I attend a small quiet local gym, no muscle-bound weekend warriors for me, just a steady pace in a place with a peaceful view. Suddenly in early January my little haven is crowded, people everywhere the place is pumping. Come February we are back to the few locals and I have my quiet space back again. Called February Slump, it is the time when people’s resolutions have moved past that energising freshness, what was exciting is not so thrilling, enthusiasm drops and only a relatively small number retain the goals and new practices they intended.
It can happen in our work too, it won’t be in a month, but over a longer period of time the job that we were so excited and motivated by, perhaps strived hard to gain, can lose its freshness, and challenge, we can feel a bit blunted, numb, no longer excited about what we are doing, almost content to let things pile up a bit.This is Rust Out, the quieter partner to Burn Out. Rightfully we are very concerned about Burn Out in people. It is excellent that we now have many workplace programmes focused on wellness, recognising and seeking signs of stress, anxiety or concern in ourselves and others, enabling us to be supportive managers and co-workers and redirect for better health. But Rust Out can slip under the radar, a bit like the February Slump, it just slides into the background, which in turn has an impact on our morale, engagement and joy in our work.If it becomes urgent, and there is an opportunity, people may seek other jobs, but very often that may not be what we want.We can sit in a state of performing adequately but not to our best and not getting the true satisfaction that real challenge and real success brings, or we may recognise this in others.
Job crafting can provide us with some ideas to refresh, renew and re-energise. The following two two steps can help us to become proactive and redesign how we work and reconnect with joy, challenge and satisfaction in our work.
Step one - Reflect on some or all of these questions. What do I/did I love about this role? How is it meaningful?What is its purpose or place in my life now? That may have changed as life stages change but pick what is currently meaningful and motivating to you.
Step two - select one of the following (don’t try to do too much)
- Task Crafting – would I like to become more expert and learn new skills, go for mastery, operational expertise, in my direct role or skills that are related to my current role.Become exceptionally good at something.
- Relationship Crafting – what are my regular interactions with people in the workplace, what are my networks, who do I know well, and what networks can I explore to strengthen my interpersonal skills.Become a great communicator, coach or be coached, learn more about others.
- Cognitive crafting – what is my current mindset, what are my assumptions, what are the core messages I am telling myself about my work every day.How can I change that to keep my real interests alive and well every day and align that message with the role this job has in my whole life.
February is a great time to reflect, set some goals, keep it small, celebrate when you get there and don’t let Rust Out catch you or your team.
If you would like to discuss Job Crafting contact Therese La Porte, firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your organisations needs.