The Project Engineer and Assistant Superintendent
Restless Jedis in Training
There is little sense in mastering anything if you have no pupils to impart such wisdom.
Projects large and small are placed in the trusted hands of small core teams to manage cost, schedule and issues. You are a trusted band on a vessel (job site trailer) positioned in harm’s way with one mission…succeed! Half of that team, or more, consists of Project Engineers and Assistant Superintendents who have anywhere from 1-5 years of experience. This article is geared more towards individuals with the 1-3 years’ of experience mark, the “restless years”.
You’ve just come out of trade or just graduated college. You’ve landed an interview and job with a strong construction company or developer and you are already eager for that next step. Hold on, there is much learning to be done.
Take pride in the position you have. Though the titles indicate a more junior status your ability to do your job is pivotal for any project’s success. The best of the best superintendents are still only human and can only be in so many places at once.
Having an “extension” of one’s self is priceless. A team (large or small) of professional young mentees that take their jobs seriously is what brings success to a project. A project engineer that knows facebook is a waste of time ( and life ), one that captures opportunity, one that synchs with the present and one that can visualize what success means to this vessel’s voyage is one that will grow exponentially in their career. SO in the meantime…run the numbers, review the quotes, check the schedule, track the submittals, take quality meeting minutes, estimate whenever you can, walk the field and learn, learn, learn, take the battle from the job trailer door to the structure and support your good leaders tooth and nail.
Nothing will make your Superintendent or Project Manager prouder. It takes up to 4 to 5 years to becomes truly promotable so focus on being the best you can be in this job. Trust me, you will get noticed and your career will blossom don’t be impatient. Listen to those that are trying to coach you. Sometimes their coaching might not be so obvious and the learning will be entirely up to you. Eventually the chaos in learning will calm, your eyes will open and challenges will be fully understood.
I’ve seen this current generation of Project Engineers become so restless. With 2-3 years of experience they are applying to “Director of Construction” and “Owner Rep” positions. Slow down! Master your craft and we will talk. If you feel your growth is stunted where you are then yes, you should move to a place where you can garner as much knowledge as you can. Don’t wait on people to teach you. Get involved, make mistakes and learn. You need to be the person that a Superintendent or Project Manager can trust to do your job well when no one is around.
A pride in your work and personal development IS the FORCE. Restlessness that dilutes your work can lead to the dark side.
I’m always available to chat about career growth and transition. Give me a call.