It’s easy to get caught up in the progression of your career, but more often than not, priorities change with the pitter-patter of little feet. We caught up with Marco Boffi, a successful management consultant who’s now building his career around his family.
Starting a family
Both my partner and I have been working in management consulting for about 10 years, and have always been very committed to our careers. However, having a family has always been important to us. So, when my partner became pregnant and we started to plan for the arrival of our daughter, we decided that we would need to make some adjustments to our lifestyle.
We both wanted to be equally involved in raising our daughter. Before she was born, we agreed that whilst my wife was on maternity leave, I would work, and then when she returned to work, I would take a year of “paternity” leave (leave of absence). Luckily, during the first year I was able to take a non-client facing role at the firm which offered less travel and more flexible hours which meant I could spend more time with my family. While working and getting used to our new family life was in many ways quite a change, we managed pretty well. I was home every night for bathtime and when needed, I would do a bit more work after dinner.
Filling the employment gap
After being out of the workforce for a year, I started looking for a way to gradually get back into the swing of things. I needed something that was flexible and provided the opportunity to work on business problems that were both interesting and challenging, which is why I started working as an independent consultant. I feel that working independently is great preparation for going back to working full time as it enables me keep my brain active, my skills fresh and to stay up to date with what’s happening in the industries I want to work in.
Initially I was worried about not having the support of the firm behind me and was anxious about finding work. However, so far in my independent consulting career I’ve found that there is actually a lot of work available and it’s quite easy to find new projects. I’ve also discovered that one of the great things about working on short term projects is being able to learn and develop new skills such as scoping and selling projects. Typically this skill is learnt much later in your consulting career, but by working independently I’ve been able to work on that skill much earlier.
Maximising family time
To help ensure I meet my consulting commitments while also maximizing family time I find it useful to stick to a schedule. In the morning, up until 7.30am it’s my family time and I make sure I’m home or finished work by 6.15pm. The rest of the evening is then spent playing with my daughter, making dinner and spending time with my partner. Being able to choose the projects, where I know I can deliver good results and work around my schedule while working for 3-4 days a week has been really rewarding. Whilst I am looking for a permanent role once again, leaving my professional consulting job to spend more time with my family is something I’ll never regret.