When Should You Quit Management Consulting?

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Many professionals flirt with the idea of being consultant. They are ready to step out of their full time employment just to successfully break into the lucrative world of consulting. However, being a guru for hire seems to be a temporary gig, as consultants tend to quit consulting at some point. When and why?

Reasons Why Consultants Leave

There are many valid reasons why consultants want to leave a prestigious industry. Let’s dig into these reasons.

Better Hours

While consulting firms say they are pro work-life balance, the truth is consultants tend to be workaholic, especially the senior leaders. Yes, consultants can enjoy flexibility of the work, however, many may find it very hard to find the “off” switch for work. Most professionals in this field find it hard to have work-life balance even if their schedule is flexible as they tend to work far longer hours than regular employees.

No matter how many vacation days or flexible work schedules are offered, consultants are going to work as much as possible. That’s the nature of the job – it’s inevitable.

Less Pressure in Work Environment

As a consultant you’ll work in a challenging and very stressful environment. For some people, they find it really rewarding – that affecting positive change is worth the high level of stress. But for others, particularly who have been in the industry for a while, working longer hours and enduring more stressful deadlines than most of their peers can be really draining.

That’s why many consultants welcome the relief of quitting consulting for a regular job that really values a sustainable pace.

Short-term Work Engagements

You’ll most likely not to get bored as a consultant as there’s always variety in terms of work engagements. Constant change is part of a consulting career. However, this aspect may be considered unfavorable for others.

If you’re the type of person who value long-term relationships, then this aspect could be unfavorable for you as consultants jump from one job to another. But if you’re the kind of person who thrives with constant challenges and change, you will be much happier as consultant. As a consultant, you’ll be constantly exposed to different people and cultures. This can be either exciting or wearisome depending on your personality.

Too Much Travel

Consultants tend to spend so much time traveling, while this may sound exciting your work-life balance may be greatly compromised. When you travel a lot you’ll find it harder to maintain a healthy relationship with your family and friends. Consulting is a life full of travel and cocktails as well as and hard work and independence – a life that is most ideal for young, single individuals who are extremely focused on career. That’s why those who don’t fall into those categories often opted to leave consulting.

Entrepreneurial Bug

After spending some time around entrepreneurs, many consultants begin to realize that they definitely don’t want to work at a big company as a long-term career. In fact, there are plenty of entrepreneurial executives with time in consulting

Many who feel that they’re stuck in the consulting rut, opted to join a startup. Through this, you’ll have considerably more ownership of the business as well as your day-to-day activities and career path. You’ll have the chance not only to build a great product, but a great company.

Many consultants who quit and started their own companies felt the need to create their own brand as well as increase the created value going into their pockets.

The Non-tangibles

There are many non-tangible benefits to working as an average employee that you don’t usually get as a consultant. For instance, you may work on a consulting project for six months, collaborating with team members around the globe in four languages. And when the project becomes a success, the team of people you’ve been working with had a big party, and your manager got a promotion. However because you’re a consultant, you simply have to move on to the next project – without getting an invite, kudos, pats on the back or high fives. A simple “thank you” is all there is and you are off to the next client.

Now, many clients will make you feel like you’re a real part of their team, but that’s not the point. The point is sometimes, a big paycheck doesn’t feel like an enough reward when you’ve dedicated a great deal of effort. But as a consultant, the only thing you’re really entitled to is a paycheck. This is another reason why many consultants quit after a certain amount of time.

Things to Watch out for Before Leaving Consulting

Although there are plenty of valid reasons why a consultant would leave the industry, it is important to be careful in making such decision as well. You see, many people fall into the “grass is greener” fallacy. Remember, it’s easier to focus on the negative side of your current experience. When you are comparing consulting to a path that eliminates those pain points, make sure you don’t ignore the different issues you might face in the near future.

For instance, ask yourself if you are ready to surrender autonomy? If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like anyone else exercising control over what you do, then being a regular employee may not be the best option after consulting. You may just opt to join a startup instead.

Another thing to carefully analyze is the difference between your proposed compensation and what you’re currently making. You just can’t simply take your annual consulting revenue as a benchmark for your regular employee salary.

Moreover, even though a consultant is much easier to fire, that hardly happens with all of your clients all together. And realize that as an employee you’re committing more of your future success to the fortunes of just one company.

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