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Am I about to make a huge mistake?

 
#1 Am I about to make a huge mistake?
09/11/2007 17:27

Hezza

After 25+ years in industry I recently decided to launch myself on the consulting world. I've been doing my homework, carefully researching the types of firms I want to work for and tailoring my cv & application to each one etc etc etc. The interview invites are starting to roll in.

However, after an afternoon trawling through all the threads posted here little doubts are starting to creep in. Here's my situation:-

1. I don't have a degree but I do have post-grad qualifications by dint of courses, evening classes etc. Before all you 2:1's out there start guffawing at my ineptitude let me just say this: I made it to several senior-level posts within various blue-chip organisations without one, and anyway I intend to leverage my vast commercial experience.

2. I have no particular desire to work for a Big 4 or anyone like that, I just want someone who can appreciate my talents and give me interesting work where I feel I can make a contribution.

3. I have a husband who runs his own business and two young children. We have discussed the implications of my intended career move on our famly life and are prepared to accept some degree of disruption. After all, I didn't succeed in industry by staying at home with the kids and I have enjoyed a degree of flexible working as I've moved up the ladder.

My question is this: Is life a consultant really all that bad or is this forum mainly used for dissaffected people to sound off on? My perception (rightly or wrongly) is that consulting will give me plenty of variety and challenge in exchange for plenty of hard work and application. However, I am absolutely not repeat NOT prepared for 16 hour days, all-nighters and long spells away from home.

Please somebody tell me that this is not going to be a huge mistake???

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#2 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
09/11/2007 17:33

anon to Hezza (#1)

Put it this way.... consultants go to where the clients are based. More often than not, this doesn't mean a 25 minute drive down the road.

And if you're in meetings or doing workshops for clients all day long, when do you think all the preparation gets done and the reports get written?

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#3 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
09/11/2007 17:42

Hezza to anon (#2)

So when a firm states that it wants to help its employees to achieve their ambitions for a "work life balance", what do they mean?

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#4 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
09/11/2007 18:27

MP to deleted (#0)

I made the move to consulting after 25 years in industry. These are my conclusions:

Consultants are professional bullshitters. Be very wary of what you are promised at interview. They will say anything to persuade you to join.

Hours are no worse than senior levels in industry. Occasionally you may have a long day but then you will also have time on the bench between projects.

The biggest issue is getting the right type of work. If you are "available"you will be under pressure to take any role that comes up......... Staying in hotels is acceptable for job interest. However what if you are put on some dull, public sector project doing things that you have no experience or desire to do?

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#5 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
09/11/2007 18:36

MP to MP (#4)

...and I should add that 1-2 nights a week in a strange city in a hotel is a novelty. 4-5 nights a week in hotels for 6 months is a very lonely existence.

You might find it better to be freelance or an associate (paid daily) with a small consultancy. At least then you will have more control.

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#6 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
09/11/2007 22:13

hmmm to MP (#5)

Consulting is rewarding, there's a lot of guff on here but when you spend a couple of months changing something for the better it is a great experience. As above, the 6 month public sector jobsi n Preston are to be avoided though...

Qualifications? It's all a fallacy! Makes me laugh when consultancy firms want "top MBAs" and when they come in they have to be treated like undergraduates as they have so little commercial and consulting experience.

Good luck, as you say the challenge is finding the people you like and the job that balances life commitments, nothing can be guaranteed 100% in consultancy but some do it a lot better than others.

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#7 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
10/11/2007 09:01

ME2 to Hezza (#1)

Don't believe the hype. We do have lives outside of work and work/life balance does exist. This forum isn't just the disaffected and many of us use it to find out what's going on where and cut through the BS!!

I would suggest you give it a shot but I can't se how you'll not end up in a hotel somewhere for a large proprotion of your week. If you want to be home most of the time I'd suggest look for consultancies which have a homeworking model. They do exist!

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#8 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
10/11/2007 09:21

Sophie to ME2 (#7)

When a consultancy talks about "work-life balance", what they actually mean is "your work will become your life".

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#9 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
10/11/2007 13:55

Hezza to ME2 (#7)

Thanks for all the replies - the cynical ones and the more considered! I am under no illusions about needing to spend time in hotels away from home etc, after all I've done lots of that all my working life. I do find the forum useful for picking up hints & I am luckily not in a hurry so wont jump into the first thing I see. I am also considering freelancing & associating (though the latter seems to require extortionate up front fees).

Does anyone know of any firms that have a homeworking model?

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#10 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
10/11/2007 16:50

MP to Hezza (#9)

By associate I meant contact some smaller consultancies in your field. Sometimes they may take on a larger project but not want to commit to permanent staff.

I would be a little wary of the ones that ask you for money up front. Be very clear on what they are selling. I suspect they will not guarantee you any billable work.

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#11 RE: Am I about to make a huge mistake?
11/11/2007 15:09

anon to Hezza (#9)

BT do but if your not into telecomms the comments on the forum suggest it as being a little depressing

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