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June 22, 2008

We're all consultants now...

This is one of the best pieces of advice I have been able to give any of my clients to help them achieve their personal / professional goals. “We are all consultants now”.

Not just me (or you) but them too. Why?

1. The job for life is gone. (Disappeared before I joined the workforce in my country actually)

Companies today will probably last less time than your career. Want proof?

Yahoo started in the 90’s, took over the world, lost it, recently fought off a take over bid from Microsoft, and is presently being lambasted by the media as a spent force in the internet search business. Do they really have long to live?

Netscape took over the internet... remember them?

I grew up working for Cliffs Robe River Iron Associates. A big iron ore mining company, got bought by Peko-Wallsend, then North Pty Ltd, then Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto (A giant in the resources industry) is currently battling to survive a bid by BHPB. (An even bigger behemoth)

And so on... facts are clear, you had better get used to moving jobs because your career will last longer than the company you work for.

2. Labor is Old School

You are under threat now, both from low wage outsourcing countries and from technology. You can move forward, collecting new experiences, new roles and new possibilities…or you can wait to be next on the pink-slip list.

3. Opportunities are global

Ever time I get off a plane I am absolutely amazed by the amount of opportunity exists in every single country. Not only are their opportunities, but companies all over the world are scrambling to try to get a hold of real, experienced and qualified talent.

(Aside from those who got trapped in the real estate mess, and those who lent them money, I see nothing but booming markets and exploding resource requirements.)

I am sure that there are many other factors in this, but who are the people who have some element of stability? Us! The consultants!

We have abundant work, there are many (MANY) consultancies out there looking for talented people who will put in the extra effort, and who can fill the growing need in the marketplace.

So your clients need to think like us. They are just as likely to face new employers and changing work environments as we are. So they need to see everyone as a client. “Serve the customer (whoever that is) or serve someone who is”

Pick your projects carefully, set low expectations and blow them away, pay attention to relationships and nurture them, build your interpersonal skills, practice absolute candor with diplomacy, network (NETWORK!), publicize your successes, increase your profile, guerrilla talent development, street smart implementation… and all the rest of the wonderful talents that go into the consultants career management toolkit.

If they heed your advice it will be the best thing that has occurred to their career, and it will fundamentally change the way they approach their work.

If you are a career minded consultant, please consider joining our networking community on LinkedIn.