According to a recent survey of 5,000 U.S. households, only 45% of those polled say they are satisfied with their jobs—down from about 60% in 1987. Yet, due to the promotion-freezing job-slashing recession, people feel stuck in these unsatisfying jobs.

You could always quit.

But Yale Professor Amy Wrzesniewski proposes an alternative solution in the Harvard Business Review: “Turn the job you have into the job you want.” Try transforming your current job by changing one or more of these three things instead:

1. Tasks. You can alter your job by taking on more or fewer tasks, different types of tasks, or by simply changing the way you do the tasks you currently have. 

2. Relationships. Change the nature and degree to which you interact with others. Take on a mentee, or spend more time getting to know people in other departments. 

3. Perception. Think about your job in a different way. If there are parts you don’t like, separate them from the parts you do like. See your job as two jobs: one that you must do, and one that you enjoy doing.


Wrzesniewski calls this exercise job crafting, “a powerful tool for reenergizing and reimagining your work life. It involves redefining your job to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions. The exercise prompts you to visualize the job, map its elements, and reorganize them to better suit you. In this way, you can put personal touches on how you see and do your job, and you’ll gain a greater sense of control at work…”

This got me thinking about what percentage of pastors feel satisfied in their present calling. And I also wondered if pastors in the doldrums might use these same “job-crafting” principles to reenergize and reimagine their pastoral work. It might turn the ministry you have into the ministry you want.