The words of a marriage vow may or may not be familiar to you.

(I, ______, take you, ______, to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.)

In a much different place, with emotional and spiritual maturity, when remarrying after a failed first marriage and before taking my vows a second time around, I chose to invest in time and resources to validate compatibility to stand the test of time. Dating, counseling, and a lot more clarification took place as the word “vow” was not just a word and carried the wounds from a divorce. It prepared my new husband and me not only for the worse days—financial challenges and health battles—but also for those days when love was a more general love of mankind and far from passionate. It gave us mutual respect and the ability to rekindle after a challenge. Neither of us took the commitment lightly, as we both knew the pain of a failed marriage. Now, twenty years later, we are thankful we did.

The workplace, although not a romantic relationship, is a marriage of sorts (union, commitment, mutual agreement) and can be looked at similarly when selecting a match. The more you know about the company, company culture, and team you are committing to, the better your chance of preparing yourself for the ups and downs and achieving a longer union together. Coaching before making a career move can also help you resolve any regrets you have with past employment choices or misnomers you have of industry choices. This helps for an emotional reset and a new perspective when your mind flows with negative thoughts you need to capture.

So often, just as with marriage, because of fear of rejection or dissolution, the choice is made to resign instead of having a conversation to see if a rekindling or solution is available right where you are. We like to say if it is something you can achieve right where you are, it is a conversation before a resignation. If you take time to communicate for clarity instead of assuming in fear, you will keep the respect of your current team even if it is time to move on. Those people are the references that continue to help you achieve your career goals future.

Indeed has an article on their career guide called 16 Reasons Employees Leave Their Jobs.

Often articles such as the above concern me for our industry as they are written from the perspective of those who work in editorial roles, and if done with survey data, they are about mainstream workplaces and not specific to the nuances of our industry. Just in the title alone, it states, “16 Reasons Employees Leave,” then it opens to a bold common reason followed by the broad statement of “These are the top reasons employees decide to quit their jobs.”

My perspective is much different with our industry. What are you not achieving?

Let’s process it as if we are building a project. How would you go about solving it? It probably would not be to quit unless you at least tried to fix it first. The next few blogs will tackle the list and give you suggestions to work through the process of deciding to rekindle or date again to find the right career match.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to cover the list and give you tips on how to determine if the feelings or situation is temporary—and you can rekindle right where you are—or if it is time to systematically make your next career move.

Number one on Indeed’s list is needing more challenge. Unless you are just entering a career in construction management and have not been given opportunities or have been working in an extremely limited discipline (division specific or repeat-project specific) in the industry for many years, then challenge should never be your issue. There is challenge just in getting better at what you do to manage people, projects, and risks associated with the industry and the representation you bring for your employer by doing so. Every project is different in some way, shape, or form. Even if you are building two ground-up McDonald’s, they are on two different pieces of dirt and require you not to assume everything is the same.

Project teams, technology, project consultants, governmental regulations, product specifications, and so much more are ever changing and evolving with time in construction.

Another way challenge happens in the industry is with the delivery of a project ahead of anticipated schedule, with cost savings to the owner without sacrificing quality and relationships along the way.

Construction professionals are more likely to transition from a company because of inappropriate challenges than lack of challenge in their role. Those improprieties might be an employer who has failed policies, limited resources, or insubordinate staff and is unwilling to provide solutions, preventing your success on projects.

If you are seeking more challenge with your current employer, seek to first align yourself with the expectations your employer may have for the responsibilities you already have by answering these questions.

  1. Do you take ownership and responsibility for the work, tasks, and relationships you are currently responsible for managing?
  2. If you answered yes, are they your beliefs, or do your associates concur with verbal or written affirmation?
  3. Have you proven this ownership and responsibility for the duration of a minimum of one full project cycle and/or a full calendar year with the company?
  4. Have you been offered other responsibilities and gladly taken them on?

If you can’t satisfy your need for more challenge right where you are and answered yes to all the questions above, then it’s time to plan your next career move. First is to align with your personal life and goals. Next is to make sure you take into consideration the timing to leave your current opportunity, taking into consideration the stage of your project assignments and the others at the company who have aided in your success thus far. Third is to reach out for help if you need someone to assist in the process.

A career in construction can be challenging, so if you are not feeling challenged, it’s definitely time for you to speak up. The ability to solve challenges is what keeps you on your game in construction. A tool you need to keep sharpened.

Next week we will take on #2—Looking for a Higher Salary.

To Your Next Challenge,

Suzanne Breistol

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