Okay, I’ll give it a go. There are lots of things that I like about consulting as a career, and quite a few things I don’t like about it. You have to take the good with the bad.
On the plus side:
- I enjoy the variety in my work. Every day is different, and it forces me to think and be creative.
- I enjoy working with new colleagues and teams all the time
- I enjoy seeing new places and cultures
- I like making a real, measurable difference to my clients. And one of the most satisfying pieces of feedback a client can give me is “we couldn’t have done it without you”
- I like the calibre of people I work with, both internally and with the client. My colleagues are generally all pretty sharp, and my clients are normally senior-level and therefore also pretty sharp.
- I like the perks that come along with a big employer – good salary, nice offices, company car, business class travel, and no one quibbling over an expense claim.
- The money is pretty good. I’d make more as a banker, but then I’d have to sell my soul to the devil.
- Finally, I like the autonomy. No one’s really watching the clock about when I arrive and when I leave. Sometimes I need to work 14 hour days. Sometimes I coast through 7 hours and call it a day. As long as I get my work done, no one really minds.
On the minus side:
- My wife, kids and dog have forgotten what I look like, but Starwood knows what sort of pillows I like.
- It takes a lot of butt-in-seat time to get a BA Gold card.
- Travel delays suck.
- Sometimes you get crappy clients. There’s nothing you can do about that.
- You often get to clean up someone else’s mess.
- There are a lot of politics in a partnership.
- There’s nothing worse than asking for a “table for one” for the 15th night in a row.
- A lot of what I do is not interesting, but boring and repetitive. For every hour of creative thinking and problem-solving I do, there’s at least three hours of Powerpoint drudgery, Excel modelling, report writing, or process documentation.
On balance, though, I like consulting and there’s really nothing else I’d rather be doing. The higher up the organisation I go, the fewer of the “minuses” I encounter, which means that I’m enjoying my job more and more as I get more senior. Of course there are different pressures that come with seniority, but overall I think that the higher-up you are in the organisation, the better life becomes.