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Old 08.06.2011, 21:29
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Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

Hello,

I am trying to figure out if working as a consultant in IT field would suit me or not and hoping to get some help here. In my case it would be working as a permanent employee in a consulting company. I worked for 15 years in a big company and didnt have many changes within the working environment and colleagues. Obviously working as a consultant in projects would mean that colleagues would be my clients and would change whenever a new project starts. And because they are clients, i have to "represent" all the time and be more careful what to say. I guess this means more strict dress code (a suit)? Also often i guess i would not have an own place and would have to sit wherever i find space...Is there anything else worth to think about?
Thanks a lot!
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Old 08.06.2011, 21:42
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

For me it depends on if you are really a consultant or more of an interim worker.

As a consultant it's great, new projects, more challenges, insight into the deeper working of the company, etc. etc.

If you are really an interim worker it can be difficult to get people to do what you need them to do as you have zero authority (you're an outsider easily removed) and you are often excluded from company stuff when the person next to you is included and both of you are doing the same job.
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Old 08.06.2011, 21:42
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

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Obviously working as a consultant in projects would mean that colleagues would be my clients and would change whenever a new project starts. And because they are clients, i have to "represent" all the time and be more careful what to say. I guess this means more strict dress code (a suit)? Also often i guess i would not have an own place and would have to sit wherever i find space...Is there anything else worth to think about?
I wouldn't be worrying too much about what you've listed. Expensive consultants always get a desk!
Worry more about the travel, living in hotels, not having any social life during the week, long hours, unpaid overtime, ridiculous time lines, being sold out as an expert in a field you know little about etc, etc, etc. That's the dark side of consulting.
On the plus side, the money is ok, you're removed mostly from politics at the clients, you rarely have more than one job to do, projects end and you can kiss goodbye to the current a-holes and say hello to the new ones.
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Old 08.06.2011, 21:48
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

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I wouldn't be worrying too much about what you've listed. Expensive consultants always get a desk!
Worry more about the travel, living in hotels, not having any social life during the week, long hours, unpaid overtime, ridiculous time lines, being sold out as an expert in a field you know little about etc, etc, etc. That's the dark side of consulting.
I would second that. As the wife of a consultant I can totally concur with the above.
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Old 08.06.2011, 22:25
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

Good points, thank you! I forgot to mention the location. It would be in Zurich, but i would not know where in Zurich the next project would be. So in my case there would not be much travelling. And should not be much overtime either...but yes, this was my main concern when i saw the contract: extra hours are part of the salary. Havent got a response yet, if that means that they are not compensated as freetime either. The salary would not be higher than working as an internal (if that would be possible).
I am used to working in projects with tight schedules and i suppose this would not be different whether working as an external or internal employee.
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Old 08.06.2011, 22:47
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

"No overtime, no travelling, and you are used to working in projects with tight schedules..."
This really doesnt sound like consulting. If its really the case, then, there is not much left for you to worry about! Good luck
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Old 08.06.2011, 22:57
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

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It would be in Zurich, but i would not know where in Zurich the next project would be. So in my case there would not be much travelling.
Where in Zurich? More like where in Europe. I think you'll find you go where you are required, whether that be Zurich or Brussels. Unless the consultancy only deals in ZH that is, which I doubt.

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And should not be much overtime either...but yes, this was my main concern when i saw the contract: extra hours are part of the salary.
As the project bogs down there'll be plenty of overtime. It's also very difficult to walk out at 5pm as a consultant when your colleagues are working 'till 7 or 8pm to hit those deadlines.

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Havent got a response yet, if that means that they are not compensated as freetime either.
If you've raised these questions before you've actually got the job offer in writing I doubt they'll take you.

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The salary would not be higher than working as an internal (if that would be possible).
Then there is no compensation for the stress and upheaval. Stay put or look for a better paying job. You should aim for a minimum of 30 to 40% more than you are getting now, unless you are just looking for fast experience to accelerate the career a bit.

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I am used to working in projects with tight schedules and i suppose this would not be different whether working as an external or internal employee.
It's very different when the customer is paying 3 times the internal rate for you and you are supposed to be an expert and mentor to the juniors/internals and delivering on the nose.

I know consultants who have long term positions on customers sites, but that's generally support work and not project. Those jobs are out there though, you just need to find them.

Even a 2 hour commute is too far on a daily basis, so Geneva and probably Lausanne would mean working away from home.
Being a consultant/contractor can be a decent job, but if you're worried about overtime already, I have to say you should reconsider. Good luck.

Last edited by 17clarence; 08.06.2011 at 23:03. Reason: some kind of balls up posting
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Old 08.06.2011, 23:23
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

Being a consultant is not just about able to deliver result and be an expert in the field but you also have to have the attributes to love changes and able to take them in your stride.

I lived out of a suitcase for the last 15 years, the amount of time I have no hotel (because someone forgot to book it) or missed a flight (industrial action, missed connection) or lost luggages or change of schedule (because someone decided I need to be somewhere else for a meeting) etc etc.. this is just on top of working like 16 hours day, not able to get home for weeks on end, snacking on the go with no proper meal and NO Sleep.

You know the drill.. this is not a job but a lifestyle. Not everyone can do it. You have to think carefully about it.

If you worry about it is eating in your free time, then you need to factor in your pay is sufficient to cover the lost of them. I think Americans use a very good word for it - Compensation. You are being compensated for the hassle that you are going to endure. If you cannot "sell" to yourself that it is a fair deal. Then walk away now.

I have seen enough of IT consultants scrambled to the occupation hazards - substance abuse and divorce. Only you can decide whether you can have the life-style change.

Good Luck.
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Old 08.06.2011, 23:33
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Re: Advantages and disadvantages when working as a consultant (IT)?

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If you worry about it is eating in your free time, then you need to factor in your pay is sufficient to cover the lost of them. I think Americans use a very good word for it - Compensation. You are being compensated for the hassle that you are going to endure.
Exactly right.
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