Feeling that my brain has been on “auto pilot” mode for years. I am Principal in one of the top consulting firms, promoted on fast track basis, so have not been “lazy” and doing good at work. But everything feels the same, nothing gets me intellectually stimulated anymore, and now I feel like if the trend continues, I might lose my ability to adapt and learn new things altogether. Does anybody else feel the same way? (Contd).

like
Posting as :
works at
You are currently posting as works at
Highlighted IconHIGHLIGHTED

I don’t know which specific firm you are at but once you hit late stage senior manager/director as you move toward partner, the job can become primarily about administration. Big4 firms in particular are very bureaucratic and you have so many levels of partner between firm strategy and delivery. Strategy is often set by partners who haven’t delivered on revenue engagements, for decades in many cases. So it’s a logical concern, especially given the rapid technological advancement and shifting skillsets.

like

I exited before but had served in a practice leadership role for 2 years and was leading one of our larger programs. So I had been attending partner and practice area leadership meetings. I didn’t trust the long term viability of their partnership model or the pension structure. I had sold and was delivering engagements with a principal leading our an SAP practice, and it just wasn’t an “eat what you kill model.” The partners making decisions hadn’t actually delivered in some time and the market and technology in particular, had changed significantly. Many partners had become too comfortable, couldn’t adapt, and a majority were riding the coattails of a minority. As an anecdote, I remember going through the timeline to deploy SAP and some other adjacent technologies on a cloud platform. Those partners continued to request I extend timelines to “normal” despite us having just delivered phase 1 in an equal timeline. They also wanted more partner hours for nothing and it just an became exhausting time suck. Technology is compressing timelines which in this case was the value prop we were delivering on, and outside of leadership, this was just understood. Getting that comfortable and relying on inertia just looked risky to me.

The other idea that occurs to be is if you are brain numb from the day-to-day, taking up some type of side volunteering gig mentoring or teaching middle schoolers or high schoolers might help. I’m framing this under neuroplasticity. Teaching others the skills you have is quite different from doing them yourself. And the questions these kids may ask or the connections they make, technologies they use, etc may be enough to spark new areas of exploration and thought. One partner I know sponsors a middle school’s robotics team, another volunteers with Girls Who Code. The other piece I’m considering is you may be technically deep in one area, but developing relationships, knowledge and interest in seemingly unrelated fields may spark more innovations and creativity and get you out of your rut. Framing this under social network theory, you want depth and connection to spanners. If you haven’t read The Innovator’s DNA, it’s a great one and talks about shallow horizontal and deep vertical skills as a key to unlock innovation. The same has been argued for social networks by Malcolm Gladwell. Last piece that’s occurring to me, especially related to your posts on start-ups is if you are tenured and senior enough as a partner, offer to spearheading one of the new novel, innovative solutions your firm is investing in. You learn a new skillset and work with a completely different team, generally speaking. It’s quasi-entrepreneurship without having to leave. A final semi-related pitch, if you’re altruistically inclined, I’d recommend picking up some Associates to mentor on how the firm really works and ask them to teach you something they’re really good at. Or just flat out ask them for a reverse mentoring relationship. My guess is you could learn about pickle ball, craft beer, anything really, but the passion with which these Associates speak and are interested could be enough to reignite your own spark. Hope you find something that catches fire for you.

helpful

Aah I see. I don’t know that, as not in big4 either :)

Recent IconRecent

If you’re a partner at a top consulting firm, I am Patrick Stewart.

funnylike

I see now. Lol, I hope I don’t get to that stage!

Also concerned that if this is the way I feel in consulting which is supposed to be fast paced, I don’t know how I will survive industry. And also wondering what next 30 years of career would look like. Any advice from anyone?

like

At Deloitte1: I don’t believe in the concept of retiring early (my personal take). I might not continue in the same profession or work the same hours, but will continue to do something that will keep me meaningfully engaged, which hopefully will have a monetary aspect to it. My current viewpoint, might change in the future. Nonetheless, that doesn’t solve the problem. It still sucks to feel this way even for next 10-15 years.

agree with the idea of taking a sabbatical and doing something radically different but from a career standpoint, it sounds like you should try something that will be a huge deviation from your current work as a consultant. have you thought about joining an early stage startup and learning about what it's like to actually operate and grow a company, as opposed to giving advice from the sidelines? that could give you the purpose and challenge you seem to be lacking right now

like

Yeah I agree with this. Whenever this feeling of mind-numb comes up, this somehow pops up as the potential solution. Glad to know that I am not crazy to think that way. Replying to comments on this thread also affirmed this feeling. The complicated part is that for multiple other reasons I can’t switch job for at least a year or so. So need to find myself ways to get intellectually stimulated in some other ways meanwhile 😪

