Many states and provinces, supported by industry groups and associations, have mounted campaigns to encourage young people to consider construction careers. This image is from The Building Industry Workforce Development Initiative in California. While I agree it is good to encourage young people to consider construction careers, I hope the current downturn won't turn into another example of why many people choose alternatives -- of course, 'hard times' are not really a problem for the people who really want to do the work -- and are really good at it.
In 1988, at age 35, I became a publisher -- combining my passion for journalism with business. It proved to be the right career choice. Through ups and downs, good times and bad, lucrative and struggling years, I've always enjoyed this work enough to carry on, to continue, to take the hits and surprises, and painful moments and risks.
So, when I go out and interview successful construction company owners, what do I find?
Me. . .
Well, not exactly -- you wouldn't want me running a construction project! But I see the same passion and enjoyment in the work; the same inner joy in the career choice.
The reason is that if you are as fortunate as I am -- and you are if you are among the construction business owners who have built successful enterprises through their enjoyment of their work, and skill in their trades and business -- you get to wake up most mornings looking forward to your day at work.
Those of us running businesses know that the creativity required for successful business is just as great (if not greater) than the artist, novel writer, or musician. We need to juggle many different elements -- connecting ideas, individuals, and insights in a constantly changing environment.
If you aren't happy in your work, if you are doing it "for the money" or because "I'm expected to do it" or "I don't know anything else but it is where I am", stop, think, deliberate, and then when you are ready, take the jump and make the change. (I am not advocating doing this blindly or without respect for your family or other obligations; you may also need to spend some time learning the skills before making the change, but you should still do it.)