Long working hours and overworking can lead to psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, or hostility. Consulting was recently ranked sixth in a list of the most stressful jobs in financial services, right in the middle of the group. However, most of the roles that were considered to be the most stressful had an income-generating component. Risk management was the only exception.
Adding business development responsibilities can significantly increase the maximum compensation limit, but it can also raise a person's blood pressure, especially when they are starting a new position. Consultants often have long working hours, leaving home when their family is still sleeping and returning when their children have already gone to bed. This routine can be very stressful and even when they are home, their mind is still occupied with work. Consultants spend so much time in the office that their co-workers often become their only friends.
Consulting is a high-risk profession that involves a lot of work stress. The emphasis is on billable hours and the general culture is to reward employees for the hours they put in. A former Big Four management consultant mentioned in a Quora response that there was a joke at Deloitte that “partners eat their young”. Being a consultant can lay the foundation for success in any career you pursue after consulting.
If you have worked to help some of the top organizations around the world solve complex problems, you will be much more attractive and profitable to other companies. There is a possibility that you may no longer want to be a consultant in the future. Traveling can be tiring, stress can be overwhelming, and long hours can be draining. Whatever the case may be, background matters.
Additionally, there is a clear hierarchical structure in consulting firms that provides their members with upward mobility. Constantly learning about new industries, how companies work, operational, organizational and technological dynamics will give you an advantage over your competition. In another video, he provides an insight into the volatile nature of work and when consulting might not be the right fit for you. Customers hire consultants because they have some kind of problem that they don't think they can solve on their own.
Consultants are also expected to always be “active”, making it difficult to find a clear separation between personal and professional life. Secondly, many consulting firms now offer competitive packages to retain talent by paying them better than the competition. However, if you prefer predictability and stable work environments, then consulting may not be a good career for you. Politics and the stress involved can be enough to keep you away, which is understandable to some people.
The challenge is that if you don't have consulting experience, it will be more difficult to get a job at one of those firms. They are deeply impressed and very excited about the high-profile and well-paid careers that most consultants develop. I've been a consultant for 25 years and I'm here to tell you that it's not what you think it is. If you're looking for one of these huge consulting firms and value rapid advancement, make sure to think carefully about that dynamic.
Companies usually hire consultants because they want to go through some kind of change and are looking for guidance and advice.