One Size Fits All: Four Different Professional Personalities That Fit in the Consulting World
July 8, 2015 by FlexPro
No matter where you are in your career, the idea of moving up the traditional corporate ladder has permeated your plan at some point. “Entry level, manager, director” with a few promotions in between plays like a record on repeat for much of working America, allowing employees to set goals and benchmark their performance across all industries. But in the past ten years, many professionals have started to change that well-known tune to something a little more modern.
Making the jump to a free-flowing consulting role can be viewed as a leap of faith. After all, it is a bold departure from the safety of the plan generations observed by the contemporary worker. As we outlined last week, a complete redistribution of the work-life balance lies on the other side of the fence, along with several other key benefits.
But is there a right time to throw caution to the wind and accept a consulting position as a full-time career?
This week, we take a look at the ideal candidates for the consulting world, and the range may be wider than you could have imagined. Whether you are fresh out of school with unbridled enthusiasm or can see retirement approaching on the horizon, a consulting career may be the best path you can travel on your professional journey.
The Young Upstart
Millennials. Postgrads. Young Professionals. Call them whatever you’d like, but the next wave diving into the corporate world are a fast-talking, quick-thinking bunch that consumes information more rapidly than ever before. Consulting may be based on providing expertise to an existing client, but it’s also a swifter way to learn about the inner workings of more cross-functional areas than a recent college graduate would ever receive in a normal static position.
The new hire may not be able to provide the same level of knowledge as a senior level director, but consulting in a support role can bring a shot of enthusiasm and willingness to dig in to a project simply to learn more. Consulting with just a few years of experience can ultimately lead to a deeper level of industry understanding well ahead of the curve and develop a balanced professional in the early stages of a career.
The Professional Parent
Over the past century, cultural shifts have swept the working world and forced employment options to adapt to budding classes of professionals. Chief among them are the professional parents, a group that is no longer required to choose between raising a family and building a career. However, short of taking an initial leave from a traditional job, there remain limited ways in which a parent can maintain that same balance as children grow and require continuous care.
Part-time consulting is becoming a popular answer to the tough question surrounding how to balance your career calling with family demands. Industry expertise has been well-formed by the time children enter the fold, but it takes a special type of arrangement in order to share that with a client. Consulting on a limited basis can offer the freedom and flexibility at work that accomplishing goals outside of the office often warrants.
The Static Supervisor
The next rung on the corporate ladder typically supervises those mentioned above. With a little seasoning, the manager or director level employee now oversees those aspiring to reach their position one day as a part of the traditional career cycle. But it is that same oversight, combined with previous technical experience, which makes this employee an ideal candidate for a more mobile role in the consulting world.
Though the risk may be the largest at this point when considering a withdrawal from the stability of a routine and schedule, consulting can add years on to your career while giving you time to enjoy some of the finer things of a personal life. A manager or director may feel obligated to work long hours to maintain job security, and it may come at the cost of missing a soccer practice or family dinner. Consulting is an attractive option for those who want to keep a competitive salary while taking back some of their lost time with the family.
The Seasoned Veteran
Having spent nearly their entire career having success within the confines of the traditional job arrangement, employees who can see retirement in their future have both a sense of relief and fear as they approach the end of the professional cycle. Visions of relaxation clash with worries of boredom and financial constraints, despite having saved over the course of a fruitful career. The right consulting opportunity may be the answer to the perfect balance.
Years of expertise and an “I’ve seen it all” attitude remain beneficial to nearly any situation in a given industry. A veteran presence on a project, no matter the length, is accompanied by a feeling of stability and team preparation that would otherwise be absent. Remaining professionally active on your terms while still being able to support a personal lifestyle is a real option through emerging workplace trends, even if an entire career has been spent on the other side.