Thought Consulting Was My Dream...Now I Hate it
After fighting long and hard to secure a grad-level offer at a consulting firm, I've been there for a few months now and have realized I hate it. While I think a lot has to do with my current manager, who is something else, I find it extremely stressful every single day, on top of spending 4-5 days in the "field" each week. I enjoyed what I did before but made half as much; even so, I've considered trading back (my living expenses left plenty of room for savings even then, and I'm happy in a cheap apartment, where I still live).
At the same time, I know that a year or two of consulting opens doors to jobs that are more my pace--10-12 hour days, and very little travel, with pay not far off where I am now. I suppose I didn't realize that, despite being an "overachiever", there are limits to what I really care to accomplish, particularly as they take me away from the things I truly cherish (family, friends, sleeping in my own bed and having a bit of time to unwind). The other stuff--money, prestige--don't seem nearly as important.
Any thoughts? Do I stick it out? Start dusting off the resume? Try some tips that will make my life easier while I hold on for dear life for another year? Has anyone else gotten cold feet in the first few months and bailed, or am I just spoiled?
Quitting a high paying consulting job
the following was originally posted as a response by @hugo bentley" and has been formatted for this post
A few years ago I was in a similar position to you: I had a pretty well paid + somewhat respectable job in finance, but for various reasons I became desperate to leave.
Incidentally, I also posted on forums seeking opinion; received over 30k views in all - so I knew I wasn't the only person out there thinking this way.
After sticking it out in finance for a total of 2 years I finally took the leap and fell out of the rat-race. One week later and I had become a barman, while simultaneously pursuing my own business venture of sorts on the side.
That was 2 years ago.
I am now unemployed, my business venture has not panned out as I had hoped, and my net worth is heading to zero. Unsurprisingly I find myself dwelling on the PSPSPS / position I might have been in, if only I had "stuck it out" in my old career beyond the 2 year mark. But in an alternate universe somewhere, is there a version of me who DID "stick it out" and is still grinding away in the rat-race wondering 'what could have been' if he had only taken the leap of faith (as I , in reality, did)?
Lesson #1 : the grass is often greener on the other side. If you leave now, you may well find yourself, at times, regretting that you gave up the prestige/money/security/world-travelling-prospects. My brother often says he would love to quit his job because he hates it - but he takes one look at my situation and that stops him from doing so. My life has become a warning to others... lol.
You mention you have been at this for a few months. I have two thoughts on that:
- To be honest, it wouldn't look great to have only several months of experience in a job on your resume, so unless it is truly unbearable (and as you read this you will probably be nodding yourself saying, 'oh but it is unbearable' --- BUT IS IT REALLY?), that is something to consider. You fought hard to get in, don't give up lightly!
- As hard/impossible as it is to imagine at this moment, the constant daily stress level WILL subside over time, you will start to feel more at ease in the position. Eventually you may be picking up an ever-increasing pay cheque and wondering why your employer is paying you so much. I strongly sense that your manager is one of the big issues, even though he/she received only a brief mention in your opening post. I also felt uncomfortable/stressed out by my manager, back in the day. You never know what hand fate will deal - he/she could quit out of the blue, get fired for sexual harassment, either of you get moved.
So bear in mind two classic movie scenes (I seem to be including a lot of lists and numbers in this post):
- Tom Hanks in Castaway. He wanted to kill himself after being on that island for too long, but instead he makes the decision to keep breathing, to stay alive, because you never know what the tide will bring in.
- Edward Norton in Fightclub. After engaging in his hardcore underground fighting, all the other stresses in his life become insignificant. So much so that when his boss is moaning at him, Norton hardly registers it. Make the decision to not allow your manager to piss you off so much. As you said yourself, you don't even want the freaking job right now anyway!
- Not sure what country you are in, but regardless, the economy is pretty crap right now. So despite what I said about not having any clear cut answers, I am going to make a clear cut call for you anyway: Stick with it. Just power on, you are already at the bottom of the trough, do not sell out now at the worst price... it's recovery-to-boom from here on out!
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