Challenges In Breaking Away From Your Consulting Firm To Go Into Contracting

Nov 5, 2014 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

Breaking Away From Your Firm

When you're an employee of a consulting firm and you're thinking about getting into contracting, one of the challenges you'll face is being able to break away from that firm in a smooth manner.

The Majority of Consultants

Most people with whom I talk don’t want to leave a consulting firm in the middle of a project. Over the course of the contract, they build a relationship with the client and a personal investment in the project’s success. What a Health IT consultant will inevitably tell me is, “I want to finish this project and look for a new project as soon as this project is completed.” What they don’t realize is that, although they’re doing the right thing for their current project, they’re making things difficult on themselves if they don’t tell their employer consulting firm that they’re leaving after the project’s completion.

Trouble With Transitioning

So, let’s say John is an employee of a consulting firm. Unaware of John’s decision to leave after his current project, the consulting firm begins to find a new project for John to start after his current one ends.  What this means is that John’s profile may begin to be submitted to other clients, unbeknownst to him, anywhere from 30 to 60 days before his contract ends. There’s really no reason for the firm to inform John each time his profile is sent out, because he’s their employee and this is how things generally work. However, each time John’s profile is sent out under the representation of this current firm, it will only create one fewer place that John can be presented by another firm on a contract basis. The consulting firm obviously does this to increase the chances of having another project for John, thus avoiding having to pay for unnecessary bench time.

This leaves only two options for John:

  1. Leave in the middle of a project, when a new ideal contract opportunity is presented.
  2. Inform his consulting firm 60 days prior to his project’s completion date that he’ll be leaving the firm once the project is completed.

Option 2 would be best for the current client. However, this option can lead to other complications with his current employer that I will discuss in another post.

There are, of course, a variety of other scenarios that can arise, which can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and no two situations ever seem to be similar.

The point of this post is to call attention to the fact that some thought must be given ahead of time to making this transition as smooth as possible for all parties involved.

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General, Consulting, Career Planning, David Kushan


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