25 things I love about Consulting

06/19/2009

25I’ve been employed as a technology consultant for over two years now and in that time, I’ve come to appreciate a lot of the things to which I’m exposed. I’ve put together a list of some of the things for which I’m most grateful, and I hope that this becomes a helpful resource if you’re considering a similar career.

Without further ado, 25 things I love about Consulting:

  1. Exposure to the latest and cutting-edge technologies.
  2. Exposure to vastly different management styles and methodologies.
  3. Exposure to different industries and corporate cultures.
  4. Working with abstract problems and creating concrete solutions.
  5. Understanding complex problems only after carefully listening to someone explain it.
  6. Dealing with client egos, territorial habits, insecurities, and abrasive tendencies.
  7. Learning how to “push back” against unreasonable client and management demands.
  8. Learning how to ask questions until they get answered.
  9. Having to become intimately acquainted with something completely foreign. Quickly.
  10. Developing a sensitivity to tone, body language, and other nonverbal cues.
  11. Learning how to speak the language of different corporate environments.
  12. Learning the fine art of negotiation.
  13. Realizing that something is technically impossible, and doing it anyway.
  14. Learning how to ask for help. A lot. Whenever it’s needed.
  15. Learning how to communicate effectively.
  16. Realizing that no one is going to manage my career for me.
  17. Tactfully negotiating highly political environments.
  18. Working in fast-paced, high-pressure environments.
  19. Learning how to resolve conflicts and getting work done at the same time.
  20. Learning when (and that it’s ok) to compromise.
  21. Learning how to “just get something done” instead of making the first iteration perfect.
  22. Learning how to make strategic allies within an organization.
  23. Learning how much it pays to be kind to everyone, from the janitor to the receptionist.
  24. Exposure to some of the most cultured, well-traveled, and intelligent people on earth.
  25. Marriott Rewards points. Can I get an “amen?” :-D

To be clear, I’m grateful for all of these experiences. I can say with confidence that I’ve developed a pretty unflappable resolve over the past two years. I’ve been exposed to stuffy environments where laughing in the hallways feels like an offense punishable by death, and I’ve worked at a client where the manager comes in at 10am wearing jeans and sneakers.

I would strongly recommend a career in Consulting (at least for a few years) to anyone who can hack the pressure. There’s a very high rate of attrition (being with my company for five years puts you in the ~77th percentile) in consulting, and with good reason – it’s simply not for everyone.

Above all else, I enjoy the people. I’ve made some of the best friends anyone could ask for, and I don’t for a moment regret launching my career in Consulting.

Is there anything you’d like me to expand on? I’d be happy to address your questions and comments about consulting in the comments!

25 things I love about Consulting