A couple of years ago I moved abroad, I didn’t know anyone nor was there a clear approach on how to make new acquaintances as I didn’t speak their language yet. My introduction into the construction industry six months ago was an eerily similar experience, no contacts and I definitely did NOT speak the language...
Anyone who has given me more than five minutes of their time will have heard me talk about my incessant battle against construction acronyms, my relentless discovery of new job roles within the industry and the stitch I get while trying to keep up with the latest industry news.
So, what have I really learnt from this immense industry aside from the perfect amount of wine to create conversational confidence? As cliché as it sounds (although my mother would be pleased) the main point I have learnt is honesty is key. I gathered pretty quickly that construction is an industry that has built its foundations on people and relationships, hence the obvious appreciation for honesty, even if that comes out as embarrassing as “I’m sorry, I really thought ‘tender’ was an adjective not a verb..” (Rachel Holmes, 2019)
Aside from the industry as a whole, I have learnt much from our little office in Queen Square in Bristol. Much of the enthusiasm I portray in my networking is a direct reflection of the MDA team I work with every day, a small team with enormous passion, most of whom have been with the company for years. As this is my first job since education, I think I underestimated the value of working in a positive environment, which is definitely not something I will be doing again.
Since September I have learnt vast amounts from those around me, whether it’s at a crowded event, an hour-long coffee or even just a passing chat. I have come to understand that the construction community is an ever-changing web of professionals looking to learn from those around them and gain off each other’s experiences. These people have taught me that the most essential traits to adopt in order to be successful in the industry are to listen carefully, be organised, enjoy every second and always ALWAYS be prepared for a black-tie event at any time.
The world of business development is one of organised chaos, but you’ve got to appreciate it is very much a personal process. I love the social side of my job, and the fact that there is always more to learn and more challenges to take on. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do have to remind myself that a three-course meal at lunchtime is far from necessary and that a hangover is not a personality trait, but will I indulge in dessert and another glass of red? Absolutely I will.
To describe me as a rabbit in the headlights when I started at MDA would be a wild understatement. Sure, I could hold a conversation but what is a conversation without any depth on its subject? Six months down the line and here I am, embracing an industry and job role which allow me to progress both professionally and personally whilst keeping me on my toes and challenging me daily.
What I am saying with all this is; there is always more to discover in construction, and I couldn’t begin to pretend to I know even half of it yet. However, the most valuable lesson is that as with anything; you get what you put in. Having immersed myself in most of what the local industry has to offer, from early morning seminars and awards dinners, to joining the Women in Property committee, I am undeniably looking forward to building my future career in construction.