Let Me Tell You a Story

“Honey… what are you doing?!”

My wife’s abrupt question snapped me out of an early morning staring contest with our living room television. She had walked downstairs to find me watching a cartoon fit for a 4-year old… by myself.

I’m confident I’m about to relate with anyone who has ever had small children; what had actually happened was I woke up early that morning with my then 5 and 3-year-old boys so my wife could go back to sleep. Somewhere between turning on their favorite cartoon and my wife’s question my sons went to play in the basement and left me sitting there for God only knows how long soaking up Tom & Jerry the same way I did almost 30 years ago.

Being the honest guy I am, my response was, “I have no idea.”

So how does a grown adult end up in this predicament? Well ignoring the obvious sleep deprivation that probably had my mind a little foggy to begin with, the real answer is that I was simply following the story. Whether it’s a complex movie plot, basic cartoon, or real life event, a good story does something to captivate the human brain that few can articulate. Something about our psyche is drawn to what happens next and this causes us to lock our focus on the story-teller.

One of the things I am involved with here at MBI is our workforce initiative, and specifically the connection of contractors to their local school districts. A common question I receive from contractors who are considering getting involved with schools is, ‘What would I say to them?’

There are many things you could say, but the most important thing is to simply tell them your story because that is what they will remember. Even if you think your story is boring, it needs to be told. Tell students about your decision making process, the options you had, your career path so far; all of it will relate with them and keep their attention as they wonder what’s coming next.

These things are imperative to remember as Construction Week approaches at the beginning of October and many of you will be reaching out to schools to ensure students and educators are educated on careers in our industry. If we want students to want to be in construction, they must know the stories of those who are already here. Young children want to be police officers, fire fighters, astronauts, and baseball players because those are the stories they have heard. Middle and high school kids are a little different but the same principle applies.

Learn more about Construction Week and how you can participate at the link above. For details on how you can get connected with local schools or contractors, contact me anytime at MLoveless@mbi.build.