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