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Consulting or End User Firm

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I had been working 17 years in a consulting firm and 4 years in an end user firm.  Why did I jump into a different environment?

Working Hours

In consulting firm, I used to work long hours and I travel almost 80% in a year.  Therefore I was unable to meet my family nor have a life to hang out with my friends frequently.  Comparing to end user firms, long hours still present but its controllable.

Scope of Work

Both environment have different scope of work yet challenging and interesting.  In consulting, we are focused on a particular solution or service plus role based, if being assigned to a project.  In end user environment, you basically have multiple opportunities to be everywhere, for example in an IT environment I had the opportunity to learn different ERP solutions and other available solutions that I did not had the opportunity to explore in a consulting firm.

Flexibility

Recently, consulting environment allows flexibility of working hours and working from home.  However, I didn’t manage to enjoy these as I am assigned with multiple tasks that requires me to be present in the office during work hours.  This is only for my case, my colleagues were enjoying this privilege.  Comparing to end users, depending on Multi National Companies or not, some may enjoy working flexibility while some could not.

Learning

Both environment allows to learn and trust me plenty.  For consulting my learning was the exposure to be assigned in projects in multiple countries.  What I learned was working culture, languages and adaptability.  While in end user environment, I learned different solutions and technologies that can assist growth and profitability.  So both environment provides me different learning curves.

Culture

I like quick decision making and speedy delivery of tasks and assignments.  This adds on to process driven with timeline.  Therefore consulting has it all.  Nevertheless, it does not mean that end user environment does not have these value added culture, again it depends on the organization setup.  I had experienced, as a consultant in an end user environment, that things will never move and the clients are just willing to pay consulting fees for us to be there!  Trust me there are clients who are like that, but its not good for an individual in career perspective and the client as well in terms of profitability and sustainability.

Preference

My personal preference, after 4 years in an end user environment, culture was not something I accept as its really different as if I were a consultant.  Change is the most difficult process as an experience hire bringing knowledge into this environment.  On the positive side, I can get my hands on different IT solutions that are by different solution providers.  I can also have the opportunity to attend events to learn what’s the latest trends and meet people from multiple industries, learn different technologies and best of all apply it to the current organization.

No matter what environment we join, we do have our personal preferences but it is important what makes you happy to be productive to contribute to the organization’s profitability and growth.

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