Sitting in my backyard—enjoying the 75°F mid-November clear sky—makes the social media posts from family and friends of their recent snowfalls seem surreal. Having spent my first twenty-five years of life in the harsh New England winters, I can’t imagine living there full-time again. This is similar to the many people who prefer the drastic changes of season and don’t know how we survive the heat for the majority of the year.

We often interview candidates that did make the move to Florida strictly to escape the winter weather. They chose to move here because they did not like the cold. Many of them have physically moved here yet they haven’t moved on emotionally to embrace the differences between working in Florida and whatever state they relocated from. They communicate how much better they like building in their previous home state verses Florida.

From an employment prospective, a person’s ability to embrace the differences of a new environment allows that person to fully open their minds to tackle new challenges and succeed. When they don’t embrace the differences, it is much the same as when someone divorces their spouse—marries someone new—and then proceeds to talk about how great their life was in their previous marriage.

Skill can be taught. Attitude and aptitude can’t be.

You elected to embrace the new challenges and differences when you chose to accept your job. If you are coming to a metropolitan area from a rural area that doesn’t have the regulatory and building compliances, you may find the ramp up more challenging than you expected. Your aptitude may be affected by the different foundational characteristics you have developed in your career to date.

My daughter recently had to start level one Spanish classes again as she had been exposed to the basics of Spanish and knows some words yet did not have the foundational baseline to be able to make the leap into level two Spanish. She had to start in level one again to get the knowledge she needs to excel with advanced expectations.

If your degree is in Construction Management but you worked in a small town doing mostly remodeling for the past decade, a transition to a metropolitan region may be more difficult than you had previously thought. It will be a totally different job in many larger regions requiring time for transition to learn the differences.

Construction management professionals coming to Florida from Union states often complain about the quality of our trades and the quality of the work performed. Although valid in some cases, this certainly does not hold true in all. Many of our tradesman are union trained themselves and have since relocated here. However, there is some truth in that ensuring the quality of work here might be more difficult than in a union state. This may be due to your job here not including a budget for on site management of various sub-contractors which would result in you having to take on additional supervisory responsibilities and trade knowledge to be successful.

There are vast differences from one city to the next. Anyone that is new to an area has a learning curve and a liking curve. The liking curve is how much you like where you work and reside. The correlation between learning and liking is your acceptance of the training to overcome the differences between what you already know and need to know to be as equally effective in your new environment.

Your employer and co-workers are looking for you to master the learning curve and embrace them and your new opportunity. Whether you moved for weather or not. Be ready for new essentials to conquer.

Weather or not, are you up for the challenge?

Suzanne Breistol


THE DIFFERENCE MAKER:  Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset

  • David

    Great article Suzanne. I have had the pleasure of working in several different states including historical work in Charleston, SC, mid size cities and metropolitan areas such as Raleigh, Denver, Fort Worth and Dallas. Embracing the local and project challenges are very important. Attitude is a huge factor, and wherever you go, people do not typically want to here, “well in… we did it this way…” Many people are proud of their community or region and do not want to hear how you used to do it somewhere else in a different circumstance. The other side of that is many times there really is a better way to approach a challenge, and the local people should be open to any positive approach or solution that brings value to the project or the operation. An exchange of ideas and experiences is a great thing among open minded individuals. The question is, can you adapt and make things happen or not? Past experience is great and it is great to bring in an outside approach in some circumstances, but not always.

  • Suzanne M. Breistol

    David, thank you for your insight on the article and your personal thoughts and experiences. I could not agree with you more. We appreciate you and the others that serve so with the right attitude in our industry. Best Always, Suzanne

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