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#52: Is Your Consulting Lifestyle Acceptable?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Maybe I am getting too old or changing my mind but the consulting lifestyle isn't what it used to be. Is this a common concern of consultants or is it just me?

Lifestyle is, and should, be a consideration of every consultant. Two points. First, just because a lifestyle once agreed with you doesn't mean it is right for you now. Second, consulting lifestyle can change with changes in markets and may change several times unless you adapt your practice to maintain a particular lifestyle.

When you started as a consultant, perhaps you were working for a large firm. Camaraderie, a social network, access to specialized team skills, moderate travel to great locations, and generous benefits might have been a big contributor to a great lifestyle. Then you moved up the ladder and, as a partner, hours, travel, and team interaction changed, so you decided to leave your firm, take your clients with you, and go out on your own. Lifestyle changes again but you select your clients to focus travel on interesting places, manage hours seasonally through teaming, and pick markets with fees to provide desirable fees and benefits.

Tip: This is not as easy for some of us as it sounds. It depends on how important lifestyle is compared to other aspects of your consulting career. What is the relative importance of lifestyle when compared to compensation, professional growth, intellectual satisfaction and other reasons you entered consulting as a profession? Look at your original plan to enter consulting and your decision criteria and weights. Are they the same or have they changed? How would your "lifestyle score" stack up now? If it is not what you want it to be, what do you need to do to get it back to where it needs to be? If your lifestyle is more than you expected and your other factors are not correspondingly suffering, then congratulations!

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting lifestyle  your consulting practice 

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