Love and Your Personal Brand

071012_Happy_Work_575x270-panoramic_18615“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Back in 1970, Stephen Stills delivered a mantra useful for those times when you’re far away from where you’d rather be. Quoting fellow musician and road warrior Billy Preston, Stills’ lyric posed a realistic, if unromantic viewpoint about life’s journey.

How about spinning that for a personal branding mantra?

Think about the job you have right now, especially if there’s something else you would rather be doing. Now repeat:

If I can’t be in the job I love, I’ll love the job I have.

Gallop polled 8,000 US workers, and found that’s the philosophy of the happiest, most successful people working today. Researcher Shane Lopez dug into the data and found out what was really behind the smiles. These people weren’t just making do, they weren’t white knuckling it through the day and they weren’t lying about how they felt. They had made great jobs from the jobs they got.

The secret to their success and happiness was reinvention. They reinvented their jobs to fit their skills, strengths and interests. Yale School of Management’s Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski calls it “job crafting.”

Can you job craft?

Make a series of small changes by increasing the tasks you want to do and taking on new ones. You will find a natural decrease in those you don’t care for. This doesn’t just apply to tasks. It applies to the amount of interaction you might want to amplify or reduce with colleagues, customers or your boss.

When you’re reinventing your job, don’t make changes suddenly. And don’t necessarily announce them to anyone. Start with whatever wiggle room you have in your job. Here are some ideas.

-Do an unexpectedly thorough job, even if you’ve been given just a small task. For example, if you schedule tweets and you’d prefer to control more of your company’s social media – include additional ideas, information or insights when you email your report that the tweets are up.

-Pick up the phone if you work virtually and mostly have been communicating by email and IM. For example, call a colleague to exchange ideas about a project and while you’re at it: ask how their day is going.

– Do the groundwork for a project you’d love to lead. For example, if you want to get your company involved in branded content, send around a short presentation with relevant show ideas. Ask for input.

One of the hallmarks of my career is that after my first job in advertising, I never again was hired for a position that had a job description. I was interviewed for these kinds of jobs, but when I met the employer I treated the job interview as an opportunity to collaborate. I learned what their goals were and I brought my ideas, experience and strengths to bear. Without knowing it, I was being entrepreneurial, thinking beyond what was on the agenda. I believe that’s why I was never turned down, because I created jobs that only I could fill.

Job crafting is simply being entrepreneurial on your own behalf, within your current organization. If you want more money, trust, responsibility, and freedom, work the way start-ups do. Take what you have including your imagination, and provide more value by doing more of what you do best. Watch the negative aspects of your job just fall off your to-do list.

Because as someone who does, I know you can be with the one you love and love the one you’re with.

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