I’ve been triggered in my chats with candidates recently especially with the term work life balance in consulting.
I’ve worked with Management Consultants for 20+ years, and work life balance in consulting has always been one of the reasons strategy candidates explore new opportunities.
Typically, long hours and extensive travel came hand in hand with working for a top tier consulting firm.
Often, whilst consultants were young, this was even seen as appealing.
Do 4+ years in a MBB and doors open for you wherever you go.
So, the topic of balance is one I have discussed for many years. Strategy consultants have always endured working long hours since management consulting began.
However, in the current market, with massive shortages in talent in the strategy sector, the inability to hire consultants from overseas and massive attrition in both in consulting and corporate teams, those team members left behind are picking up the slack.
I am constantly hearing from candidates, at all levels, on the verge of absolute burn out and it really worries me.
And sure the term work life balance in consulting is all relative.
But I am talking about driven and ambitious people that still want to be stretched and challenged at work. They want to work hard and do not mind putting in the hours to be successful.
They do not want a 9-5 but crave the ability to have a decent night’s sleep, not working into the early hours, constantly, and having their families pull them aside concerned for their health.
Having suffered from adrenal fatigue myself, I know the warning signs well. (See link below to a podcast where I talk about my personal experience).
It creeps up on you especially if you are in a high performance environment where everyone is working hard and at pace.
At first you feel wired and tired and before you know it, you can no longer function properly.
Chronic fatigue and brain fog are just two of the symptoms that can haunt you for months and there is no quick fix.
Then there is the massive change of identity.
Going from a high performer, with the ability to get sh*t done fast, to forgetting who you are emailing and why, and having to have a nanna nap every day.
It’s just like the story of the frog being put into cold water but the heat being turned up until boiling and the frog not even noticing.
But this is NOT ok.
Line managers may not even realise they are driving their teams to burn out given the remote working environment we have become accustomed to.
High performers may feel embarrassed at not being able to cope.
But trying to solve the problem when an employee resigns does not convey genuine care, it reeks of panic and often promises made in a state of panic will likely fall short in reality.
Whilst managers do have a responsibility to ensure the health of their teams, we are the captain of our own ships. The first step is recognising the signs and being vocal about needing support.
For anyone suffering with this right now, I listened to a great podcast that may help. Link of the podcasts below:
Understanding Fatigue – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/ben-coomber-radio/id567519571?i=1000549133833
My journey – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/s3-ep5-when-anika-met-sinead-to-discuss-how-to-overcome/id1484040115?i=1000516888483
If you are interested in learning more about how Oaktree can help you secure your next strategy role or improve your hiring process, feel free to drop us a line or reach out to Anika for a confidential call. You may also read more about our insights and blogs here.