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On the bench. Very anxious

 
#1 On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 11:57

KeenBeans1450

Does being on the bench make you anxious?

I am on the bench at the moment and really fills me with anxiety. A lot of anxiety.......is this something any of you suffer from? How do you deal with it?

Thanks

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#2 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 12:07

Frio to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

Not spent a lot of time on the bench.

I would deal with it by spending the time working my network to make sure I get on a project that I would like to do rather than being told by HR which project to go on.

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#3 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 12:18

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Frio (#2)

Yes, being on the bench used to make me anxious.

As somebody who is not senior in the company (I assume), you have little control over whether or not you end up on the bench.

In hindsight, I would have used bench time to look for a better job.

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#4 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 12:23

noctilucus to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

Not anxious but very quickly bored, most of the jobs you get assigned when you're on the bench are mind-numbing and don't teach you much.

I do remember during my first few years in consulting that the first time I ended up on the bench, it did make me anxious.

It depends a bit whether it is a general thing (e.g. during economic downturn or might be a direct result of how your firm works) or whether you are one of the unlucky few.

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#5 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 12:30

KeenBeans1450 to noctilucus (#4)

Thanks a lot for the replies.

As you can tell, I am a bit junior (3 years experience) in the grand scheme of things. The anxiety is really getting to me and can overwhelm if I am not careful enough.......

I am relatively new to the team so have been networking to establish connections and raise my profile. Networking is a theme I have picked up in your replies in terms of how to get off the bench.

What I have been doing is going to all team events, and also emailing seniors and setting up quick 15 minute sessions with them to introduce myself and build a connection.

Am I doing it wrong? is there a better way? Tips all hugely appreciated from all of you.

Thanks

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#6 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 12:59

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to KeenBeans1450 (#5)

No, you're not doing anything wrong.

When you're on the bench, there will always be people who will want you to do stuff for them "for free" so to speak, but don't fall for it. Be pleasant and help out here and there but don't end up being used as a project resource unless you're actually "on the project" and can clock your time against it. You don't wanna go working long hours only to find out that at appraisal time it was a waste of time and won't be counted.

Being on the bench is dreadful. It makes you feel abandoned and you start to wonder how long you can "get away with doing nothing" even though actually you just want to do an honest job and have some security.

Use the time to your personal advantage. If you get even the SLIGHTEST whiff of "cuts" possibly being made, and you're on the bench, then get applying for other jobs asap.

It's this sort of staffing model in consultancy that's enough to give a trainee IBS.

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#7 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 14:01

supersoul to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#6)

Worst thing about bench time is getting dragged into urgent sales work when they expect a 20 hour working day with potentially no recognition for your efforts.

Best to try to make the best of it with a bit of a lay in, some training if so inclined, and a bit of networking to get a better role next time and before the scheduler gets hold of you.

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#8 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 14:22

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to supersoul (#7)

Yeah, supersoul hit the nail on the head there about the urgent sales proposal. I remember those, they sucked bigtime. You really want to avoid getting dragged into that sort of $hit when you're on the bench. As he says, use the time to have a lie-in and brush up your CV, not to slog away on someone else's proposal which you'll get blamed for if they don't win it.

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#9 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 17:10

KeenBeans1450 to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)

Thanks everyone. Really helped to calm me down. I can't believe I am getting so worked up about something like this.

I'm going to ramp up the networking and just brush up on training to keep things fresh. And also make sure I am visible. The energy for all of this is more than being on an actual project itself sometimes...!

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#10 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 21:31

Richthekeeper to KeenBeans1450 (#9)

I think the approach to being on the bench depends on the current utilisation among your team. If the average is above 75% there's nothing to worry about - it's just about timing. This close to Christmas none of the senior guys are really trying to sell work and nobody is buying anyway.

Of course if your team utilisation is in the 40% range you might want to consider whether there's a better avenue for you to follow...

I'm lucky enough to be in a team that's highly in demand at the moment so a week or two on the bench wouldn't be a concern right now.

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#11 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
05/12/2014 23:54

Rollercoaster to KeenBeans1450 (#9)

If you get so anxious on the Bench - why put yourself in that situation? Apply for an in-house consulting position instead. No bench.

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#12 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
07/12/2014 23:18

Anon MCs to Rollercoaster (#11)

Hi KeenB,

Don't worry, a Bench is part and parcel of Consulting work. Remember that without a bench (of some kind or size), then Consultancies would struggle to fill new work!

It is all off course, about length of time on it and when you join it... people are let go for staying on the bench too long while others join it with no worries, taking a bit of a welcome break and then going to the next big programme.

Your networking does become important here, but for me its key that you "smell out" what is going on:

Has the work dried up and now the firm is thinking of letting newbies go?

What are a couple of the hot programmes coming up and who is the owning Partner / Senior guys on it that you can chat to? and so on...

My strategy when our programme was closing - began network chats with the guys running the new big programmes coming up through the pipeline. That way you get to help shape it

Best of luck and don't worry, find those programmes and talk to the Leads

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#13 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
08/12/2014 09:52

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Anon MCs (#12)

You could do what a colleague of mine used to do and say in the office until 1am every night when on the bench, updating and re-writing presentations and reports for clients where the project had ended 12 months ago.

