On the Beach: Reality Sets In
So, here we are in India, la-di-da-di-da, enjoying the culture, the food, the high life- woot, woot- when, bam! Michelle gets staffed on a project in L.A. So unexpected, so out of the blue! I thought we were all in on this together, not being staffed until after we got back. I thought we were all going to be on the beach, pina coladas and sand and blow up palm trees every day in the New York office until we were staffed. I’m still trying to process this unexpected turn of events when BAM!! Josh gets staffed on the same project in L.A. The next thing you know, I look around and I’m just a homeless man on a deserted beach, and it’s about to storm.
The truth of the matter is that staffing is one of the most stressful things that have happened to me since the recruitment process started. And, it’s not supposed to be. It’s a fact of consulting life that we move in and out of projects, and sometimes it takes some time “on the beach” before we get placed on a project again. We chill out, work from home, maybe go into the office if we feel like it. What is there to worry about? Except for the fact that not being staffed means that you are not billable. Not being billable means that you’re not making the company any money; you’re costing the company money. On top of all of that, it means that you’re not networking with clients, earning miles, or maintaining a status eligible for expenses. You pretty much become Tom Hanks, stuck on an island with a mangy volleyball to keep you company. Meanwhile, your new friends are earning miles, expensing their dinners and drinks together, and frolicking in the sunshine that embraces L.A in its bosom.
Granted, I don’t believe that any of my coworkers are any more qualified than I am. I know it’s more a matter of luck. And, I know that one day I’ll get off of this sad, sad island. But, how long will it take before I have to build my own raft, nearly drown, and lose the only companion that’s kept me sane (or as close to sane as I can possibly manage) all this time? Meanwhile, my friends have been coptered out. They savor their prime rib and buttered mashed potatoes while I try to stay optimistic with my humble portions of seaweed and sand.
God help us, Wilson. God help us.