Two of my good friends have recently made very neat posts on their respective blogs.
My friend S. Chen recently described what she saw as the traits which best characterize the strange quirks of the creature we know only as Homo consultantus. I have to say she nails it quite well.:
The typical consultant…
- Replies to emails ASAP. Especially if it involves free Celtics tickets (heehee)
- 2 minutes early is on-time, 1 minute-late is late
- Calls all the time. If no pick up, leave voicemail and send email and follow up within the week
- Is nitpicky in output. Grammar, spelling, accuracy, and consistency is combed over and over and over until you’ve probably worked on the same slide at least 100 times
- Listens and takes notes. Instructions and valuable information are only given once. If you didn’t take notes or you didn’t repeat it back and ask a question then and there, then you will look inexperienced if you’re confused later on
- Has many, many deadlines and manages to meet most of them
- Is eager to take initiative and plans meticulously. Favorite RSVP/opinion data captures include Excel, surveymonkey, evite, and our internal databases.
How does that contrast to normal life? Most normal people…
- Take days to reply to an email that supposedly was urgent. Add handicap points if they don’t own a blackberry
- 7 minutes late is on-time
- Don’t leave voicemail. Maybe a facebook poke
- Don’t send follow-up emails or “FYI” tidbits
- Don’t pay attention to details in an invitation. Even if all the details are in the email – place, time, directions – people will still call or email back and ask what it is
- Find that time is all relative and deadlines are flexible
- Hate planning
This is a pretty good description of what the “culture” at a consulting firm is like. What does it mean when I find myself more like the people in the second list…?
My college roommate Eric seems to have absolutely nothing to do, but blog. But, on the way, he’s made his fair share of awesome posts:
- Five Tips for College and Beyond
- An awesome (and unbelievably nerdy) music video about… PCR:
- An interesting discussion on how multiple labs have named the same protein different things — particularly interesting to me, as my thesis research focused on what occurred in that particular biological system