What is a consultant?

con·sult·ant /kənˈsʌltnt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhn-suhl-tnt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

  1. A guy who, when you need to know what time it is, does the following:
    [li]Borrows your watch[/li][li]Tells you the time[/li][li]Keeps the watch[/li][li]Sends you a bill for his services[/li][/ul]
  2. Me.

Volvo had one of their instructors quit. They need help, so they called me and asked if I would be interested in coming back temporarily as a consultant. Sure was my reply. Well today I was notified that they got the paperwork signed to bring me back as a consultant.
I’m taking a nice pay increase also. WOOT! Go me.

Congrats. Buy some Dilbert books and learn the lingo. :smiley:

I already have them. What do you think helped survive all those years of the corporate jungle?

Quoth Demotivators: “If you’re not a part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.”

Congrats. If I knew how to get into consulting for libraries, I’d do it in a heartbeat, 'cause I’m sick as hell over what the consultants who are out there doing it are accomplishing.

My idea of the perfect consultant (WARNING faded old engineering adage follows):
“There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, “This is where your problem is”. The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark $1; Knowing where to put it $49,999.”


A coworker I had was almost that guy with the chalk :slight_smile: He worked as a consultant for the factory from which he’d retired, like Rick. In the years since this arrangement started, he’d managed to do things like bill for time spent in transit. This was spawned by a call when his replacement made him drive in because “this is too complex to explain over the phone,” for what turned out to be a five-minute problem. If they’d told him on the phone, it would have been for free.

I’m one of those consultants who hate the crowd that make that demotivators adagio true. But hey, if a company wants to pay me for one hour’s worth of my not-inconsiderable rate to run a report they could do themselves, who am I to complain? I do explain they could do it themselves - before doing it the first time (and, of course, billing).

Congratulations, Rick. I would be interested to hear how much better they listen to you when they’re paying you a consulting fee verses when they were paying you a salary.

Actually while the tittle is consultant, I will be doing the exact same job I did before, for a large increase in pay. :smiley:

NinetyWt my father the engineer told the same story except it was a refinery, and after looking at the prints for 15 minutes he requested a sledge hammer. Walking to the middle of the refinery he picks one particular valve and swings the sledge hammer 5 times. On the fifth blow the plant restarts.
The itemized bill goes:
5 swings with a sledge hammer @ $20/swing = $100
Knowing where to swing the hammer = $49,900

In my line, the definition of consultant is anyone who has to come 50 miles or more to tell you in person what you told him on the phone.