Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A weird feeling

It's been a strange couple of weeks for me at the good old consulting firm.

One recent Friday, the week before our series of final meetins with our current client's project, I got a strange call. I was being rolled off the project, effective the following Monday.

It seemed a little odd to me. Not only because we still had the final presentations to do, but also because it didn't seem like it was very much notice. There was no chance I'd be picked up by another project, and thus, I would have my first ever time on 'the beach'

In consulting speak, 'the beach' is something of a fairy tale magical land, where you aren't officially working on a project. There's no crazy travel plans to make, no hotels, and no working until 4am (usually).

Of course, like any fairy tale magical land, it's also quite toxic if exposed for too long. And by toxic, I mean you get booted off if you are on 'the beach' for too long (which makes sense because you aren't earning the company any money).

So I wasn't going to be traveling, and I would be back in New York. By mid-afternoon on Monday, I was assigned to help out on my first proposal, a manufacturing-focused effort to a consumer products company.

I actually found it really interesting. I got to research a completely new industry, uncover industry trends, develop broad strategic hypotheses...all while sleeping in my own bed (I also snuck in a movie one night).

Of course, it couldn't last forever (and if I want to afford to eat, it shouldn't), and by this past Monday I was staffed up again. For the next two weeks I'm learning a lot about the steel industry, which will conveniently take me right up to the 4th of July, and my first long vacation since I started.

It's already started to feel weird to not have to be working all the time. I wonder if I'll go crazy when I'm on vacation and completely unplugged.

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