Careers in Construction: Finding Purpose in Work


“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”

John D. Rockefeller

Conversations across the globe are concentrated on what work looks like post-pandemic, with the ‘Great Resignation’ being a pattern that employers are grappling with and adapting to. While there are several reasons for this mass exodus, one of them is that individuals are seeking purpose in their work and are willing to leave their roles if they can find something they believe will be more fulfilling. Today, we’re taking a closer look at what brings purpose to the lives of those that work in the construction industry and at Perlo.

What is Purpose?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, purpose is:

the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists; a person’s sense of resolve or determination

have as one’s intention or objective

From simply finding job security, to becoming an expert at a trade, to serving a bigger mission in life, finding purpose at work can mean many different things to different people. To find meaning in everyday work, it is crucial to find a connection between the daily activities that provide a paycheck and the motivation that transforms a job into an experience that fulfills your needs. With such a diverse range of crafts and passions involved in a single company, it only makes sense that every individual has a different idea of what purpose is to them and how they find it at work. We asked our employees at Perlo what they find fulfilling about their work, and although purpose is different from person to person, we received a variety of answers that generally fell into the following categories:

  • There are continuous learning opportunities.
  • There’s a physical contribution to the community.
  • It provides a great income for families and desired lifestyles.
  • The relationships and team atmosphere are rewarding.

Purpose in Construction

One unique aspect of construction is that individuals with a variety of skillsets can be involved. A single general contracting firm like Perlo, for instance, employs many positions and skill sets, which range from entry level to highly educated, such as:

Payroll and Accounting
Secretarial work
Human Resources
Project Management

Executive Management
Estimating & Budgeting
Site Supervision

Warehouse Management
Site Superintendent
Legal/Risk Management
Safety Management

In the tight labor market the United States is currently facing, individuals have more autonomy over their employment opportunities than ever before. Regardless of skillset and interest, there’s a place for nearly everyone within our industry. However, retaining employees often hinges on them feeling like their contributions matter. Finding purpose, motivation, and drive at work has a range of benefits. Employees who understand their job’s bigger purpose tend to be more engaged, creative, and happier overall. This employee satisfaction results in a more effective company by increasing productivity and decreasing turnover.

Purpose at Perlo Construction

While considering this topic, we got some valuable insight by talking to Perlo’s employees about what they enjoy in their work. While it might surprise you, this isn’t always an easy question to answer. However, we received many answers that are a testament to the purpose our people find here at Perlo. Below you’ll find an array of the answers we received when asking where our employees find purpose in their work:

“I like building interesting things. And my work is different from day to day, so I don’t get bored.”

“I like that I can see something start from nothing and develop it into a finished product. There’s a clear measurement of success.”

“I like making our clients happy. If someone comes back, that’s the ultimate goal.”

“I find purpose in talking to people. This job involves a high level of communication and many other engineering careers don’t involve that level of communication.”

“I like a challenge. I like having problems to solve and the sense of completion that occurs when you do. And it’s great in our world that the problems are visual. You can see what you had a hand in building vs. other more non-tangible careers. I know I’m going to get to the other side, so that keeps me going.”

“I love the constant variety and getting to meet new and exciting people. It brings a sense of accomplishment to work with a team with different strengths and backgrounds to make visions come to life.”

“This field is a great way to support a family. It allows me to live a lifestyle that I appreciate. That’s what drives me. If I can walk away each day knowing I did everything I could to help our company and therefore the future of my job – that I helped with that process, there’s fulfillment there.”

“It’s fun to see people grow up. I’ve been here for so long and watched so many people grow and develop their own families and traditions. It’s fun to see that progression and families growing. I get a lot of enjoyment out of that.”

“There’s a lot I like. The productivity is fulfilling. Being social is fulfilling. Coming in, working hard, and having the social aspect at work is enjoyable.”

“I like having others that depend on me. When I was carpenter, I liked building things, but as a supervisor, I enjoy being able to lead and help solve problems with others.”

“You’re improving the community, especially with projects like schools and medical facilities. It’s amazing to see the interconnection between businesses. For instance, a company like Intel spurs many other businesses to build here, so even if we don’t build for them, we support many other businesses that support them. Everyone needs construction, so I like feeling like we’re making a difference for other people.”

“In the healthcare sector, it’s changing people’s lives, and I saw that first hand because my mom worked in healthcare. The end result keeps me going.”

“It’s a fun journey even though it is also hard. We work so closely with many people, solving challenging problems every day. We can disagree and still be friends at the end of the day. If this job were easy, I wouldn’t be interested in it.”

“I like making people happy and receiving verbal appreciation. I like hitting a milestone and doing what we say we’re going to do.

“I like competing for projects and winning the work. I’m pretty competitive, so the challenge of winning work and then impressing the owner so much that they come back keeps me going.”

“Construction is physical – you can see what is being built, so it’s tangible. It’s also challenging. There’s a sense of satisfaction that you made that hard thing a reality.”

“Sometimes my job is like gambling when we’re trying to win work. It’s the process and knowing you were a part of the project.”

“I like the people, the projects, and the clients. It’s fun to see the community change for the better.”

“This job isn’t always easy, but it’s comfortable. I have great relationships with the people I work with and I know where I’ll be until I’ll retire. There’s comfort in that.”

“I like working for a company that has my back. That when times are challenging, they will do everything to keep people working and do their best to make you feel secure”

Final Thoughts

We are proud that so many at Perlo find great purpose in their work. As a company, we value our people and their contributions to the built environment.

Our passion is to build great projects for our clients and the people who will use them, and that means cultivating great employees with a thirst for the work. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in construction, check out our Careers page or Contact Us today!