It Isn't Easy Being Green

Kermit the Frog was right...."It's not easy being green". 


Every one of us was "green" to some degree when we got started in this industry. Fresh out of school, wide eyed, bushy tailed, excited, nervous, unsure what to expect. But hey - we were armed with our education, job offers, our hard hats on, steel toes laced up, and drafting machines squared up, as we entered into our respective architectural, engineering, and construction fields. Ready to conquer the world as they say right!?

Then BAM! There we were...dropped into in the real world...smacked in the face with reality....and on our own to navigate the ever changing world that is the AECO world.   


So, what drove this topic you may ask? 


Well, since my last post, I've had the pleasure of talking with several young professionals within CSI and the AECO realm about what is important to them just starting out in this industry. It was a mix of some close to entering the industry, some having just entered, and some with a few years’ experience. All of them shared their thirst for guidance in "learning the ropes" as they often say, so they can be impactful in their careers . 


So with that in mind, I took some time to look back on: how I felt when I first got started,  the struggles I encountered, the lessons learned from those struggles, and how they helped shape where I find myself now - which in 2024 will mark 30 years in this industry. 


What could I take from all that time and experience and give them now - in hopes it makes that transition from "green" just a little easier. So... reflecting on Mark Matteson and his talk at the CSI National Conference...I thought about "What I would tell my younger self", who was just starting out in the AECO world:

  • It's OK to fail - it is the only way you learn.  "The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything" (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • Be passionate about your work and have a work ethic, but take care of yourself. Don't focus so much on making a living that you forget to make a life. Your family will thank you.  
  • Invest professionally in yourself, continue to build your skillset through learning opportunities and education. "A wise man knows his ignorance; a fool thinks he knows everything" (Unknown)
  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Be a sponge, absorb all they have to offer, ask questions. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. 
  • Act ethically, deliver with integrity, quality, and authenticity. "When someone else toots your horn - it travels twice as far". (Mark Matteson)
  • Absolutely NOTHING we do in this business is worth getting hurt. Act safely. Safety is everyone's job, if you see something say something. The life you save may just be your own.
  • Spend time "in the field" - nothing beats seeing construction up front and personal. 
  • Seek out a mentor. Seek mentoring opportunities. 

No matter what, everything is easier said than done - including everything above. But one thing is for sure...it isn’t easy being green! 


So, what would you say to your younger self when just getting into the AECO world?  


- Till next time, 

Mark 

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Friday, 23 February 2024