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The Realities of Today's Consultant Work

The Realities of Today's Consultant WorkWhen people in the business world talk about consultant work and the role of consultants in their industries, many of them speak negatively about the profession. Oftentimes, people hear the word “consultant” and they think that it's simply a code word for “unemployed.” Or they might speak with someone who describes him or herself as a consultant, and immediately think that the person is simply in the midst of a search for a “real” job. What's more, many people believe that consultants exist solely to help business leaders cut costs and remove people from payrolls.

The reality of consulting in today's world is much different, though. Consultants are now in high demand within a number of industries, making it a career choice that is incredibly lucrative and sustainable. Additionally, consultant work increasingly has very little to do with helping businesses turn into bare-bones operations with skeleton crews of employees. In fact, today's consultants are responsible for helping businesses grow, which leads to expansion, greater profits and the need to actually bring more talented people on board.


The question remains, though: why do some people still think so negatively about consulting?

What Is a Consultant?

Ask ten people what a consultant does, and you'll likely get ten different answers. This is largely because no certifications, degrees or special training programs are necessary for people to become consultants. Anyone can call him or herself a consultant, which leads to a misperception of what actual consultant work entails. For our purposes, a consultant is someone who helps leaders and their organizations become more successful by applying knowledge, experience and innovation to the challenges that face modern industry.

What Does the Media Say?

The stereotype of consultants as the “bad guys” who come into an organization only to help leaders pare down their employee ranks has thrived for a while now. Movies and TV programs tend to show consultants in a negative light, and there are very few depictions of the many positive things that consultants are doing. Certainly, there are situations when the best remedy is to remove people from payrolls, but that is far from being what consulting is all about. However, as more and more people begin to understand the benefits of consulting (and the associated business growth), the negative perception of the profession slips away.

Working in the Background

If you read the major business papers, watch the financial networks on television and generally pay attention to the world of business, you rarely hear about the impact that consultants have had when it comes to improving businesses. Credit almost always goes to the leaders of the companies, who are often praised for their “vision.” The reality is that a large number of these leaders have turned to consultants to help them realize their visions of success. Consultants do great work, but they rarely get the credit or attention that they deserve. For the most part, they're just happy to be a part of positive change, and they wouldn't have it any other way. They're too busy lining up additional opportunities with clients who are eager to take advantage of their talents.

What About You?

The reality of consultant work has a way to go before it catches up with the perception of the profession in the public's mind. That being said, great progress has been made already. The data shows that consulting is extraordinarily beneficial to organizations, and companies are only going to utilize the talents of consultants more and more. Most of the time, these companies are going to use consultants in ways that completely defy the negative perceptions that have built up over time.

If you're ready to make a difference in the world by using your talents, skills, knowledge and experience, don't count out consultant work as a way forward for your career. As a consultant, you can forget about the negative associations of the past, and tell people about your work with pride and a sense of real accomplishment. By innovating powerful solutions and helping companies grow, your work will speak for itself . What's more, you'll play a major role in improving the public's perception of consultants and the important work that they do.


Are you interested in learning more about the realities of today's consultant work? We have a number of fantastic resources to help you here on Ex3Matters.com. Download your free copy of Buddy Hobart's eBook, “Experience Matters,” for some great insights. Also, check out our free consulting guides for insider information to help you start your own independent consulting business.