I was glad to see the back of her.

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#14 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
08/12/2014 14:04

Frio to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#13)

Following on from this , I would like to add one thing. When you're networking, speaking to people about future roles then do not make yourself a nuisance. Remember they have their day jobs to do.

Try to find the balance between chasing and pestering.

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#15 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
08/12/2014 14:11

Smithy to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

Rennie Deflatine helps.

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#16 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
09/12/2014 14:49

KeenBeans1450 to Smithy (#15)

Thanks, appreciate the replies.

Overall, utilisation for the department is high. I try to keep my ears peeled as much as possible, but even then, I can't sniff out any talk of potential redundancies or anyone being managed out.

I think I am just a little unlucky as two projects I was supposed to start on got delayed and are probably not happening now. And it's hard to find anything to join for this short period of time leading up to Christmas.

I'm hoping another project I have lined up for January will kick off when I am back in the New Year.

In the mean time I have been setting up some potential opportunities internally, to give myself something to do, to increase my knowledge/capabilities and also work closely with senior people to build my network and profile.

I am very conscious of not pestering people and being a pain! It's definitely a balance, so I make sure I do not chase after the same people repeatedly!

I was just getting really anxious about the bench because someone senior made what was (I hope!) an offhand, throwaway comment that I don't seem to be seen around much...which freaked me out about my visibility!

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#17 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
09/12/2014 17:15

supersoul to KeenBeans1450 (#16)

It might just be mind games about visibility... lol

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#18 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
10/12/2014 12:45

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to supersoul (#17)

Yeah, this senior guy sounds like a really nice person - not. Put him on your "tw@t" list and move on.

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#19 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
14/12/2014 21:58

tommys to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

Does being on the bench make you anxious?

I am on the bench at the moment and really fills me with anxiety. A lot of anxiety.......is this something any of you suffer from? How do you deal with it?

Thanks

i have not been on bench for years...but when i do get on bench i love it! there is no need to get anxious, being on bench is part of consulting. take time out, set your objectives, get on training, do things that you couldn't do when on a role.

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#20 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
15/12/2014 10:43

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to tommys (#19)

I think it also depends on the company. At one place where I used to work, being on the bench as a junior consultant was terrifying. You basically just got lost in the system, somehow on the payroll but seemingly forgotten by the company... watching your friends get all of their end-of-project appraisals and clocking up billable hours on their timesheets while you just sat there doing general reading and, basically, nothing of any use. Come appraisal time... BAM, you're in the crosshairs... which is a scary place to be when you're an insecure youngster with a big mortgage...

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#21 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
15/12/2014 11:56

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#20)

BEP,

Come on its not that bad. You get to relax a bit while looking for the next role.

Absolutely can't just sit there, need to sniff out the programmes needing resources and talk to the "movers and shakers" for those programmes.

He will be off the bench in no time.

By the way Keen, it does help if you are a high performer and your Manager in the previous role thinks highly of you.

If you did an ok job and prefer 9-5 hours, then a bench plus managing out may be an issue

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#22 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
16/12/2014 09:03

The Dali Lamaof Management Consulting to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

Be proactive.

Speak to managers, directors and partners.

Outline you have some capacity at moment and are keen to do some billable work. If there isn't any, offer to help develop internal training material, thought leadership or contribute to any proposals.

If you've exhausted all these options you can explore options inter state and there's always option of taking some leave.

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#23 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
28/12/2014 14:01

Camster to The Dali Lamaof Management Consulting (#22)

You know that you're on the bench.

So..... get your effin ar$e off it and do something about the predicament you find yourself in!

Best wishes for 2015.

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#24 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
30/12/2014 13:46

crayola to Camster (#23)

It's comments like camsters that add to people's anxiety whilst being on the bench...

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#25 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
02/01/2015 14:08

Camster to crayola (#24)

It's comments like camsters that add to people's anxiety whilst being on the bench...

If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the damn kitchen!

The OP has 3 years of experience. That's enough time to know what one should do if on the bench.

When on a project, if it's coming to an end, any consultant worth his or her salt would already put out feelers to get on a new project. Unless, say, he or she had been working flat out the past 12 months continuously and could use a bit of a break.

When one poses a question like this, it is always best to give it context. Are you newly on the bench? Or twiddling thumbs for a few months? What sort of outfit? Big 4? Smaller one? An quick overview of your skills, so ppl can tell you if in demand or not, etc.

So there! To answer the OP's original post......

Anxiety? It depends how long I have been warming the bench. I deal with it by getting myself on a project, getting a new job, getting on a training programme, etc.

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#26 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
02/01/2015 14:09

Camster to Camster (#25)

But if I'm honest, my first thought would be to get laid. That definitely takes care of anxiety.

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#27 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
02/01/2015 17:37

marsday to Camster (#26)

But if I'm honest, my first thought would be to get laid. That definitely takes care of anxiety.

...just so long as 'Peformance Improvement' isn't mentioned..

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#28 RE: On the bench. Very anxious
03/01/2015 11:25

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#27)

But what about the nerdy consultants

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