Dying to Work

This is one of those moments captured on a jobsite that, at least for me, aside from a chuckle, gives appreciation for the trades and what they have to do to put work in place.

I got to thinking about what someone not in the industry would think if they walked onto this scene: caution tape and two men lying on the floor.

We can’t see the activity around the men, so we don’t know if that would have eased or added to initial wonder—and possibly alarm—for the workers’ well-being.

Transitioning to a New Market Segment in Construction Management

This week, I received a call from a professional carpenter working as a sub to a subcontractor. Although his annual gross income might have seemed excellent at the six-figure range because of his reliability, extra hours, and talent, he was calling for advice as his earnings and learning were capped. Despite loving his craft, he was unable to advance his career. Ideally, he would like to be a foreman with competitive pay and benefits, although the opportunity to take on new challenges was what brought out the excitement in his voice. He dreamed of someday advancing on the field supervision career path. He just didn’t know how to get there. He was dying to work at a higher level of his profession.

Often we receive calls from those in the industry—superintendent to CEO—who chose to retire and now want back in the business. They are open to take on any role. They are dying to work.

I met with a construction management professional who had been unemployed for a year because of their own resignation. Their proficiency was obvious, and they could bring value to a company if they took a position in their capacity—only they didn’t want to do that anymore. Yet, they were dying to work.

Weekly I meet with candidates working in architecture, engineering, and specialty contracting who want to work on the full-division, general-contracting side. They are dying to work in a different market segment of the business.

Most employers I meet are hiring right now, and they are looking for those dying to work. So why are the above candidates and many others unable to get the opportunities they desire?

End Goals and Expectations in Construction Management Jobs

Employers can’t hire someone just because that person wants the role or title; many factors go into a hiring manager’s decision to offer the job. If someone is coming into the job from a company structured vastly different from the company they want to work for, it presents risks: their perception may not match reality; the job or title they desire might not be what they envision; others in the workplace might not offer the support they need to be successful. Yes, some candidates transition well; others do not. The transition’s success depends on the candidate’s authenticity as to why they want the opportunity and the employer’s ability to target a candidate who can perform the job as well as needed, blend with the work family, and keep and build a foundation for advancement with time.

What are three main questions that should be asked

  • internally by candidates before interviewing; and
  • by hiring managers to candidates to eliminate risk with those not coming directly from a competitor or who want to change roles within their careers?

1. Why do you want to work in this particular market/employment segment of the business?

  • What do you know about it?
  • Who do you know that works in it?
  • How well do you know their background and responsibilities?
  • Do you know what will make you successful in this role?

2. Are you focused on achieving a title?

  • Does title matter to you as much as compensation and responsibility?
  • Are you competing against others or the clock?
  • Do you understand the responsibility that might come with the title outside of the experience you have had to date?

3. What is your end goal for this opportunity?

Are you looking for a stepping-stone to an expedited title or monetary gain? If so,

  • Do you know what you don’t know (company, industry, market segment, skillset, etc.)?
  • Do you know how knowledge is developed (GC side can be years for certain roles)?

Often individuals want to make a change because of how they feel at their current organization—trapped, unappreciated, undercompensated, etc. Their frustration grows when they try to escape, thinking it is all the company and the job they are in. The same thing happens when employers keep trying different types of candidates to achieve the goals for that role.

Successful Matches in Construction Management Careers

Successful matches come when both sides are genuine to the who, what, where, when, and why and can clearly articulate this to the other party to align initial expectations and foster mutual loyalty. The ability to document those initial expectations and commitments can be useful when circumstances ignite opposition.

Success comes when both sides recognize that timing and other factors outside of either party’s control can force unexpected change—both sides need to be patient through the change. A great example of this was during Covid when people’s jobs changed as companies worked through their modifications. Many employees, instead of being thankful they had a job, resigned because they did not like their job circumstances, only to find if they had hung in there, they would be advanced in their careers today.

Are you dying to work doing something else for someone else, or maybe just to stay busy, or because you need a paycheck? Do you know the “why” and “what” that will get you there and offer both stability and advancement with time?

Discover the genuine you (insert coupon on book) and go from dying to work to thriving at work!

“Your worst battle is between what you know and what you feel”—Allcupation


Are your feelings in line with the reality of the job and the expectations associated with it?

To Being Alive and Working,

Suzanne Breistol


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