What parts of work interest you and what parts don't? Do you like fact finding, designing, implementing, or something else? There has to be some part of it you enjoy which has gone on autopilot through repetition - try to find out what it is and how you can do more of it or apply it in a different industry or context

smart

Interesting Q. I think I am done with fact finding, designing solutions, implementing etc. have done that for too long and that really doesn’t excite me anymore. It’s the speaking to the client part that gives me most gratification at this stage - that responding to their questions on the fly and engaging in a meaningful dialogue. I should certainly ask to do more of this. Thanks for asking a thought provoking Q.

Were you “intellectually stimulated” before? A lot of our job isn’t hard - it’s just going up the learning/experience curve and learning how to deal with people and solve problems for the first time. Once you’ve done that over and over again the work can be done on autopilot... It’s then about moving into the next phase of your career and properly growing the people around you, the practice you’re in and the firm...

smart

Also, thanks for asking a very thought provoking Q. Replying to it made me realise that the problem is my learning has plateaued. I have been in similar roles for a while, which has heavily contributed to this. Now that I have better understanding of the problem, I can at least think of ways to tackle it internally.

Consider a sabbatical if your company offers it. Use that time to research emerging business trends or whatever interests you honestly

They do offer sabbaticals. But I think of sabbaticals as one-off, and looking for something more sustainable that I can do differently in my day-to-day work, if that makes sense.

If you could design your ideal week, what would it look like? What types of activities would bring you the most energy / joy - and conversely which are “drainers” that you would avoid? Also: if you had a peer in your exact situation, what advice would you share with them?

I thinking taking to client gives me most joy. Doing slides and working with 1st year consultants are the biggest drainers. Unfortunately that’s not really in my control, so have to love with it. Advice for peers: would be to look out. And make the most of the remaining time in consulting. I guess I will try that myself!

Add real value to the world and help with global warming or social equality or fix healthcare in the US. Maybe you are coming to grips with how worthless and unfulfilling consulting really is??

Haha. Could be. I think those problems are too big for me to fix. Can’t fix problems of my own life, let along the healthcare system in a country where I don’t live 😉

Related Posts

I want to exit to MBB but if that’s not a possibility what are the next best consulting firms? Looking for at least midsize firms (non-boutiques).

like

What are the best consulting firms to work for if you’re looking for doing more than just implementation (I.e. strategy/advisory)?

like

Is it even possible to get HSW with a low GPA (3.3-3.5 range) if you’re an ORM guy? Even if you went to top 20 undergrad, top GMAT (780-800), good work experience (top consulting firms+FAANG)?

like

Hi ladies - what are the best consulting firms for the fashion/apparel industry?

Top consulting firms right there!!

Post Photo
funnylike

Best consulting firms to work for as a non-consultant... go!

like

What are the best consulting firms for private equity? Parthenon? Bain? Any boutiques?

like

Best consulting companies in the social sector?

like

Looking to switch companies as I don’t see much growth in where I am at. What are the best consulting firms in your opinion and why?

Checkout HiCounselor.com for helping candidate get job in top consulting firms. Let me know your thoughts about my initiative.

like

Best consulting firms for real inclusion?

funny

Did anyone read the top consulting firms to work for? 😂😂😂

like

Which are the best consulting firms in Europe for Retail/FMCG?

like

Top consulting firms for building mobile apps - IOS or Android?

like

How does Grant Thornton compare to other top consulting firms?

like

I know Mck is the top for strategy, but in terms of digital/design in top consulting firms which do you think is better? Mckinsey digital or deloitte digital? (Or another..?)

like

Do partners at top consulting firms have better WLB? An Associate here contemplating whether all this is worth it. Thanks!

like

What’s the average age for making partner at the top consulting firms?

like

Do any of the top consulting firms have analytics roles (preferably not super technical) that don’t require weekly travel?

