Consultant Thursdays: The Not So Glamorous Life
So why am I posting a Consultant Thursday blog late? Just because I haven’t posted in two weeks, I haven’t lost track of time. I just think the reason for my absence is a good blog topic: Burn Out. I’ve been juggling four different projects for the last two months. In order to make it work, I had to be very disciplined, efficient, and organized. My calendar was color blocked from 8:00 a.m. til 11:00 p.m on most days. If something doesn’t go according to plan, or if there’s a shift in schedule, then I’d work until the wee morning hours. There were a couple of days where I worked a straight 14 hours, sleep 3 hours, then get up and do it again. There are also days where I did nothing to give my brain a rest.
This is not out of the ordinary, really. It’s just part of being a consultant.
Projects never come in a steady rate. It’s either feast or famine. When times are good, you juggle multiple projects. You have to be able to switch gears from one moment to the next; all the requirements and production issues competing for attention in your head.
So why don’t I just turn down work?
I never turn down projects where:
- The team is stellar
- I have a chance to learn something new
- There’s an opportunity to develop a new relationship with a high profile company.
When you work for yourself, every relationship, everything you do is a business development opportunity.
Hearing all this talk about my crazy life as a consultant, most people would say why I do it. I don’t mind working hard as long as I’m learning. The money is good, but it’s not about the money for me. The sole reason why I am a contractor is because I own my time. I can work really hard when it counts. When there is down time, I can truly give my brain a rest, have the luxury of researching creative solutions, and not dwell in bureaucracy land. Or I can just take two weeks off without filling out a vacation request.
I believe that you have to work hard to be lucky. It’s a lot like karma.
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