Guest Blogger: Mark Brown is a student at BYU-Idaho where he studies Construction Management. He currently lives in Spokane, WA, working as a carpenter and studying online while his wife finishes her Bachelor’s degree in nursing. In this article Mark offers advice to his Generation Y peers based on what he learned from the commenters who shared their thoughts about Mark's first guest blog where he shared advice for contractor trying to work with Generation Y employees.
Gen Y Member Offers Advice to His Peers: How To Develop A Good Work Ethic That Will Make You Stand Out
Recently Shawn published some of my ideas and suggestions for contractors working with Gen Y employees in an article titled: “Contractors: How to work with Generation Y from one of them.” It became obvious shortly after the article went live that this subject is something many people have strong opinions about. I’ve sifted through over 8,000 words of commentary (over 15 pages!) left by readers of that article to try and find some common threads that I can tie into a follow up article for Gen Y’ers that shows them firsthand what industry professionals are looking for today and how they can stand out.
One of the biggest grievances about Gen Y is that they just don’t care. They have no respect. They’re too absorbed in themselves and the here and now of social media to be interested in learning a skill or craft. If you are guilty of this sin, it is time to change. Find something you enjoy doing, be it construction related or not, and STUDY it. Find books, magazines, museums, websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Pinterest boards, even actual human beings who enjoy the same thing. If you find yourself awake in the wee morning hours, let’s say reading blacksmithing books or something, you’re probably headed in the right direction. Learn to love and have passion for something real. Bring this enthusiasm to the job and apply it to learning a new skill. You will work harder, learn faster, and grow to truly love what you are doing. I think as Gen Y’ers we should all take a page out of this guy’s book…
Put your technology away and work.
If your girlfriend can’t wait, she might cost you more than dinner and a movie. Stay focused if you work on a computer all day. Get up and walk or get a drink to take a break rather than check your Facebook. We all know long winded personal calls and texts on the jobsite are unwanted. Learn to go without your phone in your hand for 8 hours a day and you will see better work, more focus, and I swear the day goes by twice as fast when you’re not constantly thinking about what “she” is doing (or “he” for that matter).
Put technology to work at work
At the same time, be the guy who remembers what your technology can do for your work. Bring up how to articles, diagrams, photos, and references from all that studying you’ve been doing. When questions or confusions arise on the job, be the one who remembers you can access plans, scopes of work, calculators, and change orders from a phone. Just remember to avert your eyes from tempting texts.
Finally, learn to work.
And I mean, like, the bury the guy who’s been doing this for as long as you’ve been alive kind of work. Show up on time. Be “present” mentally and physically. If you’re in the field, watch and learn the old guy’s tricks. Your fresh knees and elbows are worth their weight in gold. Don’t be afraid to stay late and show up early to organize, plan, and prepare. If you’re in the office, stay on top of technologies that relate to your industry or can be used to better it. Make suggestions, study the costs, and take initiative to show off things that can make the business better and more profitable.
These are three simple suggestions that come not really from me at all, but from people across the nation who have spent decades learning what they do. By adopting these ideas to both your professional and personal life, you will be happier, fulfilled, and far more valuable than most. I encourage you to share them with your friends and family in hopes that Gen Y can learn how to contribute more effectively to the industry and the world.