Guest Post: 10 Ways Being a Construction Manager is Better Than Being a Movie Star

This is a guest blog post by Philip J. Reed of Westwood College.

Lucille Ball Hollywood StarSo you’re considering whether or not you should go to school for a degree in construction management. It’s a job you think you’d be great at, and, if you’re good at it, you could have a pretty secure income for the life of your career. But there’s one thing bothering you: construction management just simply isn’t glamorous enough. Well, cheer up, friend, because it’s not as bad as you think! Join us, tongue firmly in cheek, as we take a look at 10 ways that being a construction manager is even better than being a movie star!

1. Your meals aren’t interrupted by autograph seekers.

Think about how fortunate you are, being able to eat a hamburger in peace! If you were a movie star you’d be hounded by all those annoying fans, pestering you to sign their napkins, repeat iconic lines of dialogue, or pose with them for photographs. Who needs it? You’ve had a full day of work, and you’ve earned a little time to yourself. Good thing you’re a construction manager! The only thing people expect you to sign are paychecks.

2. Being difficult to work with is a good thing!

We all hear about Hollywood divas (male and female!) demanding everything from private luxury trailers to special on-set treatment to having only orange M&Ms in their candy bowls. When we hear stories like this, our first impulse is to deride them as being fickle or spoiled. If we hear that a construction manager is picky about details or demanding of specific results, and we instead see that as evidence of effective management. Funny how that works out!

3. You get it right the first time.

Five words you’ll never hear (or say) as a construction manager: “Cut! Let’s try that again…” You have material, manpower, time and money tied up in every decision you make, so you need to make sure those decisions are made right the first time. You don’t get to snap your fingers and start the scene over from scratch, meaning that you and your staff always, at every moment of the day, have to work to your full potential. And that’s something to reflect on with pride.

4. There’s room for more than one!

How many times do you watch a movie only to recognize the actors? There’s the one who always plays the bad guy, the one who is always a beautiful girl that doesn’t realize she’s beautiful, the stuffy businessman, the adorably gawky young man who learns something about friendship…they’re always played by the same people! It certainly feels like there’s not enough work to go around in Hollywood sometimes. Fortunately there’s always room for another great construction manager! It’s a competitive field, but at least there’s competition!

5. You get to be yourself.

Day in and day out, people know what to expect from you and you know what to expect from them. You’re a construction manager, and tomorrow you’ll still be a construction manager. Movie stars need to be a fireman one day, the President of the United States of America the next day, and a crime-fighting robot the day after that. Talk about multiple personalities! Personally, we’d rather just do one thing and learn to do it very well, and we’re sure you do, too!

6. Nobody makes a terrible sequel to your best work.

We all have projects that we’re proud of. And we should be proud of them! We sink our hearts into the things we care about. We spend time, money and effort that we wouldn’t have spent otherwise, and so when a project turns out so perfectly, so exceptional in every way, we can’t help but step back and feel proud of what we’ve accomplished. Nice feeling, isn’t it? Now if you were a movie star, you’d get to have that reputation tarnished by money-grubbing studios producing a rushed, lousy sequel to capitalize on everything you’ve accomplished with that project, tarnishing your reputation in the process. Yeah, I’d stick to construction management if I were you…

7. It’s stood the test of time.

How long has construction management been around? It’s hard to say, but construction in general has been around almost as long as humanity itself, and without “managers” of some type in place, nothing ever would have gotten done. Do you think the Colossus of Rhodes would have been finished in 280 B.C. without somebody telling the workers what to do? Of course not. Movie stars, on the other hand, have only been around for a measly hundred years or so. In fact, motion pictures in general don’t go any further back than 1878, when somebody used 24 stationary cameras to “film” a galloping horse. Wow. That sure would be a lot more impressive if construction managers hadn’t been responsible for building the Great Pyramid about 3,500 years ago. Eat our dust, Hollywood.

8. You get to be proud of your schooling.

Movie stars like to downplay their humble beginnings. They tend to dislike it when anybody uncovers their past as “ordinary” people from “ordinary” towns. And whenever it is revealed that some famous actor or other used to make a living as a waiter or washing cars, it’s a source of supreme embarrassment. Construction managers, on the other hand, flaunt their histories in the form of qualifications, degrees, and portfolios of projects past. Their pasts aren’t embarrassing; they’re rich histories of accomplishments. Whatever construction schools you’ve attended deserve the spotlight; they got you where you are, and you should be proud of that!

9. You’re not in it for the awards.

No boring acceptance speeches, no polite applause, no deals with high-end designers to promote their latest dress or tuxedo. No, you’re not in it for the red carpet and paparazzi; you’re in it for the satisfaction of a job well done. Your shelf may never be lined with little golden statuettes, but your town’s main street may well be lined with physical reminders of your construction accomplishments, benefitting everyone for generations and generations to come. Which would you prefer?

10. Your projects change the world.

Movies can affect us deeply. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and, sometimes, they make us think about the world around us. But nothing compares to physically building the world around us. Construction managers literally create the world as we know it. Films might reflect the world, but construction managers build the world that those films reflect.

The list above was all meant in good fun, of course. Movies are great fun, but the sense of pride and satisfaction due to the world of construction management cannot be overstated. To the construction managers of today, we say thank you. And to the construction managers of tomorrow, we wish you all the best!

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