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Work life balance issues

#1 Work life balance issues
21/12/2006 00:12


Hi all, I'm thinking about my next career move and would like any advice/opinions.

I currently work for a small firm of consultants and truly enjoy the work that I do. In particular, I like getting out and about and meeting new people, rather than working in a cubicle all day long. The hours are excellent (40 hour week on average) and I get to work from home whenever I like (this has had an unbelievably positive effect on my work-life balance). Almost all of the firm's clients are based in or are close to my home city, so the travel is minimal.

However, I'm increasingly finding that it is difficult for me to grow inside this company. The company itself isn't expanding - we're just generating the same level of fee income year on year, and my own salary has stayed pretty much flat for the past few years. As an individual, I have little ability to grow the business, so I am dependent on the firm's leadership for this and 'taking the initiative' isn't really an option - the support I would need to carry out additional marketing and business development work just isn't available.

What should I do next? If the salary was better, I would without a doubt very much want to stay where I am. As things are, however, I'm basically living between paycheques. My responsibilities are increasing, but my income is not.

I have experience of working for bigger consultancy firms, and am worried about going back into a 'big 4' kind of environment since many of them seem to have at least one of the following attributes: a) a hire-and-fire or up-or-out policy which means you are constantly worrying about whether you'll still have a job in 6 months' time, b) excessive long-distance travel and having to stay away from home and family, c) incredibly long working hours, d) an 'anxiety culture' where nobody wants to be the first to go home in the evening and people end up doing unproductive work just to fill the time, or e) a 'collegiate atmosphere' which is HR-speak for having to spend too much time both professionally and socially with people who you know won't be with the firm for more than 1-2 years.

I'm thinking about going into industry, but I don't know what exactly I would do. Possibly an in-house consultancy role would be a good choice, but I figure my main question is this:

What is a good next move for an experienced consultant who now needs a stable career, that will provide a predictable yet decent income, and will allow me to work 'normal' hours (i.e. so that I can be at home with family in the evenings), without any substantial travel involved?

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#2 RE: Work life balance issues
21/12/2006 07:32

bri500 to John (#1)

I've written at length on this before, PA Consulting is generally a good place to work. Been there 7 years and still like it, I have a young family I actually get to see. Search for posts by me or on the subject PA Consulting.

It's not the same for people across the board so depends on what your experience is and where you join, but for most people it's acceptable to walk out of the office at 5:30pm-6pm.

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#3 RE: Work life balance issues
21/12/2006 10:34

John to bri500 (#2)

Thank you bri, it is reassuring to hear this. From what I've heard generally and the people I've met, PA Consulting seems to be a genuinely good firm to work for. I hear that their pay isn't the best, but they have interesting work and they're not a 'burnout' kind of organisation either - and that's more than enough to tip the balance for me.

If you don't mind me asking, how would you advise a prospective applicant to approach PA? Is there anyone I should specifically try to contact? I'm based in London.

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