Is It a Job or a Career?

How to Advance Your Career in Construction Management

When you hear the word job or hear a person ask, “How is your job going?” what do you think? What do you hear? What do you feel?

If you look up the definition of the word “job” in the dictionary, you see:

  • A paid position of regular employment.

Example: a full-time or part-time job.

  • A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.

Example: She wants to be left alone to get on with the job.

Now think about what you hear and feel when you hear the word career. The dictionary describes the word “career” as an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress. Example: He seemed destined for a career as an engineer or a contractor like his father.

Looking online at other sources, you will see the word career described as an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training and followed as one’s lifework.

Profession is the other term used in the workplace, yet you would not ask someone, “How is your profession going?” Profession, although comprising of synonyms inclusive of career, occupation, job, work, etc., is typically applied when spoken in conjunction with a specific field of study applied to the work, and specific continuing education tied to licensing is often required to remain within that profession. You could say someone is in the legal profession, the teaching profession, or even the general contracting profession, yet it’s a bit formal and awkward, and if you were to ask, “How is your ___________ profession going?” the other party could say good without you possibly even knowing what they did within that field.

After all, a profession can be a big bucket of specialties. A profession can also be developed within a multitude of industries. For instance, you can have a professional engineer specializing in mechanical engineering, yet their work experience could be in manufacturing or building construction. If the engineer’s manufacturing experience is with a Carrier corporation or a Trane corporation, they could build on that experience in a mechanical contract or construction management/general contractor career. Yet if their manufacturing experience was with a car manufacturer, then joining a mechanical or general contractor would most likely require learning a new career, with little from the car manufacturing world technically carrying over to building construction, despite how elevated their soft skills were.

How to Maximize Your Construction Management Career

How do you assemble your past work experiences, education, training, and personal preferences to maximize a career in construction management that you can continue to advance within?

Recognize that Construction Management is a big bucket of a multitude of careers under the same or similar titles and worded responsibilities.

A project manager who works for a production home builder such as PulteGroup, Lennar, or D.R. Horton works within a different business model, policies, processes, and responsibilities than a project manager working for a third-party general contractor building multi-family homes on an AIA contract standard or a luxury, custom home builder on a time and materials single-contract business model. Yes, the general components of the project itself are similar; the process and expectations around your career are vastly different. Your experience may not cross over from one to the other. It could be like starting a whole new career, both in pay and learning curve, if you make the change.

Who You Know is as Important as What You Know

Building and maintaining relationships in any business is important, especially in the construction industry. Few, if any, jobs within the industry do not require collaboration. In addition to collaborating to perform your daily tasks, effectively building your career in the industry requires expertise learned on the job and the ability to teach and coach others. Companies can only grow when each individual is growing in their respective job within the company, which most often opens opportunities for the individual themselves to advance their career.

Whether you want to build on your career within the organization you work for or by moving to another company, references from those you work with or for are invaluable in helping you get there. Could you provide a list of names of people you have worked directly for or with who could spontaneously be called upon to share what you took responsibility for, their appreciation of your ownership of those responsibilities, and the business relationship they developed with you?

Do You Know What Your Career Today Adds Up to and How to Continue to Build on It?

Successful construction management professionals want to be in control of their careers. In order to establish control of your career, your mindset must first think beyond a job to building a career. Career-minded construction managers are aware of industry choices and can gain career achievement by defining and conquering roadblocks preventing them from taking control of their careers.

What is a Jobber?

A jobber is a person who goes from job to job, and those jobs do not add up to establishing a career. They may be interesting and fun but ultimately provide a paycheck. A jobber is the opposite of a career-minded professional. A career professional focuses on developing hard and soft skill credentials and relationships within the company. They focus on owning the responsibility within the job assigned to them and increasing their knowledge and responsibilities, which often leads to increased pay. It always leads to transferable skills. You can work within construction management and be a jobber because of your jobber mindset and lack of clear direction, which often leads to more frequent terminations than you desire.

Your career is part of your life. Don’t just let it happen. Being less informed can lead to regret and unfulfillment. You should feel in control of your career and not just be doing time in a job.

Do you have a career mindset? What are you waiting for? Go from Passenger to Pilot of Your Career.

To Making It Happen,

Suzanne Breistol

Text or Call 305-361-0094



Leave a reply

Your email addres will not be published.
Required fields are marked with

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.