A couple of summers ago, I found myself in the small office of a tech start-up asking questions about my ambitions as a consultant. I had finished business school almost a year before, but my age still betrayed my actual skills as a marketer and started these kinds of questions with just about everyone I met. "Why marketing?" "Why consulting?" "Why start-ups?"
Before that day, though, I hadn't given any real thought to the answer. I'd craft an explanation around the mission of a particular business or explain that I was looking for something more challenging than a traditional job. The truth was, I just wanted a job.
It's been some time since then, and I'm still in consulting. Actually, with the exception of 4 months of seasonal part-time work, I've always been a consultant. The irony is that I never set out to be one ... it just happened.
I've heard so many stories about reluctant entrepreneurs that the term has become cliché. Unfortunately, I find myself in the same boat as many of these individuals - pursuing a career I had no intention of starting in the first place. It's awkward to find yourself travelling a path you never set out to walk, but a bit exciting, too. I get to set my own hours, I choose who I work with, and I get to claim all of my finished work as purely mine. It's a fantastic feeling, but it's fraught with frustration as well.
There are times I'd give almost anything to be working a traditional job. To have set hours, a set list of to-do items, expectations set by someone other than myself. But those times come the most when I'm having a questioning day. The kind of day where I question whether or not consulting was the right field for me to be in. It takes just one bad client experience to start the questioning phase ... but just one good client experience to end it.
I'd never give up doing what I love, no matter how hard it might be to keep moving forward. So for all of you who are just starting out in the field, keep this in mind:
If you love doing the work, don't let anyone take it away from you. Even if you fell in to the work completely by accident.