First Impressions of Life as a Consultant

I can say for sure that it’s not quite what I expected.  I’m not entirely sure what I did expect but I knew that I’d love the technology and the challenge ahead.  I was pretty sure my level of knowledge was not quite sufficient for the job but looked forward to the pressure to learn quickly.  The travel isn’t for me and I knew this going into the job.  I have accepted the travel and cannot complain.  I expected to be a billing machine, this is no surprise here and, again, I cannot complain.

What I didn’t quite realize, call it just being naive, was that some IT professionals don’t necessarily want to have a consultant in their shop.  My experiences and perception is the exact opposite, though I always was the one to make the decision as to whether to purchase PSO for an implementation project or not.  It’s no surprise that many of my peers don’t necessarily get to make that decision, I still find the response to my presence as a consultant surprising.  This is where one needs to have people skills and be able to form a bond with others quickly, I’ve found that taking them out for happy hour helps!

I do have some concerns with the methods in which I was dropped into my first jobs though will not go into it deeply for obvious, professional reasons.  I do have to say that it’s a damned good thing that all jobs to date have been on the one VMware technology that I’m extremely comfortable with, Site Recovery Manager.

The exposure to different environments is amazing, even better than I thought it would be.  The inability to get work done in an infrastructure that’s not mine kills me.  I can’t stand waiting on something like having a LUN provisioned, zoning all paths to storage instead of just one, making decisions on virtual networking, creating a portgroup, installing a patch, etc.  I haven’t yet worked in an environment where I could not either do or facilitate work.  My experiences are all SMB and I know that this is extremely different in some large shops, it not a surprise but still frustrating.

Mostly, I miss having that infrastructure that I can claim ownership of.  This I did not anticipate at all.  There is no vSphere/storage environment that I am responsible for, that I can assess and dream up changes to make it better, and nothing that someone else is holding me accountable for.  Might seem odd to some but I love having that which I can own and am expected to maintain for highest performance and reliability.

Sure, implementation projects are cool.  I still miss some of the day to day work that I’ve had in the past.  I am very sure that I only miss this because of my smaller environments and due to the fact that I could own my environment.  I had HBA to physical disk including any virtualization layer in between and more.  Now I have a project to plan and execute on.  Don’t misunderstand, I love the opportunity to architect a project just as much as the next IT professional, or I suspect we all like this part of it.  I just miss that which was mine and I’m not so sure what to do about that.

This does not mean that I don’t like my job, quite the opposite.