation.
  4. Interested in IT? Could you become a champion for your department/team when a new system or software is introduced? Could you attend training or complete an online course to develop your skills and share your learning?
  5. Make contact with people in similar roles inside and outside your immediate team and find ways to support each other and share challenges, good practice, and ideas. Perhaps meet monthly for lunch.
  6. Ask for feedback, opinions or advice from your line manager/colleagues to help you develop and see things from different perspectives. Be open to suggestions and consider how they could be developed and implemented.
  7. See the bigger picture: attend departmental and university-wide talks/events and talk to people from outside your normal work group.
  8. Find out who your AUA advocate is and talk to them about becoming more involved. Could you help to organise a social event or a talk for members/potential members?

Use existing processes like your annual appraisal to discuss potential development projects, training or networking with your line manager; gain their support, formalize your objectives and get crafting!



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