There are many pros to being a consultant. We get exposed to vast ways companies do business (the good, the great, and, the "Seriously? Really?"). Of course, we find some quirky things here and there, too. We wanted to feature a few “Day in the Life” of a consultant entries over the next few weeks (all in good fun, of course). Maybe you can find your company in one of these entries?
Since consultants are typically temporary help, we often get placed at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to desks and seating arrangements. Sometimes we sit two feet away from the copier. Much too often, we find ourselves in direct earshot of the restroom. One of our clients had an open ceiling environment with a locker room nearby because the gym was in the same building. Of course, we sat right next to it. Have you ever tried conducting a conference call while listening to people jibber jabber in the shower only 10 feet away? Yep. Awkward.
Another consultant on the team was placed in a conference room. He often had to vacate the room for meetings when he wasn’t a participant. His “alternate” desk was a small table with one of those stackable plastic chairs in a large file room with no windows (I later heard a rumor he started asking people if they had seen his stapler).
I’ve sat at a rickety card table and spent three weeks on a 6ft long folding table you can purchase from Costco. Lesson learned: always carry a mousepad because a computer mouse doesn’t like to work on those folding white table surfaces. Some clients prefer their offices be in the dark (especially engineers). Whenever I was on the hunt for Basis, I would first pass a group of programmers typing away in their offices in the dark (with the exception of the glow from the monitors). The jury is still out on whether they just like it that way or if they were too engrossed in their work to make the motion-sensor lights go back on.
Another good one was setting up a partition in the cafeteria for the consultants to work behind. A lot of gossip occurs while people are microwaving their lunch or preparing a cup of coffee. The consultants that worked through lunch had the pleasure of several employees watching All My Children at noon every day. We hope those faithful viewers aren’t going through too many Susan Lucci withdrawals since the show’s cancellation. However, “online episodes” will be returning sometime later this month.
Our winner was a small cubicle occupied by one of our consultants that was in a large work area. The work area eventually got turned into a conference room (her desk included). Her cubicle was literally IN the conference room. When the conference room projector was running, she could only use her small desk light as not to interrupt the meeting. She’d let her phone ring nice and loud while meetings were in session, in hopes of getting her relocated. But it didn’t work. One day she was locked out of the conference room that housed her cubicle and had to scale a filing cabinet to climb over the high cubicle wall, in order to get to her desk. Luckily, the Director of Safety found out and came to her rescue, finally relocating her cubicle outside of the conference room.
On the flipside, we’ve also been placed in really nice conference rooms. One co-worker was on the 21st floor in a conference room bigger than a movie theater. Sometimes we find ourselves right next to the CEO. And, often times we’re lucky enough to be kept well fed with candy, crackers, homemade casseroles and sometimes a cheese spread!
Do you have any funny stories about your “desk”? We’d love to hear them!