Summer: A Great Time to Re-introduce Yourself to your Family
As we discussed last time, the people around a management consultant have a lot to deal with. In addition to our quirky consultant behavior, there are broader issues our loved ones have to deal with. We have spouses who have to deal with our weekly travel, kids who have taken to calling their iPad “Daddy,” and moms who have no clue what our jobs are.
But our saving grace is summertime. For the most part, the management consulting world has no seasons. In the brisk coolness of Autumn, the frosty chill of Winter, or the hopeful new beginnings brought on by Spring, the management consultant maintains a laser-like focus on delivering client impact, creating knowledge, and avoiding working with that Partner everyone wants to avoid. (Partners, if you’re wondering which partner we’re talking about, it’s probably you.) But summer is different because it’s different for those around you. In the other seasons, everyone is still working or in school. But during the summer, people are on vacation; kids are home for a few months; and interns are readily available to take on extra “opportunities for development.” So take a moment and think about how you want to use the last few weeks of this summer to re-connect with your family. (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s not summer for you, but you should probably be focused on how to make your toilets ﬂush in the proper direction anyway.)
First, let’s reconnect with the kids. For some lucky people the only children in their lives are the ones who made their smartphones. But the majority of us have nieces, nephews, sons, or daughters that bring joy into our lives (when we forget that the greatest joy in life is being single, childless, and without responsibility). Why not take some time during the next month or so to reward that kid with a fun trip to DisneyLand? But hey, you’re a management consultant so don’t waste your time on all those silly rides. Show the kids a great time by taking them to the amusement park, ﬁnding a nice comfortable bench to sit on, and spending a couple hours doing a bottom up analysis of how much Disney makes on it’s amusement parks. This will teach them about the job you do and bore them enough that they’ll be happy when you go back to it. Here’s an answer key for those of you that aren’t sure whether you cracked the case:
15,000 customers per day x average spend per customer of $300 x 9 worldwide amusement parks x 360 days = Number of tears your kid will shed during this trip.
Summer is also an excellent time to re-connect with your parents. You never call them anyway. Parents are the people that raised us. Who loved us. Who kicked us out of the house and made us sleep in backyard for getting all A’s and one B on our report cards because they “don’t want B students in the house”...sorry that last one may be just me. One fun thing to do with your parents is to try to explain what you do for a living so they stop telling everyone you’re like a doctor for companies.
Here’s a fun way to do it:
Go to their house on the weekend and sit and stare at them working around the house. For example, maybe your mom is baking you a nice pie since your home. Watch her move around the kitchen for 2 to 3 hours, ask her a million questions, take notes, and repeatedly click a stop watch while shaking your head disapprovingly. When the pie is done, be a nice person and offer her a piece while you show her a presentation on what she’s doing wrong in the kitchen. Explain that if she re-arranged the dishes she could ﬁt 7% more glasses in the dishwasher. And if she hadn’t wasted time “socializing” (answering your questions) she could have found the time to throw some whip cream on top of her pie, which, in all honesty, is a bit dry.
You gave birth to me, so let’s call it even. With all this quality happy summer goodness you’re spending with loved ones during your time off, you may start to miss your job a little bit. Fear not! There is a way to bring one of the most fun parts of management consulting home with you. Here’s how. The next time you’re hanging out with your spouse, signiﬁcant other, or someone you just had a ﬁrst date with, sit them down for a good-old-fashion feedback session. There’s a few things to keep in mind with feedback, lest it not be received well. First, don’t just focus on the negative; mention the good things they’re doing as well. Second, don’t just criticize; give concrete examples and constructive advice. And ﬁnally thank each other for the opportunity to improve.
Here’s an example:
Christy Consultant: Hey honey, do you have a few minutes to chat? I’d like go over a few things.
Sam Spouse: Sure.
Christy Consultant: First off, let me just say you are doing an excellent job at doing like 75% of the raising of our children. And is that a new tie? Did you pick that out? Great selection.
Sam Spouse: Why are you being weird?
Christy Consultant: I appreciate you giving me feedback on my weirdness
Sam Spouse: What?
Christy Consultant: Anyway, do you remember last Tuesday? I called you at 11:30 at night, and I had just gotten back to my room from a long day at the client. But I felt like you just weren’t focused on our conversation.
Sam Spouse: I was sleeping.
Christy Consultant: This isn’t the time to be defensive. In the future maybe you could just work a little more on ensuring you have a high level of Christy Impact.
Sam Spouse: I’m gonna walk away so I don’t say anything I regret right now.
Christy Consultant: Aren’t you forgetting something?
Sam Spouse: What???
Christy Consultant: You’re supposed to thank me for the the feedback...Why are you packing your bags?
Your loved one may not thank you right away, but don’t worry; they appreciate the feedback. (Editor’s note: Anish is single.)
In conclusion, summer is a time for fun, relaxation, and family. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share in that with your loved ones. So take some time, as this summer winds down, to spend a little time with your family and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much more willing they are to let you go the next time you head out of town.