Honestly, a year ago I didn’t know if I had made the right decision moving into a Consultancy role. The fear was overwhelming. Would I fit in? Was I good enough? How would I juggle having a young family against the demands of client consulting work?
I kept saying to friends and family, I’ll do it, see how it goes, I can always find something else. But deep down I had the belief that I could make this work.
Consultancy seemed like the perfect hybrid from my previous roles within people management and Change Management. It would give me opportunities to broaden my knowledge within Financial Services, the ability to problem solve and deliver solutions to clients, with the bonus of educating and growing others through the discussions and outcomes achieved from the work undertaken. This to me was the pinnacle of what I wanted, and what I now know excellent consulting is about.
My very first concern was the formality. My experience of Consultants were all middle-aged men, in stuffy suits who are all degree educated. I am none of those things! However, I decided I wasn’t going to let my gender, image or education define my ability, and Altus were 100% supportive, and actively encouraged me to grow my own personal brand.
Are the majority of my team men? Yes! However, none of them fit the above description or stereotype I had envisaged! Everyone at Altus is so friendly, approachable and supportive and I have gained not just colleagues over the last 12 months but friends. Would I like to work with more women – absolutely! But we have a strong women network at Altus who support each other and have a real sense of community.
Next was my background. I entered Financial Services via an apprenticeship following my A levels. My ground up journey enables me to approach problem solving in a simple and pragmatic way. I joke that communicating in plain Bristolian is a skill, however I do believe that the clarity and simple language resonates with peers and clients well, thus proving my upbringing isn’t a barrier to my career choice.
“Working 9-5, what a way to make a living”…well my memory just went back to a Karaoke bar in Edinburgh! However, the fear of a 9-5 job whilst juggling a busy home life was daunting particularly as we had just got into a routine that worked for us post covid. I shouldn’t have worried, Consultancy isn’t a 9-5 job, yes there are deadlines, and yes there is expectation to be available when clients need you, but around this the job can be flexible. I still actively do school runs, take exercise classes, and balance going into the office nicely. I work in the evenings, or earlier in the morning whatever my day or routine requires from me, this works for me and my family.
The final and most important factor over the last 12 month has been my mental health. Wellbeing is core at Altus, and in March last year they supported me by providing 1-2-1 chats with a Nutritionist. That open and honest conversation really triggered something with me. At that point I realised I was the happiest I had been at work in a long time, and my mental health was reflective of this however it was now time to sort my physical health out. After that chat with Laura, everything changed, and I am pleased to say that my mental health and physical health is the best is has been in a very long time!
A year down the line and I am delighted to say it all worked out and better than I ever imagined, I love being a Consultant at Altus. If I could tell myself something 12 months ago it would have been – don’t fret, don’t fear, trust your gut and take the leap of faith, it will all be OK!
If you’re thinking about exploring a role as a Consultant, do it, and have the belief you can make it work.