Did you fall headfirst in love with working abroad, with other cultures, seeing the world… but you need something different from a full-time job?
You might want to consider becoming an international development consultant.
The truth is, consulting is a fabulous way to toe the line between self-employment (and all the freedom, flexibility AND potential for rapidly-rising income it entails) while keeping your feet and hands and mind firmly within the realm of international affairs, focused on high-level policy and decision-making (even if the individual contract has relatively straightforward responsibilities).
It’s one of the few formats in which you get to enjoy being part of an organisation – the camaraderie, access and exposure to bright, multi-cultural colleagues, and all-expenses-paid trips to tropical countries – while retaining your independence and getting to decide what time you want to start your day, which days of the week you want to work (and which ones you want to play/hang out with children/sit outside and watch the rain (my preference). Obviously, making the decision to be a consultant entails a serious commitment – both to yourself, in terms of your work ethic and quality control – and to the organisation whom you’ll serve, because they’re trusting you but are unable to reprimand you for any negative consequences (besides, of course, not paying or telling you they no longer want to work with you).
You will already have a sense, after reading this article, of whether consulting sounds like it could be for you. If it’s not, that’s okay; frankly, most people in the world are happy to be employees with 2-4 weeks paid holidays and an income that arrives in 12 equally-proportioned lump sumps every month – and there is a great deal of stability that comes with a full-time job.
But if you want MORE, such as the chance to take 6 weeks off to go hiking around South Africa with your partner or adventurous son and come home to work on a PowerPoint for UNICEF, or being able to enjoy your child’s first years at home but have the intellectual stimulation of a policy-driven project, or simply want to double your salary, then consulting is absolutely the right option for you.
If you’re interested in consulting – in the short-term OR in the longer term, or even knowing how to get into it in case you’re between jobs or want to try something different on the side, would you help me out by taking a short survey (2-3 min) on what you’d want to know more about?
Here’s the link to the survey.
Thank you so much! Happy weekend.
Photo by Erik Hersman.