Anyone with any knowledge of history is aware that the bulk of the rank and file of armies was always consisted of young men between about 16 and 22. Even today, the bulk of our Armed Forces consist of that age group and gender. The reasons for that are probably steeped in evolution and survival of the species, but that’s another discussion.
Anyway, that is the group known as the Warrior Classes. Most tend to grow out of it, usually because some woman gets hold of them and makes them!
Some don’t and they are the ones who either turn into genuine “hard cases” or great Generals – or great Construction Managers!
Many of these youngsters do go into the Military and serve their allotted span there. Others choose to come into construction. The biggest reason for this as an alternative choice is that construction isn’t so regimented and politically correct (yet!) that it stifles their originality and smothers their own personality. The other common reason, of course, is that it runs in their family. A great example of where that can be found are ex-military personel hiring websites that hightlight the commonalities of these two vocations.
These youngsters aren’t subjected to military discipline, but are usually under the guidance of an older male relative. They are allowed to develop, but not allowed to go berserk! This is a similar kind of discipline to that they would have were they wearing a uniform.
Put them to a task such as moving loads of bags of cement or plaster and you can see the same kind of energy, determination and commitment that you would expect if they were in a Roman Shield Wall!
Most grow out of it. They become skilled tradesmen, or move out of construction into another line of work. The ones that don’t and become genuine “hard cases” take up a hobby like bare-fist fighting! These guys make good “minders” on site for those of us too old to look after ourselves anymore! The relationship between construction and the military can be pretty obvious if you chat to the guys on site. I’ve had them where 50% of the tradesmen were actually ex-military!
From the point of view of site management there is also a similarity to the military that springs from this Warrior Class component of our industry. If we give an “order”, they jump to obey! The difficulty we walk into here, though, is that the Warriors first have to recognise our Leadership.
Do we have what it takes?
To find that out I recommend that you watch the site gates in the morning. Are they smiling when they walk in?