Him: “So what do you do?
Me: “I’m a consultant.”
Him: “Oh. Cool.” *sips drink* “And what is that?”
This was an actual conversation I had at a bar on Saturday night. And as I was sipping my way not strong enough vodka tonic given the asymmetrical features of the guy I was with, it struck me: I don’t know how to answer this question. In other words, I have no fucking idea what I do for a living.
If you’re a consultant, you’re life is like a black hole. No one knows what it’s like until you’re sucked in, and once you are sucked in, everything is moving around so fast that you can’t tell if life is figuratively slapping you in the face or literally. You spend 95% of your day wondering what you’re doing at the current moment, and the other 5% trying to decode the metaphors used by your MBA-touting project teammates. It’s the only profession where you can reach associate partner level without ever contributing a shred of value throughout your entire career – and be considered a godsend for it.
So, weird bar date from Saturday night, you really want to know “what is consulting?” Here ya freakin’ go:
1. Mastering the passive aggressive email.
2. Chatting with other consultants about how much you LOOOVE Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
3. Contemplating suicide on non-wifi enabled flights.
4. And meticulously planning out said suicide while filing expense reports.
5. Boiling oceans.
6. Saying things like: “In my opinion, the first thing we need to do, like the VERY FIRST THING is figure out what we’re trying to do here.”
7. Or “I’ll schedule some time to think about that in an hour and a half.”
8. Or “I love sitting.”
9. Challenging your coworkers to deck-creation competitions.
10. Simultaneously maintaining both a smile and a consistent hatred of the human race.
11. Bragging about your on-point sock game.
12. But being too poor to afford Ferragamos.
13. Lady flirting with the flight attendants in Economy Comfort so they offer you the First Class snack basket.
14. Opening kimonos.
15. Retweeting Harvard Business Review articles.
16. “Putting the customer first.”
17. Hearing things like: “Hey, can you bang out a 2-3 year roadmap for me in, like, 30 minutes?”
18. Or “Yes, but what’s the STRATEGY here?”
19. Knowing your male coworkers/clients stripper preferences.
20. Judging people based their airline status.
21. And HEAVILY judging people based on their airline preference.
22. Putting out fires.
23. Brainstorming ways to make your life more like Marty Kaan’s in House of Lies.
24. Being a SME. In everything.
25. Being cognizant. Of everything.
26. Inviting members of the hotel staff to your wedding because your relationship with them has been longer than your fiancé.
27. Finding sneaky ways to pocket your per diem like packing the hotel breakfast for lunch or going on 8 awkward Tinder dates in a week.
28. Speaking in acronyms.
29. And not knowing what those acronyms mean.
30. Simultaneously speaking for 30 minutes straight but not actually saying anything at all.
31. Wondering why there isn’t a crossover rewards promo between airline/hotel points and student loans.
32. Being an evangelizing evangelist.
33. Realizing the most successful companies in the world are run by some of the thickest, numbskulled donkeys to ever troll the planet.
34. Having zero clue how to explain to people what you do for a living.
35. And caring less and less about people not understanding.