Consulting late night: 20 reasons a consultant might be up at 2am

By | June 19, 2013

Filkr: robstephaustralia

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:

  1. Time zone change. You fly into NYC from the West Coast.
  2. Client deliverable due the next day, more revisions needed.
  3. Proposal work. There is never a convenient time to put together sales proposals.
  4. Coordinating with offshore resources. After all, it is just noon in India, right now.
  5. Easier to get work done once everyone is asleep.
  6. Late night flash of brilliance (rare, but does happen). Get it down on paper.
  7. Working hard the 1st week of a project. Exceeding expectations. Looking good.

Some personal reasons:

  1. Procrastination. Could have done it earlier today, but did not feel like it. Ouch.
  2. 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.
  3. Too much coffee late in the afternoon. Viscous cycle of coffee and beer.
  4. MBA applications or other non-work related things. (e.g., blogging)
  5. 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
  6. Trying to unwind. You worked until 1am, but now you’re too wired to sleep.

Some bad reasons:

  1. Received comments, feedback from other team mates too late.
  2. You went out for drinks, instead of coming back to the hotel to work.
  3. There is machismo to work hard, put in late hours and brag about it later.
  4. 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.
  5. You are in a bit of crisis mode. Your excel model went bad.
  6. You are deliberately setting a fast pace for your team.
  7. You are a workaholic.

Related posts:

4 thoughts on “Consulting late night: 20 reasons a consultant might be up at 2am

  1. Simon

    You spent time helping the kids with their homework, or ate dinner with them, but the client doesn’t pay for that!

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Cheers to that. Like they say, the best things in life don’t have a price tag. Conversely, you can’t bill hourly for the best things either. Hmm, I guess it cuts both ways.

  2. vincent

    simply you dont know to live your life in a better way!

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Vincent, sometimes I certainly feel that way. Other times, it feels good and exhausting to put my talents to use. Be good and have a productive week.

Comments are closed.