Life as a consultant
Why everything that glitters isn’t gold.
“Dude, your job seems to be a dream!”, “I want your (work) life!”, “I’m jealous, you’re travelling the world” — These are the statements I hear on a daily basis. Most of my friends and family members think I’ve the best job in the world… but is it really like this?
What I’m doing
I started working at K2 Northern Europe in November 2013 as a Technical Specialist. My role is a mixture of Pre-Sales (Technical Sales) and Professional Services (Consulting) — both involving travelling.
I worked in consulting for 8 years since then. Mostly travelling in Germany.
With my job at K2NE the area grew a bit. New countries came into place and also the amount of travelling increased. Some details around my travelling engagements in 2014:
- I travelled more than 70.000km by plane
- Took 127 flights
- Missed 2 flights
- Visited 35 cities
- And some new countries I haven’t been to
All of this made 95% of my working time which means I was more than 266 days not at home. Having this number in mind, I want to show you the real life as a consultant.
As you’ve seen, I visited quite lot cities and countries. When I analyze my Facebook check-ins the main response of my friends is that I’m a “jetsetter” and that it seems like I enjoy my life.
Nothing wrong with the second, I enjoy my life. But I don’t see myself as a jetsetter. Most things I see are airports, train stations, hotels and the customer offices.
I usually take a taxi or train to the customer in the morning when it’s dark and also do the same at the end of the day, when it’s dark again. There’s not more than 2 hours the day to spend on “touristic” stuff like going to museums, have a walk around the city etc. A lot of venues are already closed or you can’t enjoy them because it’s… yes… dark outside.
It can even get worse. Imagine, not all these customers have offices in major cities or capitals but in small villages 50-100km’s away. This is often because of tax reasons. These villages can be nice but in 99,9% of the cases they’re not. Especially not when you’re used to live in a big city.
I usually try to find a hotel in a bigger city then so I can spend my 2 hours of free time outside, exploring the city.
Living on the road means that you don’t have a private life. You’re somewhere in the world for your company. You’re working hard for the company (and your customer) to succeed. You even work, in the 2 hours of free time, from your hotel room — whether it’s project related work or paper/email/other project work. Sometimes you also try to learn new things related to your job because you want to get better.
On the other side there’s also the travelling again. Some of my colleagues start their journey on a Sunday. I usually start Monday very early in the morning — only when transfer flights are involved I motivate myself to start on a Sunday evening.
Coming home is also not as if you would work 9–5 from the same dask every day. The customer expects you to stay till 5pm or 6pm which means you still have to travel to the airport, check-in, do the security check and so on. I usually get home around midnight on a Friday.
The last thing you need to know about the missing private life: All the work at home stays. It’s not magically gone. You need to resolve/fix things on your holy weekend. That sucks big time!
All that bad? No!
I think you ask yourself now if everything is that bad or if I hate it to be a consultant? No I don’t hate it and no, it’s not all that bad!
But you need to be clear that business travelling is not like travelling to your holiday destination. It is hard work to be a consultant, to be always on the road. You’re not a jetsetter!
What I like is that I meet a lot of people (customers) from a lot of countries. I learn about their (working) culture. I’m in many different projects where I learn a lot of new and cool things. I earn a lot of miles and can spend these for my private travelling, upgrades etc.
And my company is rewarding the travelling. They appreciate it. You feel and you know that you bring the company a step further.
I wrote this article mainly for all my friends & family who think that I have an easy-peasy job and I’m a jetsetter. Any discussions are welcome!
BIG THANKS goes to my girlfriend Jules who is always supporting and believing in me and who is never impatient ❤
This article was also published on my blog timczubayko.com — Feel free to take a look on other stories I wrote there. I’m also happy for every recommendation of this article! ☺