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!
So, What Exactly Do You Do?
“I’m a consultant.”
“A management consultant.”
“What does that even mean? What do you do?”
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!”
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?”
“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?”
“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.
Hairy Green Balls: The Consulting Case Interview