A blog chronicling the up's and down's, trials and tribulations, fear and happiness of moving your life from the expected 9-to-5 job to a life of consulting. While it is a big and often scary decision, it is a time of discovery, rejuvenation and introspection that will help you remember who you are and who you were supposed to be. It's a wonderful journey.

Life Without Gravity

It’s good to watch a little TV:  

How sitcoms, dramas and movies

prepare you for consulting


Copyright © Luanne Lawrence  |  All Rights Reserved

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My new life as a consultant is starting to resemble some TV shows and movies I have been watching. It’s a little scary to be in the midst of a meeting, and suddenly you daydream into a Hollywood production. Sometimes I “Walter Mitty” it and escape the reality of my situation by becoming a daring frontiersman who survives a bear attack only to persevere and save the day. Oh wait. That’s Revenant, isn’t it? Oh shoot! I am still really in a meeting with clients. Shame on me for slipping into Leonardo for a few moments.

Last week, after a 5 a.m. phone call with the east coast, I looked like an extra in The Walking Dead. Thank goodness for phone calls. My dark circles and Edward Scissorhands’ hair would have frightened small children that morning.

It’s Friday and the backed-up chores and laundry are not creating a pretty picture. I am waiting for the psychologists and organizers from Hoarders to knock on the door. They would love me. I would toss it all, and let them clean my home without any protest.

There are times when I am fully engaged in my work, and I get a little déjà vu moment. I sometimes find myself stuck between inner office tensions, and my clients are at a bypass. They cannot get along, and they cannot move forward. Worse, they play office politics to make themselves look better. Oh no – I am in House of Cards. Yikes! Can’t we all just get along?

Then there are days, sometimes weeks, where your client doesn’t respond to e-mails, phone calls, snail mail – anything! I guess they are playing a little Jon Snow from Game of Thrones with me. Eventually they will reappear – live and well.

When I have been assigned to write a case statement on a heavy scientific topic like raising private funds for a new material science lab and clean room, I channel my inner Sheldon and Leonard from the Big Bang Theory. Bazinga! I just got a great idea about how the lab will shape the next generation of problem solvers. Thanks, guys.

If I need to sit with a group of faculty to explain to them a client’s new marketing campaign, I feel a lot like an episode of the X Files. If you work in higher ed, this will make sense.

On the rare occasion we can pull it off, when I finally get together with girlfriends after a very hard month or year, somehow I talk like a pirate, and we all start to resemble the cast of Orange is the New Black. Ouch! We all need to take more vacation time.

When I work on projects with other consultants, and we all come with different talents and mindsets, we are most certainly the cast of Modern Family. I am Gloria, of course. Seriously – if you saw me in person you would see the resemblance. (wink)

And finally, I am daily inventing a new episode of MacGyver. When you are a solo consultant, you start to learn every way a paperclip can fix a problem, or how a skewer from the kitchen used appropriately can clean out the jacks of my Mac or how to clear a paper jam with the vacuum (that one is my supreme discovery).

Consulting life is not a lot like TV, but yet it is. It’s one big conglomeration of sitcoms, dramas and B-rated movies. Oh wait! I work in marketing consulting. Sometimes it does feel like Wag the Dog or Mad Men – no, never Mad Men. Sometimes I do need to carry a sword like Michonne in The Walking Dead or barter for services like Red in Orange is the New Black or excitedly geek out like Leonard from Big Bang Theory. It’s probably pretty helpful for a consultant to have a repertoire of characters they whip out now and then to make this life feel a little more familiar.