CSR: Choosing A Career May Involve Staying Where you Are

As you explore and ponder various directions to go in your responsible career search consider for a moment staying where you and making it even more engaging and sustainable. By choosing a career you can grow into provides opportunities that will challenge and stretch you. As discussed in the Harvard Business Review, June 1, 2010, Turn the Job you Have into the Job You Want, is a new term being researched and discussed called, Job Crafting.

If you’re in a situation, where changing roles or companies is unrealistic given the tough economy, what can you do? A growing body of research suggests that an exercise we call “job crafting” can be a powerful tool for choosing a career and reimagining your work life. The process includes and involves redefining your job to incorporate your motivations, strengths, and personal passions. What the exercise encourages you to do is to visualize the job you currently have, map its elements with a simple technique called mindmapping, and reorganize your job to better suit you.

Another way of saying this is that you combined your interest in choosing a career with crafting and claiming the job you have. You move from the seat of the observer into the seat of active participant and designer. By doing this you add your personal presence and personality on how you see and do your job. In that way, you’ll gain a greater sense of control at work—which is especially critical at a time when you’re probably working longer and harder with less free time and a longer horizon for working. In additional to job crafting it is also suggested to create a personalized learning plan each year to map out and write down your professional goals and what you plan to do to accomplish them. Perhaps job crafting’s best feature is that it’s driven by you, enhancing your professionalism and adding to your skill. This exercise of job crafting, involves assessing and then altering one or more of the following core aspects of work.

One way to keep choosing your career is by changing your relationship with your job is to change the boundaries of your job by taking on more or fewer tasks, expanding or shifting their scope, or changing how or when they are performed. A sales manager, for instance, might take on additional event planning because he likes the challenge of organizing people and logistics.
By acting in accordance with your personal passion and long range goals you can choose your career with clarity and insight. One key area to job craft is in the area and nature or extent of your interactions with other people. A managing director, for example, might create mentoring relationships with young associates as a way to connect with and teach those who represent the future of the firm. You may also generate collaborative projects and offer to Chair them that expand between different departments.
You can change how you think about the purpose of certain aspects of your job or you can reframe the job as a whole. It’s not just what you do that makes choosing a career important but it is also how you interact with your tasks and the overall outcome and intention of the work. If your vision of the work isn’t supporting you then it’s up to you to change your perspective. As discussed in the Harvard Review an example they give is that the director of a nonprofit institution, for instance, might choose to think of his job as two separate parts, one not particularly enjoyable (the pursuit of contributions and grants) and one very meaningful (creating opportunities for emerging artists).

When choosing a career consider job crafting by engaging all aspects, tasks, relationships and your personal perceptions. How might you define job crafting for yourself? What action step can you take this month?