Welcome to Space4Careers

Welcome to Space4Careers, the blog of the Centre for Career & Personal Development at Canterbury Christ Church University. This blog does what it says on the tin, it provides an opportunity for anyone who is interested in all aspects of careers work to find a little bit of space in their busy lives to think about current issues and trends. If you like or dislike, agree or disagree with what you see, please respond and let us have your views. We'd love to hear from you.

Please note, the content of this blog represents the views of the individual blogger, not those of

Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Building (successful) careers on the building site

We have the builders in at the moment – three of them.  Chatting to them about the effects of the recession on the construction industry, I learn that in their own personal worlds, everything is just hunky dory and each one is still inundated with work.  So how is it, I wondered, that these three are managing to do so well in an industry that is otherwise suffering?  What do they have in common that is making them successful at a difficult time for the industry?

First we have Mark.  He qualified as a carpenter 30 years ago but has experience in many areas of construction.  Over the years he has taken the initiative to qualify as a plumber, roofer and most recently as an electrician.  He said he hated the ‘college’ work but recognised that the more qualified he was the more work he could attract and many people liked the fact that they can call on one person for a whole range of work.  He takes a real pride in his wide range of skill and expertise and admits he lives for his work.

Secondly there is Jason, the brickie.  He is very different from Mark in that he has no interest in doing anything apart from being a brickie.  He gets satisfaction from getting every brick just right and likes to work in silence doing just that.  He says that bricklaying is his day job but his real life starts at 4pm after work.  In this ‘real life’ he is involved in a lot of charity events and in a range of fitness sports. It is these rather than his job that he lives for.

Finally there is Joe.  Joe is a brickie’s labourer. He is chatty and cheerful and very willing.  Joe cannot read and write well but he is a big guy who can lift a steel beam in one hand.  He spends some of his free time body building, for as he says, it is his strength that he has to offer so he makes sure his body is well looked after.

So what have they got in common that makes them all so successful despite their very obvious differences? Four things I think:

• Fantastic work ethic - they all turn up at 7am on the dot and they work solidly all day with a few short breaks.

• Flexibility - with Mark and Jason labouring alongside Joe if necessary.

• Networking - regular short calls to friends working in the industry, discussing jobs, time-scales and possible opportunities.

• Recognition of their personal selling points - and making the most of them.

They seem to have success sorted ........
Barbara Shottin


  1. Thanks Barbara - this is a lovely vingette of career managment in action. It would make a really useful case study for young people

  2. For me it also touches on the notion of career fitting into life, rather than the other way round - particularly the glimpse of what is important outside of the day job.

  3. A very positive story and a good example of how if you are organised, reliable, efficient, and good at what you do you stand a better chance of succeeding - in and out of a recession. I am enjoying this new blog - an excellent way of keeping in touch with what's going on!
    Thank you.
    Jan Rowan
    Careers Adviser
    University for the Creative Arts