Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Consulting lifestyle issues

Consulting lifestyle issues - has anything changed?

Just recently got back from vacation and one of the most pleasant aspects of my holiday was not worrying whether I'd get disturbed by urgent calls from the office. Partly this is an acknowledgement of the trust I have in our talented team (thanks all) - but it particularly stood out as it's a degree of relaxation totally at contrast with my experiences as a consulting employee. Back then (pre-2000) interruptions to weekends and holidays were a major source of discontent - and indeed even the possibility of being disturbed was enough to take some of the shine off of one's free time.

During the hols I met up with a friend who's now leaving consulting for these very reasons. Whilst on holiday, a call came in asking what time his plane was touching down on his return. The consulting firm in question wanted to figure out if there was a way of having the consultant get home from holiday, pack things and be back out on a transatlantic flight to start work with a new client that same day (a weekend, incidentally). This got me thinking, have consultancies really not moved on at all in this respect?!

So I thought it would be an interesting exercise to test the water with you all. Do you still:

o have a problem in your office that consultants are disturbed whilst on holiday or go away on holiday uneasy at the prospect that they might be called?

o leave the office for the weekend either knowing that you've got to come back in over the weekend or dreading the fact that you're likely to get a call asking you to?

o find a long-hours culture prevails?

I'd be interested in your feedback, because I'm convinced that simple company policies on these issues would make consulting employees sleep a lot easier and would have negligible impact on client delivery if the senior team members knew that they had to adhere to these rules.

So what have your recent experiences been - do you still suffer from these types of problems? Any others you'd like to flag up too? Post your comments below - I'm looking forward to reading them! Thanks, Tony

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