Why the consulting life is a lot like gardening

After 14 years of working in the corporate world, I recently decided to switch to the consulting life. I was looking for a change as I wanted more of a work/life balance.

What do I mean? In many corporate cultures, we are expected to work obscene hours that are unpredictable and tough to manage. The stress of round-the-clock work eventually caught up to me, and it got in the way of my personal life. I had little time to spend with my kids and my husband—and forget about getting any free time for me and my favorite hobbies.

At times, I thought, “There must be something better.” Then lo and behold, one day Michelle Hickam, RoseRyan’s talent manager, contacted me through LinkedIn (an important lesson for anyone: always keep your profile updated—you never know who will contact you tomorrow!), and we immediately jived. She shared with me some of the ins and outs of the consulting life.

It turns out consulting is a lot like one of my favorite pastimes, gardening. If you’ve ever contemplated making a switch from the corporate world to the consulting life, consider how your own career and professional development can grow in a whole new direction:

  1. Start off with an open space filled with soil. In other words, be open minded and ready to start over.
  1. Till the soil. Research potential clients and their needs (in RoseRyan’s case, the gurus here share in that work, unlike independent consulting firms where the task may fall on just one person).
  1. Plant the seeds. Let clients know you’re ready and able, and be prepared for what comes your way.
  1. Nurture seeds with water, fertilizer and sun. Consultants have a box of tools at their disposal to take on the variety of challenges and issues that rise when they’re working with clients. It’s rare that there’s just one problem and just one solution.
  1. Enjoy the rewarding blooms. When you’ve done your job right, a healthy relationship has blossomed, the result of successful business partnering and rewarding projects.

Like any beautiful garden, consulting offers a ton of variety. I get to work in different industries such as technology, biotechnology, medical devices, and pharmaceutical, and I gain so many new experiences at each client. There is never a dull moment!

I get a bird’s eye view and insight on various systems and processes while I’m at different client sites, but when you’re an employee at one company, you’re usually exposed to just one system, day in and day out.

Another reason I love consulting is that my skills are always expanding. At the same time, I have more chances to meet new people and expand my circle of business contacts.

I get to enjoy what I do and at the same time have room for my hobbies. So long to the relentless, unpredictable work schedule. Hello, great career with meaningful work and time left over for ME!

Khyati Patel has been a consultant with RoseRyan since April 2014. Previously she worked in hi-tech, retail and consumer goods industries for 14 years in roles related to accounting, internal audit/SOX, and financial planning and analysis. Some of her hobbies include gardening, painting, volunteering, yoga, and reading novels. She resides in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and two sons. Check out the latest positions at RoseRyan here.

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