Published: Jun 12, 2020
9:30 AM: Get into the office on a Friday morning and check voicemail and email. You’ve got a message from the head of the energy practice, asking you to put together a few discussion slides on your practice area’s new sales initiative for an internal conference call later in the day. You’re happy to be included in this business development work, as it’s a great opportunity to get some face time with a few senior partners.
10:00 AM: Settling in at your desk with a cup of coffee to wake you up from a week of heavy travel and less-than-optimal sleep, you dig in on incorporating comments from yesterday’s conference call into a PowerPoint presentation that’s due to the client next week. The partner you are working with is 3 time zones west of you, so you have an hour and half before you’re scheduled to show him your work. The project is heavy on the financial modeling, supporting a $1 billion environmental compliance decision by large utility: should they install scrubbers, or buy SO2 credits?
11:40 AM: Conference call with your project manager and partner to review the current version of the draft presentation—the partner only has half an hour, and is running 10 minutes late, so it ends up being a hasty 20-minute call. However, you agree on next steps, and have your marching orders for completing the deck over the weekend.
12:00 PM: Today is knowledge-sharing day, and one of your colleagues is presenting findings from a recently-completed M&A valuation project in the conference room. You grab an office-sponsored free sandwich from the kitchen and listen in on the talk.
12:45 PM: The receptionist calls you out of the knowledge sharing session to take a client call. The client team leader is upset with the performance of one of their other vendors on the current project, and asks your firm to help get the task done. You assure him that you will bring it up ASAP with your partner, and figure out a game plan. You leave a voicemail for the partner that you need to talk this afternoon.
1:00 PM: Spend some time working on the financial model for the environmental compliance decision project.
3:00 PM: Sit on the conference call for which you prepared the discussion slides this morning. It’s good that you prepped for it, as the call was quick and efficient. Your group is trying to leverage success on a recent regulatory risk assessment project to create a packaged offering to other energy companies. The partners agree on a split of which prospects each one will call and by when. The upshot of the call for you is that you are to centrally coordinate this new initiative and create all the presentation materials.
4:15 PM: Walk downstairs to Starbucks for a quick coffee. You could get some from the office kitchen, but you feel like taking a short break and getting some air.
4:30 PM: The partner calls you back in response to your earlier voicemail. You fill her in on the client’s issues with the other vendor, and the two of you collaborate on a plan to get the extra work done without blowing your budget. You conference in the vendor team and share the plan with them.
5:00 PM: You agreed with your partner that you would fly down to the vendor’s offices to manage their work product issue. So you spend a few minutes thinking through the logistics of how best to blend in that trip with your other client travel next week, and then make plane, car, and hotel reservations accordingly. Given the complexity, you decide to just do it yourself, rather than loop in your shared assistant.
5:45 PM: Riding the subway home, you read through an energy magazine—industry knowledge is extremely valuable to you as a consultant, and there is always more to learn. After unwinding for a while, you meet up with some friends for dinner.
8:00 PM: Spend a couple hours iterating next week’s presentation—it’ll take several more hours over the weekend to finish it up.
10:00 PM: The client calls to follow up on what your resolution is to their problem with the other vendor. You try to conference in the partner, but she’s on another call. Fortunately you are able to successfully reassure the client that you are going to fly down and work directly with the vendor firm, and the work will get done. With the client satisfied, you’ve done a good day’s consulting work. Before going to bed, you check email and voicemail; you reply to one message from a consultant who is updating a financial model you built for another project and had a question about one of your macros.
“New hire’s remorse”—at least under this name—is a recent phenomenon that we broached last week. Also called “shift shock,” it arises when an employee regrets taking a job because it isn’t the right fit or is completely different from what was expected.