Sunday, September 9, 2007


And off we are again to the Provinces. Even though consulting is famous for sending its employees wherever the customer may be (and it doesn't matter whether it's Sydney, Australia or Sydney, OH), not every project is as inconveniently located as this. Hence, on Sunday nights it's hard to suppress the thought, Why Me?

Yeah, why? Ask staffing. Towards the end of each project there's this placement routine familiar to everyone in the business. The nice person from staffing calls and asks, very nicely, what project you'd like to work on next. If you have any consulting savvy at all, you'll start by pointing out that a) the last three assignments were in places no educated person could find on any map, b)the topic had nothing, but nothing whatever to do with your preferences and expertise, and c) the promised four weeks turned into four months each time. Staffing person will say, with a voice dripping of honey and goodwill, that she (in my case) knows and that she'll find you something really good this time by way of compensation.

Great, you say cunningly, I'd like something in consumer goods, how about media. About six weeks, so that I can take my holiday in time. And ideally in (wherever you're located).

You'll like this, says staffing person sweetly. I've got exactly the thing for you. Steel industry. Michigan. About four months, but possibly half a year.

How's that got anything to do with what I want?, you scream.

It's all I have, says staffing person. Start next Monday. Sorry.

Then reactions vary. Some suck it up and suffer in silence. Some keep bothering staffing, every day, weeks after the project has started. Some lodge a complaint with a partner. Some, after too many experiences of this sort, decide to quit. The threat of which has, if the person in case was good, in some rare instances magically produced that desired media project. Or so rumour has it. I haven't seen it happening myself.


Anonymous said...

Yea, but at the end of the day provided large amounts of cash are still rolling into your bank account and the expenses continue to be, shall we say pretty generous and not curtailed, then who really cares where it is you get posted!

The time to worry is when the postings stop and its on the bench for you my lad! Then things have really got bad.

Covert said...

In a way you're right, of course. Even though there is a lot of complaining these days that consulting salaries don't keep up with the competition, I still think we are being paid very generously.

But, see, job satisfaction is about more than paycheques. Social environment, balance between private and professional life, and (to use a somewhat cheesy term) the meaningfulness of what you do matter too. No?

Anonymous said...

Happened to me all the time and actually no money can compensate for being in a s***hole town all week with nothing to do apart from work, gym and eat. Unfortunately worklife balance only exists in recruitment brochures.