Are You Building a House Or a Cathedral? Whichever, Take Pride In It
Me, I’ve built everything from houses to high-rise apartments and retail parks. I’ve never built a cathedral, though. The nearest I’ve come to that was a life-time ago and only by association. I was going through basic flying training for the military and my Wing Commander was the guy who flew the helicopter that put the cross on the steeple of the new Coventry Cathedral. He was very proud of doing that!
That’s the whole point of this Blog; to get it across how important it is to us all to take pride in what we do!
Whatever type of building work we are doing, we leave it and it has our signature on it! Assuming that it is handed over and actually occupied while we are still there, we can tell how good our “signature” was by the reception and reaction if we revisit it! If Security greet us with smiles, give us a Cleaner’s pass so we can get in every door, and also the roof key. We know we dun gud! Then, if we walk into an office, get greeted by the staff in there, sat down and given a cuppa we know we did even better! I revisited one office block we’d fitted out and found three different gangs of tradesmen already there and getting fussed over!
The more good work you do, the better your reputation with your employer. The better your reputation the more likely you are to get salary increases and promotions. The same applies to your reputation with Agencies if you are working freelance or sub-contracting. Get your CV to reflect this and the Agency will pass it on!
In the building game each and every one of us has a role and, if someone has qualities of leadership on a project, we will all be working together as part of a team. We all have a vital role to play on the job! Yours might be as to wander round as the P.M. wearing a suit and tie and looking important, or it might be as the Site Labourer, looking after the Welfare Facilities. Ever noticed how the Site Labourer is treated with courtesy and respect if the site toilets are kept clean and don’t stink all day?
One very important thing to know is what you don’t know! That doesn’t mean what a girl spluttered to me about once! She demanded to know how she could possibly know A-Level stuff when she was only doing her GCSE’s! It means be aware of the limits of your knowledge and be willing to learn! Be willing to improve yourself and you’re likely to be a person who takes pride in their work!
The other side of that is to know what you do actually know! We all have different experiences which can give us specialised knowledge. This can be very different to anyone else’s on the project, so we have to be willing to share it when it is needed. That isn’t always easy for many people because of modesty and even shyness. An example of this is shown by something I have done often in days gone by. We have had Site Meetings with the Architects, Engineers and Consultants there. A problem on the job hasn’t seen any sensible solutions being offered, so I’ve asked the senior skilled tradesman to come and join us. He was usually pretty withdrawn and had to be coaxed to speak. When he did we usually got the answer from him! The reality is that he had greater specialised technical knowledge of his field than any of us! Often that didn’t go down too well with the “professionals”! Quite flattened their egos with their “It took me seven years to qualify and get where I am today!” The fellow with the dirty finger nails took 30 years to get where he was! Of course he had loads of specialised knowledge!
Then we have to build trust amongst ourselves, the project team. Build that trust and we all feel a sense of confidence in each other which, all by itself, gives us a sense of pride in our work! It also makes it a pleasure to arrive on site every morning! We know we are going to spend our day with mates and we want to leave something good behind us! We know our roles and we know each other’s valuable experiences!
Then we have to be realistic about what can be completed and when. Our work places for commercial contracts are filled with political agendas, resource issues, delayed decisions and many other frustrations. In this environment we have to stay true to what we can complete and how and when we do it! If we work with pride we manage to get all these factors to fall into place and, eventually, everything gets sorted out! We finish on time, to standards and to budget!
If we take pride in our work then the work place becomes a far better place to be. Money isn’t the only determining factor of our work. There has to be a bigger factor to make us enjoy being at work! I reckon that is taking pride in what we do, whether it is a house or a cathedral!