We utilize a qualitative study of 33 employees in for-profit and non-profit organizations to elaborate theory on job crafting. We specifically focus on how employees at different ranks describe perceiving and adapting to challenges in the execution of job crafting. Elaborating the challenges employees perceive in job crafting and their responses to them details the adaptive action that may be necessary for job crafting to occur. Specifically, our findings suggest that higher-rank employees tend to see the challenges they face in job crafting as located in their own expectations of how they and others should spend their time, while lower-rank employees tend to see their challenges as located in their prescribed jobs and others’ expectations of them. The nature of each group’s perceived challenges is related to the adaptive moves that they make to overcome them, such that higher-rank employees adapt their own expectations and behaviors to make do with perceived opportunities to job craft at work, while lower-rank employees adapt others’ expectations and behaviors to create opportunities to job craft. Our elaborated theory presents a socially embedded account of job crafting as a proactive and adaptive process that is shaped by employees’ structural location in the organization. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.