Job crafting is a new term I came across the other day. I define it as giving meaning to one’s work. The lead researchers on the topic, Amy Wrzniewski, and the Greater Good Science Center describe it as “an exercise in redesigning routine job tasks in a way that draw upon strengths, and rethinking about work to emphasize how it contributes to something beyond ourselves“.
I realize that unfortunately, people look down on some professions. Most of the time, such jobs are cleaning, construction, picking up garbage etc. I come from a society where if people do not have a university degree, they do not get as much respect as university graduates do. This, of course, is a wrong way of thinking. Working is a very honorable thing, and every profession and people who are performing those professions deserve respect.
Now, back to the topic of job crafting. Wrzniewski and her colleagues studied a cleaning crew at one of the hospitals, I believe in the United States. They observed a significant difference between cleaners who enjoyed their work and cleaners who did not. When Wrzniewski and her colleagues researched further, they found out that those who enjoyed their jobs described their job titles as “an ambassador for the hospital” or even “a healer”. When asked further about what she meant, “the healer” explained that “she created sterile spaces in which patients heal, and facilitated caring for them as well as caring for their families”. I guess there is a similar story about a janitor’s chat with John F. Kennedy at Nasa. When asked about what his job at the company was, the janitor said, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
I know that job titles are important for most of us. But we need to keep in mind that titles do not define who people really are and what they do. And if we think about the fact that we spend most of our waking hours working, it may help us to think about our jobs from a different perspective. When people can find meaning and purpose in their jobs they become more engaged, and they go above and beyond with the services they provide.
I think it’s time we start thinking outside the box regarding our and other’s job titles.
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