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job huntMost of us are familiar with terms like “job transition,” “job hunting,” “job satisfaction,” and “job hopping.” But have you ever heard of “job shaping”?

Before we break down this new term, consider the causes and effects of discontent in your job. Maybe your work is dull and lacks challenge. Or it could be you’re trying to fit a 12-hour day into 10. Or possibly your current job isn’t preparing you for greater responsibility and growth. When we feel these kinds of stresses on the job, we often turn to two options:

  1. Transitioning into a new job or role within the organization.
  2. Leaving the organization all together.

But we (and the organizations we work for) rarely think about what could be achieved by giving energy and thought to shaping our career.

So, what does “job shaping” mean? First, it means thinking about what aspects of the job currently do work for you. What duties give you joy and energy? Once you have identified these positive aspects of your job, look around and ask yourself how you could use them to enhance, fix or solve business problems. This will help you begin to “take shape” of what is best about your job and where you want to invest more time and energy. Now, if you can’t truthfully identify ANY aspects of the job that you enjoy, you probably should become a job hunter instead of a job shaper. But hopefully it’s the latter!

Continuing on – once you’ve identified the new shape you want your job to take, it’s time to communicate. Your performance review might be a good place to start a conversation about new goals, problems you would like to solve for the organization, etc. Collaborate with your boss in considering what kinds of problems you would like to solve for the organization, thus “officially” shaping/reshaping your job and career development.

I know that many of you already feel overworked, so the thought of adding a process like “job shaping” to your plate might feel overwhelming. If so, start thinking about shaping your career progress in small steps. Simply squeezing in 10 to 15 minutes into your day can be all you need to really jumpstart this process.

Learn more about Job Shaping and how you can develop your career alongside others through St. Louis’ Job Shapers Network.