Last week I was accepted for an interview by Mr. Karol, a project manager for AJBBC Iron works company to learn if we would be a good fit for one another for an employment opportunity. The purpose of this meeting was for me to learn more about the day-to-day tasks required of employees working for the company.
I took this trip in order to find out more information about the company AJBBC Iron Works with the greater goal of learning about this career path to see how well it fits with my own goal. This interview is for a class assignment, but it is also very valuable for me as a college student who is weighing out options for a career.
I have learned in life that what we think we want to do is not always what we want to do. It is good to maintain an open attitude and to not go into situations with too many preconceived idea. In this way, I will be able to find a good fit for what I want out of my life. If I find that I am mistaken, I will be able to recalibrate and adjust my trajectory to one that better suits who I am as a person and what I want out of life.
Initially, I imagined the interview would consist of me asking the twenty questions that I had prepared and Mr. Karol and having him give me answers to each one. What ended up happening was the two of us first exchanged pleasantries as one does when they are meeting someone for the first time. He asked me about my schooling and family, and I asked him the same questions in order for us to have a level of rapport before diving into the questions I had prepared.
Instead of me simply asking him questions and him providing answers, we instead maintained a conversation about his daily tasks, explaining how a typical day at the office works, along with going to job sites and the work required in both setting.
The day of the interview:
- I went in dressed professionally.
- We sat in the office and first got to know each other.
- The interview began with us asking each other questions
- We then maintained a conversation discussing all he does.
The first questions I asked Mr. Karol had to do with the history of the company that he works for. Rather than diving into his role within the company, I felt it was of primal importance to get a handle on how the company was founded and what its mission is before learning about how he fits that puzzle.
AJBBC is a company that was founded in 2001. Mr. Karol quoted their website to say that they were a “dynamic and diverse company.” They specialize in every sort of ironwork that one could imagine. When they were first founded, they generally only worked with private homeowners on smaller scale projects. Success in this industry tends to lead to bigger and better things.
This is exactly what has happened in the last 13 years at AJBBC Ironworks. While they still do work on projects with private homeowners on smaller scale works, the majority of their business now comes from general contractors, developers, property management companies, designers, architects and state agencies.
Their mission is simple, to deliver the highest quality of service to all of their clientele while being aware of each client’s unique budgetary and resource situation. They have a dedication to how they treat their employees and to make sure that their staff remains motivated, part of management policy is to have regular reviews of worker’s performance, and also to review subcontractors working with the company. In this way the are dedicated not just to providing good pay and a positive work environment to their own workers, but for everyone who does work for the company.
There are four basic settings in which the company keeps in mind to do its work. There is the job site, which is the place where the work is being created for a client. There is the business office, where payroll, accounting, client services, mail and other tasks related to the running of the business is house. Then there is the machine shop, in which large, immovable tools are housed.
The metaphor that Mr. Karol used to explain how these four areas work together as a whole was the different stages that are required for climbers to summit Everest. The peak of Everest is like a job site, this is the primary goal that all of the other sites serve. Without the peak of Everest, there is nothing to work for.
But climbers need backup to get there. There is the business side of the trip that determines what gear to bring, where the funding will come from, and the logistics of arriving in Nepal, where Everest is located.
Then there is also the base camp that services the climbers who are summitting the mountain. The machine shop and storage facility is like this base camp. Tools and supplies are housed there, and trucks to carry these things and workers to the job site are parked.
Crafting things from steel require both heavy-duty industrial tools, workers who have been trained in how to use them, and also creativity. Rarely is AJBBC Ironworks simply there to follow someone else’s blueprint. Often the project manager will meet ahead of time with a client to determine what exactly is needed. First and foremost the project manager has to decide if AJBBC is capable of carrying this out. Sometimes, Mr. Karol said, the job is simply outside of the scope of what the company would be able to do.
After deciding if it is possible, the project manager returns from the potential worksite to the business office to crunch numbers. Based on the client’s wishes it is the project’s manager’s job to figure out an accurate estimate to how much the project will cost and how long it is expected to be completed. These are two very important elements of the project, if not the most important. “Failure to consistently and accurately give accurate time and money estimates will eventually lead to failure of company solvency,” Mr. Karol said.
A tour of the job site shows these things in process. There are the workers, whose job it is to conduct the work that has been coordinated by the engineers and architects, working under the direction of the project manager. A job like Mr. Karol is essentially to communicate between everyone. Everyone in the company has a job to do, but it is Mr. Karol’s job to make sure that everyone is working in unison for the communal goal.
The machines required are numerous. The lingo for these machines is “in-house” and “out-house.” In-house machine refer to the ones that do not leave the machine shop, while out-house machines are the tools that are taken to the job site by the workers. An
My interview with Mr. Karol and visit to a work site helped me see the whole picture of project management in ironworks. Mr. Karol described his job as “juggling plates.” If one piece of the puzzle is not in place, everything falls apart.
This visit has solidified my decision to continue to pursue project management in this field. Frankly, I believe that I am up for this challenge. I like that Mr. Karol job is to make sure that everyone else is doing his or her job. I work well with people, am a fair and empathetic person and Mr. Karol agrees that these are exactly the qualifications required for work in a position such as his.