I saw a broadcast following the Tampa Bay Superbowl win that discussed the relationship between Buccaneer teammates Gronkowski and Brady.  The commentator noted that Gronkowski made a point to say that he and Brady celebrate the Superbowl wins together, but nevertheless live very different lives outside of football.  Brady lives on a strict health and wellness routine and goes home to his wife and school age children after work.  Gronkowski is unmarried and likes being out on the town after work.

An article about the two of them in US Magazine captured the esteem they share for each other despite spending so little time together outside work. Gronkowski spoke of Brady in glowing terms: “Just the way he prepares. His work ethic, the way he’s just still going at his age,” he said at the time. “Just still has a competitiveness to him every single time he steps out on the field. It’s obviously an honor to be next to a quarterback like that in the huddle and it’s really basically how he brings it every single day, no matter what kind of day it is.”  Their twelve-year age difference doesn’t make a difference at all in the workplace, and age typically won’t in that circumstance as long as both parties do not let their lifestyle inordinately affect their work.

Even though a football career is much different from a Construction Management career, there are many similarities. One similarity is that one’s age and lifestyle only matter in the workplace if you or your co-worker make a social relationship an expectation for success in the workplace.  Often in construction, we see individuals getting and keeping jobs because of their comradery and not because they are the best candidate.  In professional football, if a player’s performance is lacking, he will be traded or retired out. Success should always outweigh comradery.

The salaries in construction management do not afford most construction managers the opportunity to retire at a young age.  According to the NFL, the average age of retirement for professional football is 35. The average retirement age for construction workers is 61, and even greater for construction managers, who often do not take full retirement until the maximum social security benefit kicks in at age 67.  Construction managers, regardless of their age, are expected to stay on their game.  This is where age does matter, because the older you are the higher the expectation for constructability, reliability and communication.  When someone is younger, we can say when their performance is off that they might not know better.  As a construction manager ages, this excuse will no longer be accepted.

Even if a construction manager changes his role within the industry, the expectations for what is required do not diminish with age.  The job needs to get done and there are standards to be met, both in performance and profitability.  Consequently, you might accept a job that pays less in construction thinking you can slack off, only to be reprimanded or let go because your co-workers and employer expected more, not less, from you.  They have a job that needs to be done.  You job security will be judged on your ability to meet the expectations of the job.

If you are doing your job well, you will be respected and esteemed by your teammates.  Here is how to do that:

  1. Understand the Expectations of Your Job
  2. Do Your best to Perform to those Expectations
  3. Don’t let your Personal Life Interfere with your Job Performance
  4. Be a Realist

It’s rare for construction managers to get interviewed by a reporter about their relationships with their teammates like you see sports professionals having to do after every game, win or loss. If you had to or if your teammates had to do so, what would be said. Are you leading by example in the workplace and setting an example for the others on the team? Young professional in the workplace or seasoned executive is your head and heart fully in the game?  If so, what you chose to do off the field or how old your teammates are doesn’t really matter.  It’s your commitment to the game rain or shine and making consistent right plays for your teammates and the company for which you are employed by.

To Your Workplace Superbowl Win,

Suzanne Breistol


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