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consultant to manager - seems very hard

#1 consultant to manager - seems very hard
25/06/2009 20:20



seems that I am stuck at consultant level even though I and also most of my supervisors really appreciate my sharp IQ and hard work. Generally in all projects that I worked so far I was the top most person who knows all technical details and desings, however, it seems that I am not able to convey that "manager material" feeling to SE or my manager. Any practical suggestions ? I have gone thru books like networking etc but not working well.

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#2 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
25/06/2009 21:31

zt to consultant (#1)

You'll only get promoted to manager if you're dispensable enough from the front-line that nobody will miss you (mediocre as a consultant) or if your firm actively needs to get you off the front line where you're a liability (you're terrible as a consultant). Good consultants get messed around until they get the message and leave.

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#3 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
26/06/2009 09:20

Cynic to zt (#2)

I too had that problem, and I think I now know what caused it.

Basically, when you join a firm at say age 21, you will forever afterwards be the 'newbie' in the eyes of your managers. When you get to 31, they still see you as the 'newbie', even though you're 50% older and now have 10 years experience under your belt, and in all probabilty are doing a totally different job to a totally different standard to when you first joined. Baggage is REALLY hard to shake off.

Some say that moving firms is the only solution. That way, you drop the baggage and get a new-founded respect within the company.

In other cases, some firms just don't "do" promotions. Sure, you get 4% here and 5% there every year, but when was the last time you ever saw anybody promoted? These firms just drag you back, bit by bit, until one day you wake up and realise you're paid 40% less than the ads for similar positions on

It's a tricky situation. Some will say "take on more responsibilities, be more proactive, and prove yourself!" The truth is, however, you're probably already doing all of that, and quite possibly well in excess of what can be expected from somebody on your paypacket.

I think the bottom line is to ask yourself whether you like where you are. If the firm is good in other ways, then consider staying. You can put up with bad colleagues, pressure, or low pay... but not all three simultaneously!

The acid test for me would be if I thought my managers were too self-centered or were doing anything with bad intentions (e.g. holding me back deliberately for whatever reason). As soon as I was 100% convinced of either one of those, I would be off like a bolt of lightning. To me, loyalty has to work both ways in order to be viable.

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#4 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
26/06/2009 09:38

Casio to Cynic (#3)

If Cynics points ring true and you think you're being unfairly held back, why not make it clear that you'll have no choice but to leave if the firm isn't prepared to support you in advancing your career? I'm sure they'll recognise some truth in your points if there is truth there.

However, Brilliant practitioner does not necessarily mean brilliant manager... if the firm are behaving the way they are for this reason - then fair enough!

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#5 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
29/06/2009 19:25

C3 to Casio (#4)

Be very clear and upfront with your line managers that you are looking to get promoted within the performance year, and need to build skills and experience in your role. 9/10 times managers will be very supportive, help shape the role to try and address any shortfalls in experience, and write supportive feedback.

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#6 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
30/06/2009 00:41

fb to C3 (#5)

The jump from analyst to manager can indeed be challenging. Generally you need demonstrate you can perform at a manager level before you get promoted to it. Therefore effectively you need to do two jobs - one the diligent analyst who has a firm grasp of the details etc, and the other a manager who is able to coordinate workstreams and think commercially. Good idea to speak to your line manager to see if they can carve out opportunities for you to step up on future projects. Generally best to wait for one that has a sensible timeline to give you a fighting chance.

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#7 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
30/06/2009 10:39

anon to fb (#6)

i agree with C3

ask what you need to do to get promoted and create a development plan to do it, then show them you have done this, it doesn't guarantee anything of course, but would help your case

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#8 RE: consultant to manager - seems very hard
30/06/2009 11:32

Mars A Day to consultant (#1)

A common problem it seems, and one well addressed by Cynic. It really does come down to entrenchment - as said elsewhere ad nauseum, you need to plan on a move every 3 - 5 years to maintain momentum: you should have 1 - 2 promotions within each firm before you level off and find it harder to move up again within that same firm. Making the initial leap from consultant to manager can be more difficult, and Cynic is absolutely right in saying that you may still be viewed as a newbie. My advice you have 2 options:

1. move to another firm, tell them you are anticipating promotion where you are so would be looking for either a promotion to join, or a clearly timescale on which you would be promoted subject to mutually agreed KPIs.

2. Get yourself slighly famous in your current firm. I suspect you are doing your job well, are generally liked on the front line, and seen to be a safe pair of hands. For good or bad (either can work) you need to shake this up to get the attention of those higher up the food chain. It's no good going to your SE and saying you want a promotion - you won't have their attention.

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