Best consulting companies for local work? (MC, IT)

like

Additional Posts

Would an experienced hiring manager or someone who jumped to another consultancy be willing to review my resume and offer advice/ suggestions over a phone call? Prefer someone SM-level & above 🙏

likesmart

Though I’ve disclosed my epilepsy to a few in my firm, I don’t think it’s been recorded anywhere and I’ve always had a hard time telling people what should be done if I have a seizure that goes beyond, “please don’t call 911 unless it lasts more than 10 min.” As we go back to work, I will be sharing an office with another senior. I feel like it would be courteous to disclose the info to her in case something happens. Any tips, tricks, or specific advice? My seizures are ALWAYS grand mal.

like

What is the difference between working in consulting in SF vs. NYC? Looking to relocate after UG, but want to make sure I'm making the right decision. I'm thinking about WLB, network, exit opp, culture, price, quality of life, etc.

like

Need some advice on the best way to get a referral. I’ve had networking calls, but they don’t seem to go anywhere. Not sure if it’s ok to just ask or something else

like

ClearView Healthcare Partners anyone willing to provide a referral? Applying for an entry level consultant position (PhD). Happy to chat about my credentials, resume etc.

like

Was invited to apply for a lateral in another group at my company - transactional (I’m in lit now). I have a lot of experience in what I do now and am getting good development opportunities within my group. However, I’ve been passed over for a deserved promotion 3 times and am doing work two salary bands above where I am now. I enjoy the transactional work even though I have less experience in it, and it would be a great resume builder. I am not great with risk taking/change. Wwyd?

like

Interviewing with AWS as a L7 - however the automatic email said Senior Solution Architect (L6) when the Recruiter asked me to interview for Principal Solution Architect (L7) - Managerial. I've been taken for rides before where they over promise and then waste time throughout assessment etc. Passed all the aptitude tests and silly work and email tests pretty much just asking if anyone else have experienced this with AWS - is it a valid concern? Or am I being paranoid?

What's the salary range for a PM consultant in ACN Federal?

like

Do you think your building or classroom is ready to go back to school?

like

Has anyone taken the PHR exam lately? What was the best test prep IYO? Online on demand , online live classes? Are the practice exams worth the cost?

like

Would anyone that works in entertainment PR/Talent management/Entertainment marketing be willing to set up an informational interview with a graduating senior looking to learn more?

like

Mgr for 3 yrs..going up for SM..what’s the salary gap?

like

I am considering transitioning from being a W2 employee to a independent contractor/1099. What are some important questions I should ask before making a decision? For context, I have been with my litigation firm for just over 3 years and have been barred for 4. I am doing fine, but I dislike the job and would like to reduce my hours (and get rid of some of the non billable work I have to take on). Ideally, I would transition to a job that I love, but I’m not sure what that is yet. Cont. below.

like

Exploring the cyber security career field but I have a question: if this is your job and the company you work for gets hacked, do you get fired?

like

Looking to take vacation in three weeks. Is there anywhere in Europe that’s allowing American citizens in? Any suggestions for international trips for a week.

like

When your boss gives you 48 hours (clock hours not billable hours) to produce a viable objection to a MTD/compel arbitration in a complex commercial lit case, which is not my practice area, what kind of result is he expecting? From scratch, no template.

likefunny

Overheard some consultants last night at a quiet hotel bar talking about how pitiful it is to sit in coach and laughed at people without status while bartender looked at them with disgust. Be humble

like

Any recommendations for affordable zoom camera?

like

I’m applying for an industry job and the company has no parental leave benefits whatsoever. Even FMLA is just unpaid 12 weeks and require 1 yr of service. HR rep literally said “my kid is 18, I don’t

Need marital investment advice. My FIL recently gave some money to my wife which she wants to invest in rental properties. She wants me to do all the leg work (find a property to buy, rent it out, do the legal work, maintenance, etc.) and is open to hiring agents, property managers, lawyers, etc. I am happy to help her build her portfolio, but I am afraid of my FIL’s involvement. He is a hot head and I feel I will have a sword hanging over my head in case a deal goes sideways. Continued…

like

New to Fishbowl?

Download the Fishbowl app to
unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.
Download Fishbowl to see what others are saying
That was just a preview…
Sign Up to see all discussions
  • Discover what it’s like to work at companies from real professionals
  • Get candid advice from people in your field in a safe space
  • Chat and network with other professionals in your field
Sign up in seconds to unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.

Already a user?
Login here

Share

Embed this post

Copy and paste embed code on your site

Preview

Download the Fishbowl app

Get realtime notifications and see
what's happening in your industry
from the palm of your hand.