So many people think I’m crazy for being a woman and a construction engineer. But actually, I think you are crazy for not even considering it as a career. I travel around the country to help build different energy projects. I wear a hard hat, bright as hell safety vest, steel-toed boots and safety glasses. I get to guide the future of ENERGY in the United States and it EXCITES me.
Here’s why. In construction it is NEVER boring. Construction is a rapid fire type industry and I get some much enjoyment from working under the pressure. I love the pace and everyday being different. Something always fails go as planned. Material is delivered late, engineering drawing has an error, a contractor doesn’t understand a detail on an engineering drawing, on and on and on. It is a team environment from upper management to craft personnel. It supports the economy from around the country and sometimes the world. Even with the complexity of construction projects, most are successfully completed.
I get to use my innate analytical skills to address problems and determine how they impact various aspects of the project. When an issue has to be addressed, I must immediately decide which is more important to address – items on my “ABC” To Do List or the new issue. Will the new issue immediately impact the project schedule or not? Will this new issue impact the project budget and to what amount? Will the issue be of high importance to my client or not? Will this issue impact other contractors or not? It’s a brain teaser of sorts…I LOVE brain teasers.
I can discuss the issue with my team – project manager, construction manager, material manager, project controls lead and others. I can review the project schedule and budget to identify impacts. After some consideration, I make recommendations which are seriously considered and usually used to remedy the situation. Did I tell you that I do this in a span of 10 minutes or less many times?
My project manager and previous program manager also let me lead processes and manage contractors. It feels great to have people ask you for help and direction. It feels even better to be able to address them appropriately. The best part is seeing dirt move and things begin to “grow” from it. Like a phoenix it will rise!
But like any job, it ain’t all sunny days and no rain. I’m away from my family often, steel-toed boots aren’t cute and wearing jeans five-days a week gets mundane for me. However, I get to fly home once a month to see my family which makes each trip home special. While my life isn’t perfect, it is the life that is perfect for me…at least for now.