Pivoting to a Consulting Career Amidst a “New Normal”

by Josh Cabrera 10/27/2020

As organizations adapt to the current pandemic environment, I find myself in absolute awe that our work filled with six feet separation is considered the new normal. A phrase thrown about to provide teams, families, and individuals alike with a sense of comfort that, yes, we will feel normal one day, that separation is normal, and what we are doing is best. But this doesn’t remove the uncertainties that accompany the pandemic aftermath and others we haven’t even experienced yet.

Like many others, I did not see this coming; one week before the economic shutdown of Chicago, I left my cushy institutional investing role of six years at a national utility company to follow my aspirations in consulting. I was ready, hopeful, and excited about the opportunity to get back into consulting. DLC empowered me to share my industry knowledge amongst colleagues and, now, clients.

I had just secured my first client as a “boomerang” with DLC and felt optimistic. I was back; I had missed consulting, the smart minds, and long-term networking opportunities within the professional circles that I had previously experienced at DLC. I missed the functional and industry optionality that consulting offered me at this point in my career, and I needed the challenge. At the time, it sounded like the right decision for me, and I was generally excited about it. Talk about timing!

Fast forward a few weeks to the unexpected chaos and uncertainty that COVID-19 brought to us all, I started to question my career decision as I laid in bed at night  – “I usually have these things thought out better. How did I not account for this systematic, tail-end risk in my career decision points?”  

Fortunately, I was left with no choice but to adjust to a new normal and proactively account for other factors that may or may not affect my career progressions. The great part is that I did not jump into this fox hole alone. My Client Service Directors (CSDs) at DLC, aware of the changing client landscape, provided incredible support and helped me persevere during these unstable times. The DLC team could have waved the white flag and adopted a passive approach during these times. In retrospect, it was apparent that it was NOT an option. My CSDs kept my spirits up with regular check-ins to talk about my life, family, stress points for work and personal, and how I was doing overall, not just the job. One conversation that comes to mind was a random Tuesday, discussing the shortened and canceled sports season, sharing Netflix must-see’s, and recipe suggestions. It was conversations like these that brought me comfort in my decision to pursue a new role during the heart of a pandemic. Shortly after having multiple discussions with my supportive and empathetic leadership team at DLC, I realized that what separates DLC from other consulting firms is recognizing there is a prevailing human element to the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day grind.

At the end of the day, things have worked out during quarantine. I have had the opportunity to work with two different clients – one a multi-national cookware solutions company and another a global retail solutions provider. I have been able to work from home, be available for my family while finding innovative ways to serve my stakeholders even if temperature checks, masks, and social distancing are now part of the adjusted interaction. Although I have missed the workplace collaboration, water cooler talks, and happy hours, I have managed to keep my sanity and develop as a person. Let’s be honest and not sugarcoat things; these times have been tough. But I would not trade away the flexibility of playing catch with my son every morning before his school bus comes or partaking in long walks with my wife to discuss our day. Nor would I trade away the decision to undergo this transition to the DLC Group. When all is said and done, I am still here, DLC is still here, and we’re going strong…so bring it on!

If you have been considering a consulting role but are hesitant to make the jump, my advice is to leap but with a team that supports your falls. Nothing takes away from the value of learning, growing, and expanding your personal and professional networks. I have already learned so much in my short time with DLC and am genuinely excited by the continually presented opportunities. I’d highly recommend the DLC team and encourage everyone to reach out about both opportunities to be a consultant and work with our fantastic team. We are here, strong, and ready to start a conversation today. Explore our job openings!

About the Author

Josh Cabrera is a DLC Consultant based in our Chicago office.  Josh has a Bachelors in Finance from Notre Dame, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and he is a Chartered Financial Analyst.  After several years in an industry role, Josh recently decided to return to consulting, accepting a DLC client service position.  Josh re-joined the firm in March 2020.  While the timing of his return to DLC was challenging due to the impacts of COVID, Josh is currently deployed on a Financial Planning & Analysis engagement with a large services company in the Chicago Suburbs.  We are very excited to have him on our team and actively engaged in projects!

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