Stories Week Days 3/4: The Manager Spectrum

A nice thing about consulting is that we never call our superiors “my boss”. Perhaps because our industry is called “Management Consulting,” the preferred nomenclature is “my manager.” (“Bossing Consulting,” although accurate, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) Whereas our managers rotate as we work on different projects, most normal people have a “consistent boss” they complain about day in, day out.

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Despite the inherent awesomeness of never having to work for the same person for too long (multiplying the feasibility of the one day stomach flu by at least six times a year), a pattern of manager behavior reveals itself over time. My parents told me never to stereotype, so here are four manager archetypes based strictly on behavior. And ethnicity and gender.

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Stories Week Day 2: Hairy Green Balls: The Consulting Case Interview

The Consulting Case Interview.

Feared. Dreaded. Despised.

Websites dedicate themselves to cracking it. Workshops guarantee acing it. Books promise the “frameworks” to succeed.

I killed it in mine. And here’s the story.

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Stories Week Day 1: So, What Exactly Do You Do?

For reasons that should become obvious soon, this week may be my last writing as Anonymous Consultant at Anonymous Consulting Firm. Over the next few days, I’ll post a collection of writing that I never really felt fit into the blog, but didn’t know where else to put. (BOOK DEAL?!? PLEASE?!?)

Oh, and dear anonymous. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m very busy catching up on Girls and doing my best to pretend like I have no idea what people are talking about when they discuss the show. You can’t be that secretive. Show your face!

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So, What Exactly Do You Do?

“I’m a consultant.”

“A what?”

“A management consultant.”

“What does that even mean? What do you do?”

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Off the top of my head, there is only one question in life that I find more difficult to answer than being asked about my profession as a management consultant. That question being, “why do you have to marry a Jewish girl?” usually asked by someone from the Midwest (excluding the suburbs of Chicago) or the South. The kind of person you tell you’re taking the day off to observe the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, to which they politely reply, “Enjoy! Have a happy Yawn Kipper!”

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Fortunately, there is a short answer to The Jewish Question. (“Because I have to.”) Unfortunately, The Management Consultant Question can only be answered by responses that, in turn, provoke further questioning.

“Wait, so you fly from Chicago to New York City every week and they put you up in fancy hotels? They can’t just find someone that does what you do in New York City?”

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“Well, if we’re talking fancy, no, the Sheraton Tribeca is only a Category 4 and despite the fact that they recently finished renovations at the W Union Square (which, by the way, are a total let down), it’s pretty much impossible to get a room. And yes, there is not a single other person out of the 19 million in the New York Metropolitan Area that has a bachelor’s degree, one year of work experience, and can do what I do. Any other questions?”

“Oh. So, you’re kind of like George Clooney, right? In that movie… what was it called?”

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Ocean’s Eleven? Ocean’s Thirteen? Spy-Kids 3D: Game Over? I’m not sure I know where you are going with this.”

Yes, there is an answer for “what do you do?” We’re programmed to say it at recruiting events, where wide-eyed college students line up in droves to tell us about their summer internships and why they are so interested in consulting. They love the wide range of experiences and opportunities for travel. They love the exposure to different industries and the potential for pro-bono consulting.

Personally, I love the fact that as I am making this presentation at my alma mater, I can see spot at least three faces across the room that at one point or another last year consulted my pro-boner.

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Tomorrow:

Hairy Green Balls: The Consulting Case Interview

Saving Private Screen

[Editor’s Note: No GIFs in this post… wahhh. If you’ve lost the ability to focus on more than seven words and a picture, look elsewhere, or hit up that jittery kid for some meds.]

Several years before entering the workforce, I was on a flight home and decided to fire up my laptop and watch the pilot of Californication. Avoiding cursory glances from the mother and daughter seated beside me, I watched as our protagonist  dreamed about receiving a beej from a hot nun. That moment, I knew two things: 1.) No matter how ridiculously outlandish this plot would get, I was hooked. And, 2.) I should probably get one of those screen protector thingies.

Back then, privacy screens were relatively new innovations - hard to find and expensive. Today, privacy screens are standard issue consultant corporate accessories, like flash drives, headsets, and irrevocable feelings of regret.

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The use of a privacy screen in public is logical. We need to protect sensitive information. If people knew how much we charge to align powerpoint slides, they would be outraged.  But, covering your screen in a team room or cubicle during work hours? Imagine if the Lakers showed up to practice wearing veils, not wanting anyone looking over their shoulders at what exactly they were doing. It would explain a lot, but it wouldn’t be very professional.

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Why should no one be able to look at your screen where the expectation is that you’re working?

Because you’re browsing the internet and chatting on gchat, of course! A privacy screen is like a condom - you lose some of the sensation but at least you know that you’re kind of protected. Let’s be honest. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got a privacy screen on right now. (It takes guts to raw dog the internet in the team room.)

So how do you balance doing work and using a privacy screen to get away with doing nothing?

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