Are we? That first place was definitely a surprise because wandering around a site we usually see a lot of scowls and long faces! Then it occurs to me that it might actually be a good thing. Do that in an office or on a factory floor and we could be in trouble. Disrespectful; insulting to the Boss; HR involved; lousy reference after lives made so miserable we had to quit.
After a little bit of thinking, I realized that there actually are some reasons for people working in construction to smile and feel satisfied with what they are doing. In a nutshell, those reasons could be summarized to the following:
More sincere communication between all the employees
I have quite a few examples in mind, where a rude, aggressive worker would disagree in a pretty intense way with me for the way a task was designed. Instead of firing them on the spot for using strong language or shouting I’ve usually invited them to explain the problem. This sincere exchange of opinions creates a stronger connection between all the people who work on site. Picture it like a big fat family with its good and bad moments.
Everyone can have a saying on the project
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that it’s a good idea to have anyone deciding about everything. But, it’s highly advisable to give everyone the chance to make suggestions and offering his own perspective on the different tasks. Embarrassingly for all us certificated construction professionals, the rude gentleman accosting me is so often right and his suggestions as to improving buildability and function are spot on (respect the trades!).
I tell him to go ahead and advise all the others as to the pending changes. This fact can be a strong motivation for anyone involved in the project to perform at his very best.
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Construction is a place where you are “allowed” to make a difference
As a continuation of my previous point, this rude guy that saw his suggestion to be welcomed can go home to his wife and tell her about how he made a difference. He can also pass by that project for years and take satisfaction in the fact that he made a serious improvement to it. That would be a very rare thing to happen in an office or factory.
Construction is all about team work
For a construction project to be successfully carried out a lot of team work is required. In other words, it’s a continuous process during which many different personalities and mindsets come together in order to create something timeless. In that sense, what the guy of my example achieve above was to be recognized as a valuable member of his team. This element adds extra value on what he achieved that day simply by being a little rude towards me.
I know that many people out there perceive construction as pretty monotonous industry but that’s not true. Putting together a magnificent project from scratch is truly remarkable. In order to accomplish that, it takes more than just being a handyman. In any case, the feeling that you can get when a construction project is finished is without doubt special. You are automatically part of something bigger, that managed to overcome many natural obstacles and limitations.
There’s always room for some fun
Safety should always be the number one priority on a construction site. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no space for fun at the right moments. People working in construction are most of the times pretty open to jokes and pranks and that’s very essential when you have to spend daily a fair amount of hours on the same place with another person.
It’s pretty obvious, then, that construction workers have many reasons to feel satisfied with their work. No doubt there’s still room for tons of improvement, but everything can eventually be solved when there’s a positive attitude.