Most business folks consider management consulting a prestigious career. At the very least, they think consultants make a lot of money and/or are overpaid, almost always and. When you ask people in the management consulting world why people pay us so handsomely, they’ll typically have a handful of warnings/explanations to fire off for you to make an informed decision:
- We bring a breadth of expertise our clients don’t have by engaging many client on similar work, as individuals and as a firm-wide network. Yea, that’s true but it’s not exactly the full story
- Companies have to pay a premium to get people to travel because after a while, the grind takes a toll on our bodies. This one kind of depends on how far you’re traveling every week but you certainly make a case for why someone traveling full time would need to be compensated more than someone in a typical industry job.
- We work a lot of hours – the interns make a better hourly wage than we do once you do the math. Also true but still not the scariest thing about consulting.
Nobody likes to talk about the dark side of management consulting.
If you have an addictive personality, management consulting will ruin your life. Whether your vice is work, gambling, drugs, alcohol, or sex, living this road warrior lifestyle consumes you. When you work in a city during the week other than the one you call home, it’s easy to believe as long as you don’t do those things on the road, everything is fine.
Don’t lie to yourself.
As an adult, you have the right to spend your time and money however you see fit but don’t lie to yourself and think the choices you make four days per week every week don’t impact who you are as a person. Eventually those habits you pick up on the road become too much to resist at home, and if you have a family or significant other that’s where you run into problems, and everything starts to come undone.The truth is many marriages and other personal relationships don’t survive this life. It’s just something you need to know going into this line of work.
My advice to you…
Focus your energy on the things most important to bringing you long-term happiness instead of selling yourself out for short-sighted pleasures and superficial career gains from succumbing to peer pressure. That’s not to say you can’t change as a person over time but do so on your own terms and understand what the costs of that change may be.