Resume and Legacy Are Equally Important.

Resume and Legacy Are Equally Important.


Last week, I spent about 15 hours of windshield time traveling through mid-Atlantic states visiting our projects. I made an effort to drive without music, leaving plenty of time for thought.

One thing on my mind: If you were to leave this earth at 5 pm–not just any day, but TODAY–what would people say about you? Did you improve lives, or live for yourself? In other words, are you building your resume or your eulogy? I like this TED Talk from David Brooks that explores the difference:

  • marketable skills vs. depth and relationships
  • ambition vs the desire to do good
  • success vs. love, redemption and return

Similarly, in the construction business we have two types of projects. There are jobs that make a financial contribution, thus keeping our CFO smiling, and those that benefit beyond finances, on various platforms, making communities better and helping people in the process. Personally I like them both. Routine projects and not-so-routine projects are important on different levels.

To me, it’s okay to build a résumé, but we shouldn’t do it at the expense of genuine connections and community. Corporately, I try to balance our resume with our “eulogy.” We’re planning to be around, but just in case…


  1. Matt Zarzour says:

    Merrill, Great perspective. Thank you for posting.

    Hope all is well,


  2. Shawn O'Brien says:

    Good morning Mr Stewart,
    No BS here – I read your blog and can “see” the effort placed in the content. Granted, we do a lot of work with you guys but it’s not the reason I read it. Your post do not read as something you selfishly put together for an ego but something you are giving from your experiences and I appreciate it.

    In regards to your Resume’ and Legacy I would like to share the phrase I have used this year – ‘Mement0 Mori’. It is a latin phrase that means ‘remember that you will die’. I suppose it could be considered morbid or a country music song but for me it holds me accountable for how I treat others and as a reminder to live each day to the fullest.

    Once a year in my business we seek out a family or charitable organization to help. We “help” by taking all of the Charter Fire employees a 1 single day out of the year to provide a service for the charitable group. We do not commit to a project that takes more than a day and unless it’s s small residual follow up. With 365 days there is no reason 1 day can’t be used for others. With 40+ employees of strong men there is not many things that cannot be accomplished in one day with strong backs.

    Personally the business can keep me busy 7 days a week so if I do not make planned activities with my family there is never time. So this year we are going to a concert, a day trip to white water rafting, camping in the fall, and already I was even able to selfishly race a car at Barber’s (personal goal – what fun!).

    You post reminded me that we haven’t sought out an opportunity for the company to reach out to the community this year. Thanks for your post!

  3. Sterling J "Skip" Peters says:

    I am retired and decided to pay your website a visit because one of my proteges now works for you. Ran across your blog and would like to share this story:
    I attended the school of architecture at LSU in the late 60’s and one of our professors would take the seniors on field trips to visit various projects in Baton Rouge. On one of these he took us to the oldest cementary in the area and told us to walk around and pay attention to the various head stones and monuments and mark down anything intresting we came across. An unusual task to be sure, but we did so wondering the point of this endeavor. At the appointed hour we gathered at the entrance gate and met Professor Reich and reported what we had found; “Born____,Died____”, An ocassional short tribute but nothing that said anything about the person, good or evil, great or infamous-a point made by Dr. Reich. He left us with the comment that we should live our lives with the final inscription on our graves in mind. If we didn’t others would; a life worthy of mention, or not.

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