I've recently started working in management consulting for one of the big 4 in the UK (graduate programme), but I've quickly realised that this probably isn't going to work out for me.
I've had a couple of relaxed projects where I've been able to do my contracted 7 hour days and that was fine, but now I'm on more traditional stuff which leaves me fuming when I can't leave until 7/8pm. It would probably help if I enjoyed the work, but it's pretty vacuous most of the time. There are other people on the scheme working until 11pm, and I have no idea how they cope. Talking to other people, I've begun to realise that they value the social life, the variety, and the travel opportunities - none of which I care about in the slightest. I'd be perfectly happy to sit at a desk quietly every day!
The thought occurs that I'm in the wrong industry, but I had an uncharacteristically good project as an intern so was a little misled. Additionally, I'm bothered by the constant insecurity of where you might be working next week/next month, and the endless networking to make sure you get a project that suits and then having it blow up in your face... I'm struggling to see the attraction right now.
Question is, is it realistic to think that I could earn similar money doing something less stressful, and with the potential for increasing my salary in the future? And if so, is it realistic to think that you could move into something after only 18-24 months and one promotion?
A few people in the job have mentioned to me that attrition rates on our graduate programmes can be around 50%, and a lot of people leave for banks, where you can double your salary at a stroke. I'm not so sure about the latter, and if it is true then I'm certain it's not going to be a 9-5.
As things stand, I'm definitely going to stick at this, but I'm not sure I can do without an exit strategy in mind.