Tony, Michelle, Russ, Dom, Kathy, Jesus … and so many more construction management, administrative and accounting professionals come to mind who were smart enough to look at overall opportunity instead of chasing the highest offer right out of the gate. They were able to justify their asking price, and discuss the career path and monetary accompaniment with performance. In addition, they understood the value of being able to mediate with an employer that was taking time to conduct a mutual interview process. These individuals selected their next career home with confidence not only in their own abilities, but also with belief in the people behind the chosen company. They recognized the opportunity would not only pay off monetarily, but also would provide an avenue to build future relationships and skills they could take with them throughout their career.
It’s important to point out that none of these industry professionals asked to be VP, COO, controller, project executive, director, etc. Rather, they advanced their careers through personal growth and by deepening their relationships with their employers. Also, all of these individuals built impressive resumes, allowing them greater choices in their career decisions and the ability to “pay it forward” with others that get hired in by them.
Law 11 in John Maxwell’s book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” is The Law of Trade-offs: You Have to Give Up to Go Up. The author speaks to four trade-offs that are worth making:
- Financial security for a potential tomorrow
- Giving up immediate gratification for personal growth
- Willingness to give up the fast life for the good life
- Giving up security for significance
He goes onto say, “as important as trade-offs is knowing what you are not willing to trade-off.”
What are some things you might trade-off with construction employment that will pay off for your career in the long run? Here are some possible answers:
- Per diem to be able to stay local
- A title to gain experience (e.g., going from project manager to assistant project manager for the opportunity to build projects of larger scope and scale than you previously managed)
- Corporate culture or benefits to gain responsibility
- A pay reduction to work from home or a more convenient office schedule
- Bonus for profit sharing
- A vehicle for auto allowance
- Your W-2 job to start or partner in a business
Here are some items you may not be willing to trade-off on:
- Commute or travel that might affect your family time
- Health benefits due to cost or a preexisting condition
- Working nights and weekends despite opportunity or pay
- Physical limitations due to health or safety concerns
People have to evaluate their boundaries when entering into a new relationship, which includes when to make a career move. Knowing your “no compromise” areas—and having honest discussions about overall expectations, responsibilities and communication—will allow you to measure these factors against the upside of what you would gain. Mentorships and learning from masters in the business, soft skills, constructability, and administrative process skills are just a few of the unquantifiable things that you can gain in addition to a paycheck, stability, and benefits, but are of extreme value for the greater payoff in the long run.
The proper strategy, knowing your deal breakers and taking certain risks during a career move could not only result in a larger financial payoff in the long run—they might also strengthen your foundation and offer more choices in the future.