I’ve often wondered that myself, particularly when I’ve been stuck outside during cold, wet and windy winter days! Then the sun comes out and I adopt a very different attitude to working in construction!
One good reason is that, once the project is finished, we can wander back to the site and feel very pleased with ourselves, telling everyone “I built that!” But why get into construction in the first place?
Well the majority of those who work in construction are the skilled tradesmen. They come into it often simply because it runs in their family. “My dad is a joiner/bricky/sparky, so I will be one, too!” Others observe construction projects as they are going through their education. Dead exciting for school kids to see an extension being built on their school. They all want a conducted tour – which terrifies us lot, having kids on a site! Some of these kids decide they would like to be involved, so try to gain apprenticeships. Whether they end up in jobbing building, house building or commercial construction varies. The money goes up with each progression but it also usually means having to work away from home. That is the skilled trades dealt with for now, on to management.
Many in construction management, at all levels, have just moved up through the trades. The rest were youngsters who decided that construction was for them and took academic courses to prepare themselves. This lot will have been motivated in pretty much the same way as the skilled tradesmen beginners were. It is just that they felt formalised learning was a better entry route and that let straight to management.
So why, once we have got into working in construction, do we all want to stay there? Well, one reason is that we are all “dead ‘ard”! Everyone knows that, but isn’t it odd the number of us married to women in the caring professions? Construction isn’t like an office or a factory job; we are doing something different every day so that gives a lot of added interest to our working lives.
Then there is the kind of personalities we are working together with in construction. Arguable it is the “last refuge for the warrior classes”. Ever noticed how many on a commercial construction site were in the Military previously? I was! It shows when there is a catastrophe in the area; sites empty and everyone is giving blood or the lads are running into burning buildings to make sure everyone is out safely!
The complexity of a construction project is another attraction to us. All have a chat together to find out who does what. In what order, to get the job done quickest and best. Surprising that “der-brains” like us should do that because this is supposedly the most difficult of senior management system thinking disciplines; Viable Systems Thinking!
That leaves what we all, ultimately work for – Money! The skilled tradesmen get well over the national average annual income. Management, except at the very top end, don’t do too well in that sense, but we get enough to meet the bills and keep the wife happy.
It is at home that we enjoy other advantages, too! Look at all the DIY we construction workers get done to suite our ladies! Plus, if it is outside our own skills we usually have contacts we have worked with who will help us freely! I was once gawped at by the in-laws because I was putting a new handrail on the staircase. Ever after they thought my wife was very clever to have snared me!