What is a consultant job all about? What are the working hours?
Signing Onboard the Enigma That is Consulting
So, just the other day I was helping Kamal with his school project and Iman asked me, "Daddy, what exactly do you do as a consultant?" Well, explaining that to a six-year-old might be a challenging task, but allow me to break it down for all you folks who might be just as quizzical as my daughter was.
A consultant, no matter the field, has the primary job to advise. Just like I advise my Persian cat Zoe not to climb up the curtains lest she wants Rufus, my French bulldog, to go berserk at the spectacle. But let’s not digress - as a consultant, you need an in-depth knowledge of your chosen niche. Businesses in need, either because of a problem they can't solve or for expansion plans, hire us to give right direction after analysing the situation. Our expertise is supposed to offer valuable and effective strategies for growth or resolution.
Marathon or Sprint? Understanding Consulting Hours
"Dad, when do you work?" Kamal one day asked me. Well, here's something funny, as a consultant, there is no defined 9-to-5 work schedule, contrary to Kamal's school and Iman's nap times. The working hours stretch as long as the problem you're solving exists. Remember how we all watched multiple episodes of that space cartoon in one go when the school was closed? Yeah, just like that, only work in this case isn't as fun as cuddling on the couch with my kids.
At times, you will find yourself shuffling through gruelling hours of racking your brain, diving deep into extensive research, and countless discussions with clients. And that doesn't even include travel time if you happen to consult for international clients. It's kind of like being a superhero, only without the fancy cape or the accolades, but with the satisfaction of problem-solving.
Genre or Ensemble? Navigating Various Types of Consulting Fields
Just like picking up a book from the shelf that suits your mood, as an aspiring consultant, you have the opportunity to select a field that aligns with your interests and strengths. Considering the industry's expansion, there are numerous fields to delve into. From financial and management consulting to IT, Human Resource (HR), and Engineering, it's as varied as the toys in Iman's playroom.
You need to figure out where your skills and professional inclination lie, just like how we find Rufus' favourite spots in the house, then build up your knowledge and expertise in that realm. Keep in mind that this might require additional educational qualifications or certification.
Life Beyond Charts and Brochures: Skills That Boost a Consulting Career
Okay guys, now here's a fun part. Being a consultant isn't all about being nerdy about statistics and crafting fancy reports (the way I like to organise the pantry, much to the amusement of my kids). It also requires a modicum of social skills. You must be genuinely interested in people and their stories because more often than not, those stories offer insights into business scenarios and problems. Ah, just like the time Kamal's tales about his school helped us find his lost toy.
Strong communication skills, an analytical mind, creativity, perseverance, and negotiation skills are some crucial personality traits that can make a notable difference in your consulting career. Along with that, being able to work under pressure, resilience in the face of challenges (think of how I coax my kids into eating vegetables), and quick adaptability are essential too.
Consulting as a Ticket Around the Globe
Being a consultant can also mean packing your bags and racking up air miles more often than your cat sheds hair (Yes Zoe, I'm looking at you!). International consultancy involves expanding your work to a global scale, collaborating across different cultures, understanding various markets, and working in different time zones at once (because the world wouldn't stop for my love of morning coffee).
While it may sound exciting, it also brings along its share of challenges like adapting to cultural differences, language barriers, and missing out on some quality family time. However, I've been lucky to balance that out with video calls to the kiddos, sharing stories of my adventures abroad with them, and of course, bringing home souvenirs.
Keeners and Naysayers: Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Consulting
Alright, coming to the last chapter, here's the real deal folks. Being a consultant is not always sunshine and roses (trust me, neither is raising a Persian cat and a French bulldog while managing a toddler and a teenager). There are ups and downs, but isn't that the case with every profession?
The good news is that consultancy offers vast opportunities for professional growth, bolsters your problem-solving capabilities, and often rewards you handsomely for your hard work. However, on the flip side, it can involve long hours, frequent travel (sorry Rufus), and high-pressure situations, just like dealing with those stubborn tangles in Zoe's fur. So before jumping into it, it’s advisable to weigh the pros and cons to determine if this career path is the right one for you.
In conclusion, similar to the thrill of being a dad to my awesome kids and handling the hilarious antics of my pets, being a consultant brings excitement, new challenges, and a sense of fulfilment in my life. I relish solving complex business issues, giving my clients the 'Aha!' moment, and in the end, witnessing them excel in their undertakings. And who knows, maybe Kamal or Iman may follow in my footsteps - they are already pretty good at advising me on how to play their video games!