Boom and bust

Professionally, the last 6 months have been some of the hardest I have ever experienced. Some very sh*tty situations have come my way. Incidentally, those sh*tty situations have also lead to amazing opportunities. At the moment, I am riding a wave, but only time will tell for how long it'll last. I've been here before - it never lasts.

I am still so traumatised from this boom-and-bust-and-boom-and-bust cycle I don't even know whether to be happy about it, or not. Yes, over the months it has all "evened out" somewhat - great experiences have shadowed out the bad ones, and bad ones have taken the shine off great ones, so it has all come out to some average "yeah okay" result in the end.

But was it really all worth it?

Would I do it again?

I mean... jesus. I am six months out of school and I have just priced up a million-dollar refurbishment of a series of old buildings, with all the technical difficulties that come with only partial demolition and a complicated programme across several sites and trades, to the point where I still dream at night about Excel sheets and estimation.

Oh the hours I have spent on Google, and quizzing my husband. "Hey, how long do you reckon it'll take you to chem-set a steel dowel into an existing foundation 800mm deep inside a hole only 500mm across?" My husband would be, like, "What do you mean, steel dowel?" And I would show him the structural plans and he'd be, like, "Oh, it actually says steel dowel, doesn't it."

Or 76 pairs of bolts through joinery - NOT the way the architect has specified, because apparently, if it gets done the way architect designed it, it wouldn't work.

Every day I pour through documents which, the first time I see some of them, I think, Maria, what are you doing here. You know sod all about how to build this.

But I work and work and work until, detail by detail, it gets figured out and my brain feels like it's been both exercised AND fried up in the process.

Last week, as we uploaded some tender documents to the client's server, I said to my boss, either way it goes, I am going to wonder if I have screwed up somehow. If we win the job, I am going to think, sh*t, I must have missed something out and priced too low. If we lose the job, I am going to think, sh*t, I must have been too conservative, priced it too high.

My boss was, like, welcome to the construction industry!

Working for a building company is both a wonderful, but also hair-rising experience of finding ways to make things work. Over and over and over again. With difficult designs, with difficult materials, with difficult software, with difficult people. Just showing up in the morning and trying again. No matter how sh*tty the day before has been, showing up in the morning and doing it again, so that something good can happen - eventually - and then going through the cycle all over again.

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