Every Job is a Consulting Job

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Nov 26

For a long time, I’ve been comfortable knowing that every job, in essence, is a consulting job. We work at the position to build our job skills and perform well so that we will be given other opportunities.

But, part of what my job entails here at Cube Rules is not assuming that what I know is known by everyone who comes to the site. Just as I assume everyone “knows” about the differences in Gen Y compared to other generations at work, I just assume that everyone “knows” that every job is a consulting job.

Yet, the traditional media, in the form of Business Week, needs to pronounce:

The guiding principle for all working people in today’s environment is this: Every job is a consulting job. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been a full-time W-2 employee thus far, or a contractor, or consultant, or a combination. At this moment, we’re all consultants; only the lengths of our assignments vary. Anyone who relies on the security of a position because of its full-time W-2 status needs a reality check.

This is your reality check

Yesterday, I got e-mails from two good friends of mine. One a consultant, one a full-time employee. Each just lost their gig. Now, the consultant, knowing that the gig was ending, was already working toward getting the next one at the next company through the consulting firm. Consultants are good that way – they work at knowing when the position will end and actively work to be ready to have the next one lined up.

The full-time W-2 employee? That was a layoff. And even though that person knew that the layoff was probable, the details were still not there. And instead of looking for another job in the same company, this person is now thrown out into the marketplace where 500,000+ people lost their job last week.

I would contend the consultant did better this time around.

How do you work in your job to know when the position will end?

  • […] Every job ends. It is just a question of when. So when you decide that your current job will end and it is time to start looking for a new job, you’ll want to do a few things before leaping into the job search. […]

  • Sital says:


    As you say, there is no such thing as ‘permanent’ employee . In today’s work place, we’re all freelance consultants / free agents / the CEOs of Me Inc.

    It is a mindset shift. But once you ‘get it’ – it pays huge dividends to think like a consultant – because it changes the way you behave – which dictates how successful your career is.

    Thinking like a consultant (even if you have a permanent contract of employment) makes you take much more responsibility for your career, forces you to have plenty of other ‘irons in the fire’ just in case required , makes you proactive in developing a wide network. Plus of course you become laser focussed on getting results as you’re looking for a good testimonial, repeat business and referals – which of course makes you more valuable in the market.

    More valuable + better connected + more proactive = less vulnerable to downturns

    The example of your 2 friends is a perfect example of this!

    • Scot says:

      @Sital – Yes, I agree. The interesting tidbit is that it is tougher to have a consultant mentality as a full-time employee simply because there is less control over your ability to move around in an organization. Consultants can get exposed to something familiar, yet new, every six months on the project they are working with at the time. Once can’t do that as easily working for a company.

      But, the approach is spot on. For those reading this comment — go on over to Sital’s blog and check out the article there as well. He offers some different and good perspectives on this subject.

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