Boots or Suits

Or should it be suits in boots? The only time you see a suit on a construction site is when there is a visit by the client and then only if they are bringing along someone from the bank. This was a common site in the heady days of mezzanine financing, sales off the plan and the general white shoe samba seen in many Australian CBDs. Traditionally we had blue collar workers, who did the real work, and white collar staff who mainly argued about contracts and dollars.
One of my standard questions when interviewing younger staff is to ask them who is the most important person on the project. Standard answers range from the obsequious “You are Mr gerrydir”, through “The Architect”, “The Client” etc. I then tell him it is the person with the hammer in his hand and our job is to make sure we give him the nails to hammer into the timber we provide, bought at the right price and delivered at the correct time. These young future project mangers look at me in disbelief. Especially as their background and sense of entitlement is a million miles from that guy with the hammer in his hand. They are the fruit of private school and university education who chose a construction degree because a) they like construction or b) their OP was so low it was the only course available to them. You can ponder and decide which one for yourselves.

But, I have been fortunate to have spent equal amount of time in the boots on site and in the suit in the CBD tower. I now have to choose one or the other. In the past it was easy as if you are a competent boots and all PM the sooner you get your project completed and handed over, the sooner you are looking for a new project. Whereas in the suit situation your career longevity is determined by how you fit in to the bloody organization and where there are more reptiles than Sydney Zoo.

So all will be revealed and the choice of suit or boot is immenent – watch this space

Published by

Gerry Keating

Construction Professional

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