Did you know the average American spends 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime? If you’re miserable in your job, it’s easy to feel like it’s sucking the life out of you. What is making you so miserable? Perhaps it’s the one family that complains every time fees are due. Maybe it’s the fact that you can’t get your leadership team to adopt new program ideas. You start thinking you need another job when the frustrations keep mounting. There’s still hope that the time you’ve put in doesn’t have to be a total loss.
Hubspot recently posted a blog that explains “job crafting” and the psychology behind it. “Job crafting” is where you re-imagine your job to find purpose. The blog uses the example of a study performed with hospital janitorial staff. It was found that when certain members of the janitorial staff found purpose in their work, they would describe their job tasks and titles differently than others. So, instead of saying, “I’m just a janitor”, those who found purpose in their jobs would say, “I’m an ambassador” or “I’m a healer”.
According to the article, there are three types of job crafting: task crafting, relational crafting, and cognitive crafting. Here are some examples:
Task Crafting: Adding, dropping, changing, or altering the tasks required of you.
Let’s say you are responsible for checking children in. Your position probably handles a lot of parent questions, concerns, and complaints. If you are struggling to find purpose in your job, change your perspective. You could see yourself as a Family Relationship Manager. You could log family concerns and use the information to report to management what changes need to be made. This way, you are ensuring a successful program for children and you are building the bridge of communication between families and program management.
Relational Crafting: Changing who you usually interact with at work.
If you’re in billing and you’ve found that some days, you just don’t understand what your purpose is, it is time to change who you usually interact with at work to gain new perspective. Perhaps, spend some time talking to site staff or families. Learn why they are there and perhaps it will help you look at your job in a new way. You may even find that you are better at playing with children than working with numbers.
Cognitive Crafting: Changing how you see tasks and the meaning behind them.
Some of us started our careers in fields that weren’t related to child care or education. Myrna Meunier, the Business Manager at New Ulm Public Schools started out in accounting and was the New Ulm Public Schools Auditor. When she looked back at the place that she liked to spend the most time, it was at school.
“Even though I’m not working directly with kids, I really like kids and making sure they get the best that they need to succeed. So as far as me, myself, that’s how I ended up in the education field and I really don’t see myself leaving. Making sure the dollars are there so that they can have the best education that the taxpayers and the state can provide.”
So, for Myrna, her purpose is to get children the best education they can have by making sure there is enough funding – that’s a perfect example of cognitive crafting.
We all fall in a rut sometimes, perhaps it’s you or someone you are working with. Increase your job satisfaction by finding a new purpose in your job or remember the reason you took the job in the first place. It’s not just the after-school program that depends on you, but also the children.