How do I get civil engineering jobs

Civil engineer: Managing a construction site as a Bachelor

He had a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and wanted to do internships to gain experience. He got jobs that overwhelmed him.

Age: 25

Current salary: 3,400 euros gross

After my bachelor's degree in civil engineering, I lived the dream of every graduate: After five applications, I got an acceptance - but I wasn't proud of it. I didn't feel ready for the job market yet, actually I had applied for internships.

During my studies, I only did an internship for two months. Compulsory internships lasting several months were not included in our curriculum. After graduation, I wanted to gain more experience and self-confidence - and be properly introduced to the industry. But I only received rejections on my internship applications. At some point I asked: Why did nobody want to give me an internship? The answer: apply for a real job. As a Bachelor graduate, I would be entitled to a full position and a salary. So I did. A big mistake.

I started out as a project manager. Construction managers and project managers are wanted, the companies are happy when they find someone. I earned 2,800 euros gross during the trial period, after which it should be 3,000 euros. But that never happened.

Before the end of the probationary period, the boss called me into his room and told me I had a week to quit. Otherwise I would be fired. I was shocked and relieved at the same time. I had spent the previous weeks sorting through emails from the boss and watching YouTube videos because nobody had really familiarized me with it or showed me how to create plans or commission companies.

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I didn't dare to ask my colleagues all the time. In my department there was no one else who could help me except the boss, and the rest of the colleagues were busy with other projects. The mood was tense and I was often beaten up. My colleagues accused me of not having any engineering skills. Today I know: I should have asked a lot more and not said yes as much.

Fortunately, I got a good job reference. They didn't want to ruin my life, they said. I would have loved to apply for internships again to gain experience. After a few applications, the next job was accepted - I became a site manager. I enjoyed that: I was responsible for smaller projects, went out to construction sites and learned a lot there.

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Still, the job was a size too big for me. I was able to measure everything, issue bills, take things out and make phone calls. But managing a large construction site alone? I couldn't do that yet. I couldn't really ask questions there either, we were understaffed, and I hardly had any contact persons in the office.

I worked a lot: 50 to 55 hours a week, from 6 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m., sometimes even on weekends. I somehow pushed in breaks on the way. I worked around 70 hours in the heaviest week. After that I was completely through. For that I got 3,200 euros a month. I hadn't really negotiated my salary, I thought it was good pay for someone as inexperienced as I was.

After almost a year, the boss called me over. When I went into his office, he told me to close the door behind me. I knew then that the conversation would not end on a positive note. Fact, because he gave me a few days to cancel myself. I'm just not a full-fledged site manager. The second termination in a short time - that made me feel insecure. When I ran out, I had doubts about the entire construction industry. Was that my thing at all?

However, this time I barely had time to think about it. A few days later I was invited to an interview. It was about a job in the public service. In between, I kept sending out applications to look for other positions. Even though I had barely slept, looked miserable, and quit my job twice, I got the job. When I wanted to know why, they told me that I had convinced professionally. So my job as a site manager had brought me something.

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It's been going very well since I've been in this job. I got an introduction, was able to ask questions and was not immediately overwhelmed with mammoth projects. The starting salary is 3,400 euros per month, that's how it is determined. My new employer makes sure that we don't work overtime. The atmosphere is relaxed. If I make a mistake or don't know something, I won't be knocked out in front of my colleagues.

On the other hand, everyday office life is not quite as exciting as it was outside on the construction site. There I had more responsibility and opportunities for advancement. I probably can't have the great career at my current job, but that's okay. My last two jobs have shown me that I am not a career person who sacrifices myself for the company.

Recorded by Franca Forth