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Options after working in a Professional Services firm

#1 Options after working in a Professional Services firm
09/10/2016 20:11


I've worked for 6 years now. In that time I've worked for the UK's largest Outsourcer, One of the Big 4 as a Contractor, The UK's largest retail and commercial bank as a Contractor and I have spent the past 3 years at the biggest Technology Consulting / Professional Services firm in their Capital Markets and Banking divisions.

In hindsight, I haven't navigated the company well and done a hodge-podge of MC and TC projects. I didn't understand career building and networking as I had come from a target based line of work in all my previous companies where you are known for your numbers. This was my first time doing actual Consulting work and I think its only in the past year I have understood "the game" so to speak.

The company operates on an up or out policy. i.e. every year you get promoted to the next level or you get counselled out of the organisation (i.e. you're paid off to leave quietly).

I'll find out how I have fared this 01 Dec. I am at the last stage before promotion to Manager (Year 3 Consultant). Though, since joining in November 2013, I have never received a pay increase. I am £43,000 Gross. I am now paid less than a year 1 Consultant who receives £4k more.

Speaking with my own career manager, they seemed disheartened and I get the impression if I am not out this year, it is only by exception I will be out next year. I lack the senior network to support me staying in. Admittedly this is an impression as they cannot tell me outcomes at this stage. Though if I stay, perhaps my salary would finally be corrected. Or at last made to match that of a Y1 consultant.

So I find myself in an odd situation. My salary makes it too low to feel its worthwhile moving.

I am either kicked out this December or next Dec (unless I miraculously get promoted). My understanding is getting kicked out leads to a decent redundancy payment too.

I am married, with wife and 2 kids and a mortgage. I live slightly outside London.

My wife does not work and I still pay a student loan. Post tax, we literally get by exactly on my existing salary (£30k net).

Once I am out, what kind of options seem realistic for me to pursue?

My perception is return to contracting.

However, does anyone think its possible to return to a different company as a permanent post redundancy?

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#2 RE: Options after working in a Professional Services firm
11/10/2016 12:09

detoilet Consultant to ZincLysine (#1)

You have many options here - but in the short term you have an opportunity if you get your timing correct.

Here's a suggestion:-

1. Get your CV updated (both contract work and a perm one)

2. Get it circulated, test the market - with a view to land a job in January - so you are not desperate and can pick the right role

- It's October even if you get first interviews by end of Oct the natural process will lead you to December and with xmas in the way January is a natural start point

3. If you land a job between now and December - then play the game with employer, should I go now, you don't want to leave, money is tight get them to give you a good offer - and leave - don't let them know you have another role.

4. Leave have a month off - take family away to sun at xmas etc and start again with a few bob in the bank

If you fail on this then stick it out and try again next year.

ps don't feel guilty about it - go for the maximum pay-out you can get


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#3 RE: Options after working in a Professional Services firm
30/10/2016 18:35

ZincLysine to detoilet Consultant (#2)

Sounds like the annual review has been pushed back a week. The early indications I am getting are I'll be around for another year - and then either promoted (uphill battle) or encouraged seeking my fortunes elsewhere.

So my question now is: what could I do afterwards?


If you had 1 year to prepare for leaving, what would you do?

I don't think I have really gained much at all from my last 3 years of work tbh. because i never built on a project. it was one random project after another. many of them outside of existing knowledge. i understand the idea of how you're meant to build a career etc - except I always found it hard to actually have that network and build something, especially when lots of senior people I could build a rapport with...kept leaving!

What's the general route people take after working in the big consulting/professional services firms space?

I've been feeling lately my career pre-"consulting" allowed me to offer far more to the world than i do today. Perhaps my confidence has been knocked. It would be interesting to hear.

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#4 RE: Options after working in a Professional Services firm
31/10/2016 09:16

Jack Black to ZincLysine (#3)

Why can't you aim for promotion next year? It's really not that difficult to get support if you are doing a good job (if you're not doing a good job it is very hard).

Have you had any conversations about your performance, any concerns been raised? Also, assuming you work at Accenture, it is not an up or out model, it is up or elsewhere so you may be able to look for opportunities in other workforces.

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#5 RE: Options after working in a Professional Services firm
06/11/2016 17:00

ZincLysine to Jack Black (#4)

I am told there is no concerns over my project work.

i am told no one is worried with my extra curricular, though there is perhaps a void on the account level for that - but no one has advice on what for me to do there.

I have no idea how you get that support. Seems neither my counselors or mentors have had an idea about that either.

Perhaps a thing to add here is I don't get roles that could naturally help me get a network here, as they're most often 1 man projects. People have tried to get me into larger team projects - but there always seems to be another person who can be recycled in over me. I haven't had an actual Line Manager for 2 years now. When I have, they have not been from my practice or even the UK.

The conversations I have seem like, nothing wrong with me work wise.

Yet no one knows how to get me to that next level. The current suggestion is try get me in a team with people above and below me. But even now, have the team below and no one above me.

I know people being asked to leave. Don't know anyone being asked to shift.

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