We may never come to a clear conclusion about what caused the pandemic.

But what is clear is that it has upended just about every aspect of our lives and has unleashed unprecedented forces for change in just about every part of our personal and professional lives.

Following two years of disruption, the war in Ukraine has upended the world’s geopolitical order. It is causing dislocations to the world’s financial markets and the global energy industry, creating food shortages, generating a refugee crisis, causing widespread disruption to the supply chain, and fueling institutional distrust.

Many of these changes were already underway before the Covid-19 rampage started. However, the pandemic is the lens that has magnified their impact. It is the catalyst that has unleashed widespread frustration and a backlash against current leaders and societal trends. At the same time, it has accelerated innovative change and the demand for systemic reform.

Whatever the outcomes—this is now the foundry in which our future is being forged.

Times of turbulence are times of opportunity

In his article Failure’s FalloutBruce Mehlman shows how major crises have a fallout effect that generates a backlash against the status quo and accelerates innovative change and reform.

change generates both a backlash toward the past and acceleration of innovation toward the future.

Mehlman’s article prompts both organizations and workers dealing with the challenges of a post-pandemic world to recognize that the “new normal” will not be the “old normal” and consider how they can best take advantage of new opportunities as the future unfolds.

All of us have a choice—do we seize the opportunity to shape our future, or do we just become victims of the outcomes.

This opens an opportunity for people thinking about a career in consulting because…

Many people are actively seeking a career change

  • Surveys showed that even before the pandemic, a large proportion of workers were already unhappy, stuck in a toxic work environment, bored, and unfilled with their jobs 
  • The pressures and disruptions of working from home got people taking a fresh look at what is important in their lives, and realizing that “It doesn’t have to be like this.”
  • People don’t want to just come back into the office; they are rethinking their priorities and seeking a better work-life balance
  • Many people report feeling undervalued in their jobs; they want to be able to use their skills; they are seeking the opportunity to achieve their full potential. 
  • According to the Asana report Anatomy of Work 2022: Embracing the New Age of Agility “42% of workers report suffering burnout and imposter syndrome.”

On the other hand, many employers are finding it challenging to find the talent they need

  • Talented people are leaving
  • They need to fill existing skill gaps
  • The demands of digital transformation require new skills forcing employers to bring in outside people with experience in deploying new agile operating models

In addition to these push-pull motivations for a career change, several critical enablers exist that are making it easier for people who are considering a consulting career.

The relationship between work and people has changed.

  • Employers have long resisted widespread  use of remote work; the pandemic has changed this and made it necessary for both employers and employees to come to grips with the necessity of Working from Home (WFH)
  • Although adapting to remote work has its pain points, organizations and workers are figuring it out, and both are starting to see benefits in this new way of working.
  • In addition, the massive increase in remote work is leading to a surge of innovation in hardware and software to support remote working.
  • The Asana Anatomy of Work Global Index 2022 report (p13) shows that remote work will continue to spread as technologies such as video, audio, connectivity, AI, and virtual reality, continue to improve 
  • Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom has researched the topic of Remote Work for over twenty years. Bloom’s research shows that full-time remote workdays will increase to around 25% once covid restrictions are lifted—up from only 5% pre-pandemic.
  • Bloom observes that there has long been a close link between flexi-place, choosing where you work, and flexi-time, choosing when you work. “I have seen this over the last two decades as I’ve researched remote work, so the explosion of hybrid work will drive a surge in more flexible working.”

Innovations in digital platforms are enabling Work from Anywhere (WFA)

  • Tech vendors have responded to the massive increase in remote work with a massive surge of innovation in hardware and software to support this style of work. 
  • Bloom also predicts that remote work will continue to spread as the equipment gets better; technology innovation is driving rapid advances in equipment to support WFA like improved video and audio systems, virtual reality, and connectivity, 

We are experiencing a seismic shift in the world of work…

In the early days of the pandemic, there was widespread optimism that the disruptions would be short-lived, that people would soon be back working in the office, and that life would soon be back to normal.

It turned out that this was not the case.

As things dragged on, people learned to adapt to having the kids at home, the necessities of homeschooling, learning to share working space in small accommodations, and connecting with teammates in a virtual world.

After the initial shock and the challenges of figuring out how to keep the show running, people found some real positives in the new arrangements. Many parents discovered new joys in spending time with their children and families and found increased hours in the day without the stress, cost, and time spent in the daily commute.

Employers were surprised by the unexpected pushback when they started to plan for return to the office and set deadlines for the return. And, they were indeed surprised by the sudden waves of resignations from employees who were resisting return to the old ways and, in many cases, had come to the realization that they had options and wanted a better life.

Anne Raimondi, The COO of ASANA, has summed up the impact of the pandemic on the world of work.

“The unprecedented disruption of the pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we live, including rethinking work and our relationship with it.”

The Golden Age of Consulting…

The dictionary defines a Golden Age as a flourishing period in some aspect of life.

The disruptions we live through are indeed heralding a Golden Age for consultants.

  • People who want to make a career change see new possibilities for a happier and more fulfilling life, and they are less fearful of quitting their jobs.
  • Organizations and businesses have discovered many benefits of virtual working and are adapting to a new work of hybrid work. 
  • Employers are increasingly turning to non-traditional arrangements such as contracting, freelancing, and the use of external specialists to meet their needs for workers and in-depth specialists.

Dr. Sahar Yousef, cognitive neuroscientist and a lecturer at the Berkley Haas School of Business, sums up the situation. “The world is in motion. Organizations need to embrace the reality that change is the only constant. Organizations that don’t will be left in the dust. 

We need to be doing more than just preparing for the future—we need to be making a plan for the future.”

Marketers are always quick to pick up on any new trend, and consulting is no different.

There is already a proliferation of marketing aimed at consultants that focuses on the glossy superficialities of high consulting fees, luxury lifestyle, and working from poolside cabanas.

However, consulting is not for everyone, and you would be wise to dig a little deeper into the possibilities before you commit to a switch to a consulting career.

It makes all the difference if you work with someone who has walked that path before.

I Can Help You Get Started

Contact Mike