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Is this really what consulting is like?

 
#1 Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 12:59

wondering

OK - please go easy on me guys, it's my first post. Just wanted to get some ideas from similar people:

Background:

I started life as a graphic designer / web designer freelancer after I graduated. Got a few good contracts but wanted stability, applied to a grad scheme at a big IT company, in their 'business services' division. Was already a bit older than most of the recruits, Spent 2 years operating as in ' internal ' business change consultant, where I ended up managing teams doing process improvement projects. Did pretty well. Ended up on a central team, building content for global process improvements.

Felt natural that I should move to the actual consulting arm of our business, and so I did. ( I had to apply externally, and got in at consultant level) I got a pay rise from this, which was great.

From day one, things were very different to what I expected. Because I had apparently worked in IT, (though actually I was more of a buisness change guy) I was sent straight to work as a requirements analyst, in an IT team. Realised that 'consultant' was actually a pretty junior role. I'm fortunate that I manage to hit the ground on most things, and my web background has helped.

The trouble is, I'm stuck in these kind of roles. I've now got a total of 4 years 'consulting' experience on paper, the trouble is that this is not actually what I've been doing. I've progressed internally to the next level up, but personally I don't feel I've progressed at all.

It feels like most IT based consultancies actually delivery very little business consultancy, and are more about filling roles with relatively competent people , and as long as you bring in the day rates, you will progress internally.

I am now in a position where It was too long ago since I was a web designer, I did 2 years of processimprovement and business transformation, and 2 years of pretty much excel spreadsheet monkey activity. How can I position myself for anything now? Ideally I'd love to move back into industry in some kind of digital leadership role, but I don't have enough of that, same with business change, and I've been out of the web game for too long to be a fully fledged creative in a tweed jacket.

My question 1 : Is this what consultancy is, just 'doing what you need to do' so that you bring in the revenue?

I fully accept that I am a bit of a pushover sometimes, and I haven't been pushy enough in demanding the roles - but it seems lots of people are in the same position. If I'm honest, I feel like all it's done is muddy the water, make me a generalist, and really stuck in a rut.

Thoughts? Help!

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#2 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 13:38

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to wondering (#1)

According to the thread "Transitioning from a Medical Doctor to Management Consultant", consultancy is in fact nothing like what you have experienced. Consultancy is all about hob-nobbing with Bill Gates and having supper with Martha Lane-Fox, maybe occasionally acting as "trusted advisor" to David Cameron on exotic business trips and getting paid handsomely for it too. Absolutely nothing at all to do with churning out powerpoints and acting as a data monkey for ungrateful public sector middle-management as you do anything you can do to keep that utilisation percentage high (else get canned).

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#3 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 13:39

marsday to wondering (#1)

Welcome to consultancy - or any work really. Finding meaningful work is actually the preoccupying challenge of the last generation or two, and it's a good start.

Finally people are coming around (again) to the notion that intrinsic value to work is as important as financial rewards (and possibly, for some, more so).

Moving out of this situation you find yourself in will be a matter of identifying the transferable skills you have acquired, and presenting them in a different, relevant way - once you have decided what you want to do next. As mundane and routine as your experience might feel, you have probably learn a lot of new skills - you just need to identify them. Once you have that you can effectively put a wrapper round your consulting experience and move out into one of the new gen agencies, or look to move across into the more relevant 'digital transformation' type teams which are looking at how organisations move to an omnichannel model. Your consulting experience, in making this move, simply acts as an assurance point - you know how to move process around, work in matrix etc. The rest is as much about inclination as it is hard experience.

I don't think you have been a pushover (your word) at all - you seem to be someone who is very proactive in making the things happen which you want to happen. you've done it before (with less experience/value) you can do it again.

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#4 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 14:08

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#3)

mars is right!

one quick question (serious one actually)... how do I do a "flood fill" in photoshop CS5? i can't work out how to use this darn thing

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#5 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 14:42

a07 to wondering (#1)

A friend of mine was in a similar situation; granted he started in consultancy first then did a web development course.

He's now a product manager - you could do this role in industry or @ startup's who often partner with consultancies anyway. I can see all of your experience coming in handy; worth reviewing if its the sort of role you might enjoy.

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#6 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 16:49

wondering to a07 (#5)

Thank you guys, really nice to hear this helpful feedback.

- Intrinsic value, really interesting point. I think being in consultancy is making me seek this even more. I yo-yo from taking a sabbatical and going to do charity work, through to seeking that next promotion for more money! Really is difficult.

The thing is, we do get paid quite well! So I've tried to offset this by using my money to do really cool things in the background, I started an online business etc.

- On the product manager role, that's the one thing I see and think I could do in industry, so really interesting that you mentioned it. I doubt my ability too much and it's good to hear that's the role that came to mind too...

Oh well - we continue on, with the excel......

:)

Interested to hear other experiences!

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#7 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 16:56

wondering to wondering (#6)

Flood fill ..it's the paint bucket with the paint coming out of it :) but you probably have the pallete turned off, go to window..palletes...fills..I think that's it:)

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#8 RE: Is this really what consulting is like?
10/07/2014 16:57

Rollercoaster to wondering (#6)

Can you get onto web business projects in your current firm? Sounds like you would be well qualified. Then you could become more credible to go back into industry at a decent level. There are a fair few jobs in the media industry but as you mention - pay may be lower.

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