If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Some people know what they want to be when they grow up from an early age. Not me. I changed careers several times. Up until six years ago, I called myself as a systems consultant. With the notable exception of the lovable Martin Prince on The Simpsons,a does any kid plan on becoming one?
It’s fair to say that I kind of fell into the field, using the process of elimination to make the best out of an undesirable professional situation. In 1997, I was doing pure HR work. It was anything but ideal for me, and I needed to find something else. I couldn’t realistically make a clean break, though. I had to play the long game.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
From 1998 to 2000, I worked at Merck in a hybrid capacity. I spent about 60 percent of my time on a global PeopleSoft project and the other 40 percent doing more traditional HR work (recruiting, compensation, and general administration). Put mildly, I was much better at—and interested in—the former than the latter. After leaving Merck, I worked at Lawson Software as a full-blown systems consultant. My rationale for gravitating toward this type of work was simple: I liked it. I was good at it. In 2002, I decided to hang out my own shingle. I believed that I was disciplined enough to handle the challenges of self-employment.
In Chapter 3, I listed my issues with management guru s. (See “Consultants, ...