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Unconscious Competence or Comfortable Slippers?

 
#1 Unconscious Competence or Comfortable Slippers?
09/05/2017 19:20

Noonian

A few long term consultants live here. Would really appreciate some different career perspectives; to that which I'll get from family, firm, or my own head!

In a sound bite. Things going well, good relationship with clients, interesting work, career progression with firm. Salary rises small but occasional bonus helps.

But, I'm concerned about getting boxed in to one, albeit interesting sector, with long term prospects, for my entire career. It's comfortable, and rewarding, but I am concerned it's self limiting?

Interested in others views on carving out a long term niche/career in a specialist sector vs. career movement upward/lateral to diversify; or exit to senior exec roles. It is a twist on generalist vs specialist.

Who has changed sectors/exited for the better? Who wished they stayed, and why? Who has enough conviction not to post messages like this and stay put?

Thanks.

Noonian

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#2 RE: Unconscious Competence or Comfortable Slippers?
10/05/2017 09:22

detoilet Consultant to Noonian (#1)

Hi

Ok so I would consider myself a specialist within a sector and I have tried and also managed to jump ship to another sector in the past but ended up back in the sector I have a reputation in.

How does this help ?

Well I've done the working for a big firm in that sector - they do well then they don't, you move on, next firm does well then they don't, you don't get a payrise or promotion - you move on, then there's a dotcom crash, a financial crisis, Brexit etc and you do the merry go round picking up more experience in same sector. Then the choice comes - be one of the pack going for Partner/Director etc or use your in-depth knowledge and perhaps go contracting with it - in doing so probably earn more than as a Director/Partner less stability but overall more flexible and rewarding in my view.

Where I am now ?, is I am a contractor where I go from client to another client, Region to Region and even country to country in my specialist sector. This has been very lucrative for me and I do get the odd call for working in other sectors but I know when I go up against an expert like I am in my sector - why would that client choose me or pay me the rates I can get in my own speciality sector. If you are an expert/specialist in an area - you attract a premium or demand and if lucky both.

For me in hindsight it has worked. Be careful though my niche is one of the biggest / complex sectors you can find. Don't specialise in a sector where you advise a client on different grades of recycled paper for a 5 year old HP printer. Sectors always in demand tend to be FS/Pharma/Government/FMCG I'm sure there are others. Also, widen your skillset. Don't just become a change manager or an IT Architect for a specific ERP.

DC

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#3 RE: Unconscious Competence or Comfortable Slippers?
10/05/2017 13:53

marsday to Noonian (#1)

A few long term consultants live here. Would really appreciate some different career perspectives; to that which I'll get from family, firm, or my own head!

In a sound bite. Things going well, good relationship with clients, interesting work, career progression with firm. Salary rises small but occasional bonus helps.

But, I'm concerned about getting boxed in to one, albeit interesting sector, with long term prospects, for my entire career. It's comfortable, and rewarding, but I am concerned it's self limiting?

Interested in others views on carving out a long term niche/career in a specialist sector vs. career movement upward/lateral to diversify; or exit to senior exec roles. It is a twist on generalist vs specialist.

Who has changed sectors/exited for the better? Who wished they stayed, and why? Who has enough conviction not to post messages like this and stay put?

Thanks.

Noonian

You cannot be 'self limiting' because you cannot be more than, or less than, self.

Anyway.

I think your entire post comes down to one simple question..

Am I boring/bored? All things going well, can see the future also going well, it's stable, it's predictable, it's...boring. Funny thing is exciting also gets boring. Boring becomes the new exciting.

You dont need a change of sector/specialism so much as to let go of the inner guilt that its all going well. Boring but well. And boring is the new interesting.

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#4 RE: Unconscious Competence or Comfortable Slippers?
11/05/2017 06:29

Noonian to marsday (#3)

Deep for first thing in the morning. Good advice.

It's not just accepting things are going well; but the concern of them not going well in the future.

Keeping at the top of your game is an insurance policy. But if you stick around long enough, you'll inevitably accrue more skills than the client can exploit.

Noonian

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#5 RE: Unconscious Competence or Comfortable Slippers?
12/05/2017 13:24

marsday to Noonian (#4)

Sounds like product not service thinking to me.

Put it this way then (he says, borrowing a hackneyed story).. I give you

The Old Engineer and the Hammer...

The Graybeard engineer retired and a few weeks later the Big Machine broke down, which was essential to the company’s revenue. The Manager couldn’t get the machine to work again so the company called in Graybeard as an independent consultant.

Graybeard agrees. He walks into the factory, takes a look at the Big Machine, grabs a sledge hammer, and whacks the machine once whereupon the machine starts right up. Graybeard leaves and the company is making money again.

The next day Manager receives a bill from Graybeard for $5,000. Manager is furious at the price and refuses to pay. Graybeard assures him that it’s a fair price. Manager retorts that if it’s a fair price Graybeard won’t mind itemizing the bill. Graybeard agrees that this is a fair request and complies.

The new, itemized bill reads….

Hammer: $5

Knowing where to hit the machine with hammer: $4995

Have a great weekend

Mars

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