You don’t need to be working in your dream job to love it. Reality check: landing your dream job doesn’t mean you’re going to love everything about it. You may not love it forever, either. In any case, discovering that the everyday reality of a dream job is different than what you’d imagined can fast-track you to premature disillusionment.
80% of people say they don’t have their dream job, according to a recent SurveyMonkey poll. If loving your job is all about having the job of your dreams, then most of us would be doomed to a constant lack of fulfillment and enjoyment in our careers.
Here’s the thing, though; research indicates that people who love what they do get there because they’ve redesigned their jobs to be a good fit for themselves. In other words, they’ve job-crafted their way to loving their work.
According to Yale professor Amy Wrzesniewski, people who job-craft consistently reported higher performance, satisfaction, and happiness at work. Here’s how you can do it too.
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Wrezsniewski defines it as “what employees do to redesign their own jobs in ways that foster engagement, satisfaction, resilience and thriving.” Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re probably already engaging in some form of job crafting; everyone does it.
Wrezsniewski has identified three forms of job-crafting:
90% of our happiness depends on our internal perspective, but most of us focus on the other 10% that’s out of our control. Job crafting gives you a greater sense of ownership and control over your job, which is why it boosts happiness and performance.
Recognise that while there are certain things you can’t control at work, you are responsible for how you respond to it. Shifting how you describe and think about yourself and the work you do can seem like a small change, but it makes a huge difference.
To illustrate how important words are in this regard, look at the Ritz-Carlton’s motto: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”
It instantly dignifies service staff and gives them a sense of pride in what they do. Had they gone with “We serve ladies and gentlemen,” it wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Wrezniewski found that hospital cleaners who described their work with personal value statements like “I am a healer; I create clean spaces for people to heal” were happier at work than those who simply used their formal job titles.
So many of us feel like we have so much to do and so little for it. Worse, a lot of us don’t play to our strengths, either. Being faced with a long to-do list of items you’re not looking forward to doing can dampen your spirits.
Where possible, try and fill your to-do list with more tasks that align with your strengths. Importantly, remember: according to Marcus Buckingham, bestselling author and consultant, your strengths aren’t just what you’re good at. They’re the things you’re good at and what you enjoy. If you end up doing too many things you’re good at, but you hate doing, it can kill your motivation.
If you want to get more things done in less time and feel less stressed, you need to take a serious look at how to maximise your productivity. Trying out different productivity techniques like the Pomodoro Technique or simply reducing your distractions can go a long way.
According to positive psychologist Martin Seligman, relationships are one of the five vital elements of happiness at work and in life. When you change how you work with the people around you, it has a more significant effect on how much you love your job than you think.
Chances are, you know someone whose strength is your weakness. Swapping tasks with them so that both of you enjoy a better task-strength fit is mutually beneficial.
Everyone wants to feel valued. Take the time to write regular thank-you notes or to make it known that you’re thankful to a particular employee for helping you or the team out in some way.