So many people in this country, as little girls and boys, played with LEGO or other construction kits. We were all about building something lasting and real, using our imaginations to create all manner of buildings, vehicles and fantastical homes.
Years later, many of those same people might have viewed the world of construction as ‘manual labor’, as ‘blue collar’, as ‘less’. They would choose other ways to earn a living, pursuing higher education in the hopes of become ‘more’.
What so many people who used to love building for hours don’t realize is the satisfaction that comes from doing a job where you actually have a tangible result: something real that you can touch and feel, something that makes lives richer and better for others.
Some of the misconceptions about the construction industry
There are so many misconceptions about this industry, but here are you might have come across:
- That construction workers are a group largely made up of unskilled labor — WRONG! Construction includes so many skilled work fields, from engineering to plumbing, electricians to planners. As time goes on, and construction leverages more and more technology to get the job done, the need for skilled employees is only going to grow.
- Construction work is very dangerous — WRONG! That’s not to say that there aren’t risks in construction, and without the proper precautions taken, including safety training, injuries do happen. But companies who engage in any facet of the industry today are aware of the importance of safety and make it a priority.
- Construction is only for men — WRONG! The industry is changing and, in fact, will always benefit by being more diverse in its hiring practices. It’s not about brute strength anymore: it’s about skill, intelligence and pride in work! Of course, the industry can always do more to be inclusive. One Manhattan company has taken a solid step forward in becoming more female friendly by changing all their ‘Men at Work’ signs to ‘Men and Women at Work’.
- Construction is an environmental disaster — WRONG! There are plenty of ecologically sound practices that are incorporated into construction projects, to help ensure that the environmental footprint created is small. Sustainable practices, eco-friendly designs and reduction of impact through leveraging of technology are all ways that the industry is moving forward and evolving.
Success comes in many formats. It’s not because you wear a suit or don’t work with your hands that you are successful. Workers in the construction industry are well paid, in demand and are creating a level of skill that is unparalleled in any other industry.
Heavy equipment operator Eric Borden Pasture Poet wrote the poem “Ditch Diggers” to honor the men and women who work in the construction industry. He puts into powerful words the pride that comes with working in this great industry and calls on those outside of the industry to rethink the misconceptions, like those mentioned above, they might have about it.
At OE Construction, we salute all those men and women who used to be girls and boys, playing construction. They are the foundation of an industry that creates the very world we live in today.
About the author
Terri Olson is an investor and Vice President with OE Construction Corp., a commercial excavation and underground utility contractor. She has worked in the construction industry for over 13 years and brings over 25 years of experience in building and running technology companies. Running a construction company is a lot like a tech company, nothing is ever the same, every day is a new adventure. Her son, Chris Olson, is the founder of OE Construction Corp. and started working in the construction industry in high school. He founded the company at 19 years old and his passion for the people, the equipment, the work and the challenge to excel has kept him going. Chris has brought in new technology over the years and we are now 100% machine control when building large sites and his expertise in working with GPS and drones has taken us to the next level in earthwork, pretty cutting edge and exciting.