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Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?

 
#1 Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
24/03/2010 22:59

Paul

Hello,

I'm interested in consulting but wanted to know a bit more about the travelling involved. Based on the comments here (and elsewhere) this seems to be one of the biggest complaints about consulting.

Can I check why this is the case? Is it because they send you to some random town in the middle of no where? Is it because of family commitments? Because you are always away from your loved ones? Or is it the travelling itself? I would have that that most consulting firms would treat their consultants well (i.e. business class travel, 4/5 star hotels, etc...). Is this actually the case?

Basically, if I am a single young man with no serious commitments, what is it about the travelling that's not to like?

Thanks.

Paul

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#2 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 07:46

Cynic to Paul (#1)

Here are a few reasons why, as a young man, I did not like travelling:

1. Travel abroad does not equal "holiday". You are there to work. You may as well be in Grimsby, except with the latter you don't have the hassle of having to get up at 3.30am on a Monday morning to do the 'red eye' to Hamburg.

2. Ever tried getting a gf or holding down a relationship (or any other friendships really) when your 'dating time' is limited to, well, Saturday only?

3. Some companies will expect you to work all night when you're working abroad - after all, there's "nothing else to do".

4. 4/5 star hotels soon lose their "shine" after a while, as does the "glamour" of sharing a plane every Monday morning and Friday night with the "type" of people that do that (sorry, but there certainly is a "type" - the kind of people who spend most of their salary on dining in overpriced city restaurants etc!).

5. Lack of stability and ability to plan your life. Being told by some old fart with hair growing out of his nose that you've got to go and live in China for the next 6 months is not, in my opinion, conducive to a young man laying down some healthy roots in his home country.

There are many many other reasons, but that's all for now.

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#3 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 08:03

anon to Cynic (#2)

Don't forget the health consequences that come with a prolonged period of travel - digestive problems, weight gain, IBS, etc. that come with eating only room service or takeaway, and working without break; sleep disorders that come with working all night and jetlag.

As well as expecting you to work all night because "there's nothing else to do", colleagues and partners in your home office will expect you to be available during all their working hours as well as those of your client in the host country. They will assume you are slacking off or taking a holiday if you are not available to write a proposal in the middle of the night in Sydney.

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#4 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 08:10

Blue Boy to anon (#3)

it is extremely difficult to maintain healthy friendships or a marriage with this lifestyle. Look at your older colleagues and marvel at the number of divorces and affairs

IBM is not known as Ive Been Married for nowt.

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#5 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 08:57

billum to Blue Boy (#4)

...and that's overseas, which at least has some superficial cachet to it. work in manufacturing or public sector in the UK and you'll likely end up in some godforsaken 'enterprise zone'. travel and hotel policy has tightened horribly in many firms too - you may well be travelling in your own time, second class, in a grotty hotel or even sharing a flat with a colleague. the worst projects are those where the client pays an all-in price, because then the travel & accom costs will be managed down hard in orde to improve the margin...

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#6 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 09:52

Mr Cool to billum (#5)

Yup, While working on a reasonable private sector project and staying in the Hyatt in a major, fun city, I was asked to qualify if the firm should respond to a tender to do some work for the Inland Revenue debt collection unit, based somewhere in the outer home counties.

The expense limit was 37.50 per night for hotels, 12.50 for evening meal and transport by taxi was not allowed on expenses.

Thankfully I worked for a decent firm and we qualified out, but I later met some folk from a firm that won the job. They were living four night a week in a Travelodge and would continue to do so for more than six months.

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#7 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 09:59

drone to Mr Cool (#6)

In the last three years I've spent big chunks of time in Colchester, Norwich, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Bristol and Hull.

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#8 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 12:02

Davey J to drone (#7)

I worked for PA for 3 years, covering such exotic spots as Coventry (next to a sewage works), Cumbria (near a nuclear power plant) and downtown Southampton. Worst 3 years of my life.

As consultancies grow, they can staff junior roles on international projects far more cost effectively using local resource, so the sort of travel you do will more likely be standard class on the train to Humberside, than a business class flight to Hamburg. All in your personal time too. No one works 543 any more.

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#9 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 13:03

emmerda to Davey J (#8)

I worked at a French consultancy who did their training at a central academy near Paris - great place. trouble was, they had the brainwave of starting and ending courses on the weekend - so you'd travel out on a Sat to start on the Sun and lose your entire weekend with no pay. and of course it didn't count towards your utilisation so you then had to work like a nutter to get your stats averaged back out ..... nice people.

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#10 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 13:40

Airmile Andy to emmerda (#9)

And then there are the airmiles......

So assuming you still have a partner, you'll often here, 'Let's spend some airmiles and go somewhere nice for the weekend!'

