Late night. I am working at 2am, which is actually not that unusual with management consulting. Here are some of the many reasons why a consultant might be working this late:
Some good reasons:
- Time zone change. You fly into NYC from the West Coast.
- Client deliverable due the next day, more revisions needed.
- Proposal work. There is never a convenient time to put together sales proposals.
- Coordinating with offshore resources. After all, it is just noon in India, right now.
- Easier to get work done once everyone is asleep.
- Late night flash of brilliance (rare, but does happen). Get it down on paper.
- Working hard the 1st week of a project. Exceeding expectations. Looking good.
Some personal reasons:
- Procrastination. Could have done it earlier today, but did not feel like it. Ouch.
- Creativity takes time. I am a big fan of the tortoise mind. Sometimes, creative things – requires some seeping of your mind, organizationof your thoughts, and slow mental cooking. As David Kelley of IDEO says, Use your whole brain.
- Too much coffee late in the afternoon. Viscous cycle of coffee and beer.
- MBA applications or other non-work related things. (e.g., blogging)
- Your instant messenger is logged-in. It looks like you are working, but actually, you are watching HBO Game of Thrones in the hotel room
- Trying to unwind. You worked until 1am, but now you’re too wired to sleep.
Some bad reasons:
- Received comments, feedback from other team mates too late.
- You went out for drinks, instead of coming back to the hotel to work.
- There is machismo to work hard, put in late hours and brag about it later.
- You are approaching the problem wrong. You are not working smart, and instead, you are trying to plow through the problem with just brute force, sheer volume of hours.
- You are in a bit of crisis mode. Your excel model went bad.
- You are deliberately setting a fast pace for your team.
- You are a workaholic.