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June 1, 2008

Service industries rock!

No doubt about it. I was fortunate enough to have been drawn into the consulting field at a time when it became remarkably lucrative. And a time when it had evolved into a permanent part of the industrial landscape.

Why permanent? Well... I have no facts to back this up, but I have observed the following over the past decade or so...

Companies the world over are hell-bent on driving inefficiencies out of their companies. This is code for do more with less people, resources and capital.

So company head-counts drop, people who were previously able to spend time on improvement projects and initiatives are now juggling four or five roles that used to be done by other people, and there is a permanent opening for improvement initiatives... but there's more.

I recall being in a downsizing initiative when I was still working in operational roles back in Australia. The people they didn't want were paid to go away quietly; while those that they did want were given the privilege of doing more work, in a low-morale company, for the same money.

Woo hoo!

So why do the good people stay? They don't. So not only do these companies lose the buffer for initiatives and improvement work, they also lose a lot of the excellent human capital that would have otherwise hung around for a few years more.

Why stay in the service industry? As a consultant, freelancer or contractor? Aside from the money, the work, the intriguing opportunities and the intellectual challenges... there is far greater job security than working for operational companies.

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