This is the second article in a series where I’ll talk about the essential traits of an E-g consultant.
First, I should make it very clear that while we at E-g love many things about consulting, we absolutely do not think we are somehow superior to people that don’t love consulting. One of the wonderful things about this world is that each person is bestowed with gifts and talents that lead to tremendous variety in what we do when we go to work everyday. For example, I know without a doubt that I would make a terrible NICU nurse. While I have tremendous compassion for sick babies, I simply don’t have the emotional courage to do that job but I have a lot of respect for those that do. Our value as a person is not rooted in what we do for a living.
Second, we always try very hard to match our folks up with the technology, location, people, methodology, etc… that they love the most. The reality is that it simply can’t happen all the time and if you’re not flexible in many areas, life as an E-g consultant may not be your cup of tea.
The places we work
There’s no place I’d rather show up for work each day than the E-g office. It’s well designed (thank you Don, Rebecca and many others!) and I love my standing desk and the pictures of my beautiful family around me. I most love the people that inhabit the office. There’s also the great kitchen with nice snacks and drinks which, on some days tend to test my willpower a bit if you know what I mean. I hate you Riesen chocolate chews! No, I’m sorry. I love you.
When you bring people together in a place, culture happens. A place creates an environment for interaction and relationship building. When you have a bunch of E-g people working at the E-g office, you cultivate a culture that supports E-g vision and values. It’s really a wonderful thing.
However, all E-g people at the E-g office all the time is not reality. The reality is that we are often called to work alongside our clients. We recognized this reality when we started the company and we embrace it. Part of doing the right thing and serving our customers with excellence occasionally means packing up a few of our things and temporarily setting up camp at their location.
Our clients vary widely in what business they’re in. Their business may not be one that even requires an office like environment. Take manufacturing for example. It’s quite common to see large manufacturing facilities with a small corner of the building that looks like it has some offices. Manufacturing companies use space very efficiently and sometimes they simply don’t have much space to accommodate consultants. It also may be the case that you’re working on software that runs on the shop floor and you need to be by the equipment (A love of mine). Equipment usually gets hot when it runs and fans can be used for cooling. Cooling fans are usually loud. Get the picture?
Take a second to look at the photo on this post. Does that dude not violate every ergonomic law we hold dear today? That chair is terrible and look at that guy hunch! Not only is that room loud, but it’s also very likely to be very chilly, which is probably why both gentlemen have long sleeves on. Also, there are zero personal effects. This is simply how you worked if you were a developer in the 70’s. That’s Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie in case you were wondering.
Life as an E-g consultant means your working environment may vary widely and unless you’re alone it also means inserting yourself in other cultures. I’ll cover people in another post, so we’ll leave that aspect alone for now. We simply have to be prepared for change when it comes to working environments. While we always try to do our best to provide our folks with the best possible working environment, there are limits. We want to be sure there are no surprises when we are interviewing candidates so we always want to be very clear on this topic. We have people that have been working at the E-g office for years and we also have people who change working locations 3 or 4 times a year. It’s extremely difficult to predict how this aspect will play out for any one person.
It should be mentioned that we do actively monitor how folks are doing when working at a client site. Additionally, we encourage regular communication in the other direction. We try to make the time to actively manage any concerns our folks have rather than just saying “deal with it!”. We want to treat people the way we want to be treated.
Personally, I enjoy different environments. I do love the comforts afforded by the E-g office for sure, but I also like experiencing new things. I like to view different working environments as an opportunity to bring a little E-g culture along with me. It’s also great for building an appreciation of what the E-g office has to offer, which guards against getting to the point where we take it for granted. I like food, so working at different locations brings different possibilities for eating, which is great.
If you think you can thrive in the midst of what might seem like a roll-the-dice “where will I work for this project?” environment, then you might want to be an E-g consultant.