This is the time of year when you pass by condos and houses throughout South Florida and see all the hurricane shutters closed. The snowbirds and those that think the Florida summers are way too hot head off to other states.

If you look at the national temperatures in July, which by average, is the hottest month of the year, Arizona and Nevada have Miami beat by over 10 degrees. Upstate New York is still 80 by day, and the Miami average July low is 78. Yes, they argue a different heat as less humidity, yet I can’t remember a time living in South Florida that we didn’t have a breeze.


Finding the Right Fit: Work Preferences in Construction Management

The roofers are the ones to give appreciation to when it comes to doing their jobs in record high temperatures. Lots of year-round work and the ability to acclimate to the heat are most likely two factors why they choose to work in Florida, even if their preference would be a cooler environment.

Everybody has preferences—those things they prefer despite the timing and availability of them being a reality in the present. A person’s work preferences in construction management are things like:

  • Do you prefer jobsite, office, or a combination of?
  • Do you prefer working alone or in a team?
  • Do you prefer travel or no travel?
  • Do you prefer a more corporate or small-business environment?
  • Do you prefer high-rise to low-rise or infrastructure?
  • Do you prefer commercial or residential, and what are your preferences within that?

Depending on the role you are interviewing for, there may not be a choice. For instance, a construction superintendent cannot choose to be corporate-office based and do an effective job managing a jobsite. Those superintendents who tried remote during the pandemic learned that quickly enough. Just like you might have a preference not to travel, yet the company you are currently employed with does projects that require you to travel.


Challenging Assumptions: Assessing Qualifications over Personal Factors in Construction Job Opportunities

In addition to preferences, there are assumptions. Assumptions can be things like:

  • You did not get the job because you were too young or too old.
  • Your co-worker got the promotion because of preferentialism or cronyism.
  • You did not get the opportunity because of your gender, race or other personal factors.
  • The company laid people off because of financial difficulties.

When showing a new employee around the office prior to their start, we could offer a traditional desk in a shared office with windows or an adjustable desk in a larger but open interior area. The employee spoke up right away and said, “I don’t mind sharing an office and much prefer to have a window.” They also commented that they had never worked at a stand-up desk.

If the employee answered, “I don’t really care which office,” and they had a preference, but we chose the wrong one, then a myriad of situations could have played out with time. Those situations can consciously or subconsciously lead to relationship and performance issues. Why? Because the employee’s inability to communicate their preferences when clearly offered a choice could be a sign of their inability to speak up for their needs in general.


Overcoming Age Discrimination in Construction Management

Recently, we had an individual well past social security eligibility who did not get a job opportunity. In follow-up, they assumed it was because of their age. It was not at all, as we would not have known he was the age he was; physically, mentally, and technologically, he was sharp. Despite his age being a possible factor, he did not have the degree of experience required for the current opening within his market segment of expertise and his compensation requirements. I clearly articulated and demonstrated the differences.

You would be surprised how many people in our industry are still working well past defined retirement age—not because they have to but because they love to and are physically and mentally sharper than others more junior than them. When senior candidates bring an attitude to not only do the job they are hired to do but mentor others with their years of experience, it is invaluable to the succession of the company and our industry itself.


The Importance of Effective Communication in Construction Management

When it comes to your career, both your preferences and assumptions become choices toward your attitude and speaking your genuinity and the truth moving forward. Timing and delivery are key. An example is when someone asks you if what they are wearing is too wrinkled, and you say, “No, it looks fine,” when you know it doesn’t. They then get informed by another person that their clothing needs to be ironed. You chose to let the situation slide, whether in fear or indifference. The only problem is if you have a conscience, then you most likely second-guessed yourself and let them out the door that way. Even if you didn’t, that person most likely has devalued your opinion in the future, no matter how insignificant an un-ironed piece of clothing seems to be. It wasn’t about the clothing. It was about your ability to communicate genuinely with the other person for relationship.

Asking a question like “Do you have something to wear that is pressed?” or “How formal is the occasion?” will allow the person to make their own decision without you slighting them in any way.

Every day in the workplace, your ability to communicate your preferences and not make assumptions about things you do not have enough information about or only secondhand information for matters for both your success and the success of those around you. Asking questions is the best way to verify and not resume or assume forward.

Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster and advisor to the Queen of England, said, “Moral choices do not depend on personal preference and private decision but on right reason and, I would add, divine order.”

Do you manage your preferences and verify your assumptions to further your success? If you do, you might find it’s the right temperature, and you are aging to perfection.

To Satisfying Your Preferences Without Assumption,

Suzanne Breistol




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