Making the Leap: Tackling the Move to Consulting

February 17, 2016 by FlexPro

Traditions and customs in the American workplace exist for any number of reasons.  Cost-efficiency, privacy, leadership style, and personal preference shaped office norms that went largely unchanged for the last half-century.  Business was good and the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” led to the same job arrangement we touch on each week:

Lock down a secure position, survive corporate climate changes, advance according to plan, ride off into the retirement sunset.

For many working class Americans, the common career plot was, and continues to be, enough to accomplish professional goals while funding personal pursuits.  However, the last decade has seen the foundation supporting the status quo shift beneath those who constructed a life upon its stability.  The same drivers that held together office culture for the latter half of the 20th century – cost strategy, steady technological progress, and communication strategies – have developed drastically.

Those alterations, among other key changes, have given rise to the age of consulting and the ‘Hollywood Model.  Short-term work arrangements, project-based employment, and subject-matter experts are beginning to replace traditional standards.  And while a portion of the workforce can welcome or at least accept change, particularly if it’s good for business, a landscape shift can draw opposition from others.

Outside of natural resistance to change, the idea of consulting comes with the perception of instability – jumping from one opportunity to the next or being relegated to as-needed employment.  It would appear that consulting jeopardizes the very security that served as a building block for generations.  In practice, that could not be further from the truth.

Embracing the idea of consulting is part of accepting a larger truth about the modern American workplace.  Plainly stated, a feeling of job security is not nearly what it once was.  According to Forbes, an individual will stay in the same professional role for less than five years with millennials clocking in at half of that, just above two years.  And as the youngest grouping begins to mature, office norms are likely to follow.

Where does this leave an employee putting in a consistent nine-to-five shift each day?  With a world of possibility, of course.

As ‘job-hopping’ continues its rise in popularity, it forces us to consider the need to be proactive with career choices instead of reactive to career changes.  If statistics show that professional roles are becoming shorter in duration, a willingness to adapt surfaces.  Consulting, whether it is for a boutique firm or corporate giant is a natural transition that often matches traditional employee care while actively searching for new engagements and unique challenges.

Making the leap ahead of the curve is a daunting prospect for any employee regardless of age or level of experience.  But as the undeniable shift in traditional employment continues, taking control of professional aspirations through early action may lead to a far better ending for all.

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