It’s a funny thing being thrust from the predominantly female, arguably more selfish and wholly less social industry of HR to the wonderful world that is construction.
And aside from me gaining a stone from the endless eating and drinking, and resisting the daily urge to smack my head off a wall every time I see a new acronym in the footer of an email (you all really love an acronym don’t you?), it’s been a fantastic 6 months.
The sense of welcome and the amiability I felt from my very first day has been absolutely second to none. In past industries that I’ve worked in, if you were to enter into a conversation with someone by saying ‘Hello, I’m going to be honest with you, I am very new and not quite sure what I’m doing!’, you’d most likely be met with either a) a condescending monologue designed to make you feel even more unnerved and out of place than you already did or b) absolutely nothing as they would have walked off the second they realised you weren’t going to instantly benefit them.
On my fourth day of the job, I walked into a networking event in Liverpool not really having a clue what to expect and was suddenly aghast with this foreign feeling of nervousness and….shyness? *cue indistinct sniggering from anyone who’s met me and knows how much I like to talk*
So I walk in and get my name badge and I’m suddenly extremely aware that I’m in a room where I know no one, where people are already huddled in groups exchanging small talk and where I have a very limited knowledge of this vast and multifarious industry.
Do I walk to the bar? Do I circle the room? Do I start collecting glasses and pretend I’m a waitress?
After the longest and most disquieting 22 seconds of my life, someone makes eye contact with me and I let out a ‘Hi!’ so high pitched it was probably inaudible to anyone over the age of 65. Anyway, introductions were made, disclaimers were spoken (me enthusiastically letting this man know how new I am and of my very limited proficiency) and I had officially made a contact in the property and construction world!
My point is that he was willing to spend the time to talk and help and guide. And he was quite an accurate representation of things to come.
It took me a while to get my head around the property food chain and to understand (still not fully there yet) all the tiny niche parts there are to construction. One thing I’ve learnt is that you never know where your next lead or referral can come from and not to dismiss any contact even though they may not seem immediately beneficial to you. I’ve learnt that you can get a similar ‘product’ from a hundred different companies and that in fact people choose to work with people who they like, and probably more importantly who they trust. I’ve learnt that this seemingly massive world of property people is in fact quite fact small and close knit but exceptionally helpful, ridiculously genial and so much fun.
Now I realise my view is based on a relatively short time frame but all in all, the sense of community that I’ve experienced from this industry is something that I’ve never felt before and I’m so happy to be a part of it. Thank you all for making me feel so welcome.