You'll love hearing that line, when you've spent two nights in the last ten in your own bed.

On a serious note, don't put off joining consulting because of the travel. Join, with your eyes open and get five years under your belt. Then move on.

I now find myself working for a global oil co, traveling when I want, in the comfortable part of the plane and the company accepts that travel reduces my effective working time. The advantage of having been on the road for five years is that I know how to turn that travel time into productive time, so I can out deliver my peers.

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#11 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
25/03/2010 14:53

Airmile Con to Airmile Andy (#10)

Don't forget that most airmile schemes are junk anyway. You have to travel like 100,000,000,000 miles before you can afford an off-peak economy flight to Dublin.

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#12 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
26/03/2010 09:55

terminal_bore to Airmile Con (#11)

Then you're doing it wrong. It's possible to earn enough BA miles a year to travel first class to the US, without actually doing any flying (by shopping at Tesco, for example).

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#13 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
27/03/2010 17:31

Sooper Trooper to terminal_bore (#12)

Really terminal_bore? Try using your airmiles to book anything. Unless you want to fly out a 5am on a Tuesday and have a return date on the following Thursday mid-day. They are completely inflexible and a con

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#14 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 13:01

ranker to Sooper Trooper (#13)

in your early years you can also work it if so minded to avoid having any permanent place of abode. a mate of mine spent almost two years living out of hotels/friends/parents without paying out a penny in rent.... just depends how desperate you are for money over lifestyle - typically a function of age!

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#15 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 14:45

terminal_bore to Sooper Trooper (#13)

If you say so, Sooper Trooper. In the last 3 years I have been to South Africa twice, California & the Caribbean using BA miles to travel in business. Works for me, but of course YMMV.

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#16 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 15:10

BA to terminal_bore (#15)

I tried to fly with BA once. All he said was "I ain't getting on no plane fool!"

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#17 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 15:35

Air Miles Lover to BA (#16)

Sooper Trooper you are very wrong. I used my air miles (amassed doing consulting work in different parts of the world) for my ten-day honeymoon in Istanbul, a week in Egypt and two long weekends in mainland Europe. Only one of the long weekends was a problem as our first choice was not available but our second choice was.

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#18 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 15:52

Greeny to Air Miles Lover (#17)

Typical of socially irresponsible consultancy companies encouraging people to pump as much CO2 into the environment as they can

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#19 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 16:16

Air Miles Lover to Greeny (#18)

Oh Greeny. Your naivety is so beautiful to see. Would you rather developing countries didn't get help from the more developed countries? Or is your solution to get experts to swim to Africa etc? Or maybe we could use videoconferencing so we never actually have to leave our own country? There would be a slight downside as it would mean not being able to speak to lots of people and see the problems first hand but hell, what does that matter.

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#20 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 16:18

Air Miles Lover to Greeny (#18)

Oh Greeny. Your naivety is so beautiful to see. Would you rather developing countries didn't get help from the more developed countries? Or is your solution to get experts to swim to Africa etc? Or maybe we could use videoconferencing so we never actually have to leave our own country? There would be a slight downside as it would mean not being able to speak to lots of people and see the problems first hand but hell, what does that matter.

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#21 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 16:25

Air Miles Lover to Greeny (#18)

Oh Greeny. Your naivety is so beautiful to see. Would you rather developing countries didn't get help from the more developed countries? Or is your solution to get experts to swim to Africa etc? Or maybe we could use videoconferencing so we never actually have to leave our own country? There would be a slight downside as it would mean not being able to speak to lots of people and see the problems first hand but hell, what does that matter.

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#22 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 16:55

Greeny to deleted (#0)

Somehow I don't think a consulting team charging £000's per day to some poor African company in return for a few flashy powerpoints that mostly state the obvious is gonna help them much!

Another example of the industry's dubious ethics!

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#23 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 16:58

Air Miles Lover to deleted (#0)

Oh Greeny. Sweeping generalisations to add to your general naivety. In all the projects I did overseas I didn't produce a single powerpoint presentation. My fees weren't in the £000s per day. Every project I did produced a tangible improvement in people's lives.

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#24 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
29/03/2010 17:29

Greeny to Air Miles Lover (#23)

OK but just wanted to make sure we all appreciate the importance of the environment etc

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#25 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
30/03/2010 17:46

anon to Greeny (#24)

"environment etc"?

surely you mean "environment, blah, blah blah, drone, drone"

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#26 RE: Travelling and consulting - is it that bad?
07/04/2010 22:04

AlStAl to drone (#7)

Did a project for a steel industry client once.

Scunthorpe, Newport (S Wales), Rotherham, Teesside, wait, it gets better: Luxembourg, Belgium.. and back to Newport.

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