If you’re an independent IT consultant who is wondering if the grass might be greener in a corporate job, you should consider how well your skills and your personality would serve you in the corporate world.
The key characteristics that make a person a good IT consultant includes (but is not limited to) being:
- Proficient in one or more technologies
- An excellent problem solver
- An independent thinker
- Able to lead as well as work with a team
These all sound like great traits for an employee too, right? Well, based on my experiences, being an independent thinker can be an IT consultant’s undoing when they try to transition to employee status.
I’m an IT consultant who rides the fence between consultant and employee depending on what opportunities are available. My wife chuckles a little when I say that I’m going to do W2 work for an organization, but somehow I usually make it work. I’ve seen many consultants try and fail, though. It can be tough to submit to authority if you’re not used to looking for direction from anyone else, especially if the PMO director lacks essential skills and experience and has a Napoleon complex.
I’ve found that working for startups is the exception. Whether you’re consulting for a startup or working directly for one, the thinking, the attitude, and the ego are usually the same. Startups often want skilled, confident, decisive, and entrepreneurial employees who can wear several hats, and independent IT consultants often bring all of those characteristics and abilities to the table.
Ask yourself these questions
Before you decide to dip your toe into the corporate waters, ask yourself these tough questions:
- Can I shelve my own ideas?
- Can I submit myself to authority, no matter what the leadership looks like?
- Will I be able to resist the temptation to pull up stakes and quit if they just don’t “get it”?
Moving from the consulting role into the employee role for a large organization isn’t always doomed to fail, but it does require a fair amount of adjustment in terms of attitude, thinking, and ego. Your tech guru status changes when you become an employee, so just be sure your ego can handle that before hanging up your consulting career.
If you gave up your IT consulting career for a corporate job, share your experiences in the discussion.