How did you feel after your last workplace performance review? Since then, do you look forward to your job every morning? Does the workday fly by? At the end of each day are you excited about tomorrow? Maybe your job is no longer a challenge and you feel unfulfilled? You want more and you don’t know what to do. You ask yourself, “Do I want to feel unfulfilled next year or longer and how do I find job fulfillment?”
Create job fulfillment
Fulfillment in work and life gives meaning for what we do. Work with meaning provides satisfaction and happiness. Viktor Frankl ranks meaning among the higher callings for human activities. Without meaning, we feel unfulfilled. To achieve fulfillment at work we need to make meaning in our job or look for other work inside or outside the company.
As a first thought we might seek another job since we haven’t considered how to change our current position to achieve fulfillment. And, prospects to re-enter the job market are risky and troublesome. We will expend considerable effort to upgrade our resume, rebrand our self, and our career. Why not make a similar effort to reinvent our current job for improved work fulfillment? We may always seek new employment after we first try to reinvent our current position.
Benefits of job fulfillment
It’s beneficial to find meaning in our work when we reinvent our current job compared to a search for new employment. When we reinvent, we design from what we already know. For example, assume you own your home, which no longer meets your needs. You have two options: First, fix up your home to reinvent it to fulfill your requirements. Or, you may look for a new residence. Most real estate brokers advise fix up before a search for something new. You realize when you renovate your home you will benefit through improvements. You will improve short-term livability while you have the house on the market. Long-term benefits will accrue if the home does not sell and you live in the house longer than planned. You also realize cost and effort invested will increase the value of your home. Since there is no urgency to move, why not reinvent your house before you look for another?
What does it mean to reinvent your job?
When you reinvent your work, you redesign your position to improve job fulfillment. When you discover your passions and apply them to your work, you will reinvent your job. This is possible because most companies describe what you must do for your position. They don’t cover what you can’t do. Typical job descriptions are written with minimum performance levels without performance ceilings. Assume you have exceeded minimum expectations and your supervisor, manager or leadership has not set caps on your ambitions, you are ready to reinvent your job. Follow these ten ways to reinvent your job and increase your personal satisfaction.
1. Inventory your strengths
Begin with your strengths to start a personal vision statement for your life and work. Marcus Buckingham suggests three indicators to identify strengths:
You must have all three indicators present for the activity to represent your strength. Think of strengths as passions. Strengths don’t necessarily equate to something easily accomplished. You may have a talent for spreadsheets or financial analysis. And, if you don’t have a passion for finance then, it doesn’t constitute your strength.
2. Align strengths with values and goals
Job fulfillment is enhanced when you use your strengths towards achieving personal values and goals. Many people have difficulty when asked to define their values. We often generalize values in our culture based on beliefs that these values represent the right thing to do in relationship with others. Although, cultural values may have useful application for moralistic pursuits, they may not align with what we want for greater job satisfaction. Your challenge is to find values that relate to you in your day-to-day life.
For example, assume you value help for disadvantaged youth and your strength is mentoring. You know this because you identified mentoring as a passion from your strengths inventory. You realize some of your company’s customers are disadvantaged youth and your company’s vision is customer satisfaction.
With this in mind, create time specific, measurable goals, which support your values. In our example, your goals might include the number of disadvantaged youths you plan to mentor each month. Use these goals to evaluate progress in improved job satisfaction, all which resulted from efforts to reinvent your job.
3. Create a personal vision statement
As children everything seemed possible. Somewhere in our transition to adults, Joyce Sequichie Hifler reports, we convinced ourselves that our vision had to be realistic. This belief about reality hindered our abilities to vision a reinvented life. Adult (realistic) thinking might ask, “What visions must I discard for employment and the requirements of my job?” As you reinvent your job, you’ll feel challenged to re-examine your visions within a new realism context. New realism to reinvent your job might ask, “What action do I need to take to meet my needs and my company’s needs so we may both achieve our visions?”
Recall the example. You realize mentoring disadvantaged youth who are company customers will increase customer satisfaction, a company vision. If you do this, you have aligned your personal vision with the company’s vision. Draft a personal vision statement including your strengths, values, goals, and outcome you plan to achieve. Mutuality in vision with your company, rather than exclusivity for you, has critical importance as you reinvent your job.
4. Have a frank conversation with your boss
Let her know you want more responsibility and ask for suggestions and support. Document your request as you describe your strengths, values, goals and personal vision. If you aligned your personal vision with your company’s mission and vision, as shown in the example, describe benefits for you and the company. Explain how you’ll accomplish your current job and your expanded role to benefit both.
5. Utilize resources
Volunteer for stretch assignments at work or commit to worthy causes in your community. You’ll grow through this exposure, as you learn and practice up-to-date skills and behaviors. And, you’ll gain personal satisfaction from your contribution. Remember, most learning is achieved through application of knowledge. The remainder of skill development occurs through classroom instruction. Stretch for growth in new work and obtain classroom instruction for what you need.
6. Create an elevator speech
It’s often said, “Every day you interview for your next job.” Prepare a brief introduction to explain your reinvented work, your new brand. Describe how you are prepared for opportunities beyond your reinvented role. Include your vision. Explain why this is important in ten seconds or in the time you might wait for an elevator.
7. Seize opportunities
Don’t wait for the right opportunity to pitch new ideas and demonstrate your reinvented job. Get proactive. Talk to leaders and influencers in the lunchroom, over coffee, in hallways or anywhere paths cross. Create situations to raise visibility and demonstrate your passion. Prepare for the next serendipitous moment to move your plans forward.
8. Develop yourself as a thought leader
Use social media to enhance your reputation. Write about your knowledge and post ideas on LinkedIn or create a personal website or blog. Use Twitter or Instagram to comment on business issues to drive traffic to your blog or web site. Inform peers and leaders about your blogs and invite others to dialog on topics of common interest. These methods to reach out help establish yourself as a thought leader.
9. Ask for feedback
As you demonstrate your reinvented roles ask others, “What have I accomplished?” When you request feedback you will reinforce commitment for your vision and obtain input on how others see your larger role. Think of feedback as your personal focus group for this new brand. Use feedback to make necessary changes in your plans as you continue to reinvent your job.
10. Evaluate progress
When you reinvent your job, appreciate it as a continuous process of self-improvement as you demonstrate value for others. When you started, you committed to fix up and reinvent your current home with new vision and skills before you looked for a new home. This process increased the value of your home. And, by reinventing your home you also improved yourself and your personal satisfaction.
As you complete reinventing your job, ask yourself, “Have I increased my workplace fulfillment? Have I found meaning in my work and improved my personal satisfaction?” If the answers are “yes,” you have successfully reinvented your job. If you don’t find your answers acceptable, ask yourself, “What else do I want to do? How else may I reinvent who I am and what I do for improved job fulfillment and greater personal satisfaction?” In the end, you still have an option to leave the company for other work. However, if you decide to depart, you will move on with the experience gained from reinventing your job and thereby reinventing yourself.
If this essay is meaningful, please like or tweet below or leave a comment. Thank you for your interest and possible action you may take.
Richard Wilberg, MS, PLCC, ACC
Life Coach for Personal Fulfillment and Career Success
About the Author
Richard Wilberg is a coach, musician, photographer, and former business leader who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.