The anticipated, two-way dialog for this blog has been hampered by persistent spammers trying to scam their way onto the contact list. We wish there were a way to prevent this, but given the inability of even large corporations to prevent such shenanigans, it may become necessary to simply consider these gadfly goofs the equivalent of moronic hecklers at a stand-up comedy show and ignore them.
Just keep in mind that if you have a comment to express, or a topic you would like addressed, the very best way to contact us is by e-mail. We’ll print questions and comments here if they are of general interest. Private details or requests will be omitted.
For instance, a young engineer e-mailed this past week looking for information on making his next career move. The details are not important, but the man’s question was exactly the sort of thing I’d like to discuss in this blog. Reader X was considering making a job change, but worried that the new position wouldn’t help him towards his goal of becoming a gear consultant.
Very few of us currently in the consulting trade got here because of a long-term plan. More often than not, “consultancy” started as interim employment or a way to keep active following retirement from a long career. It is not as highly compensated or steady an activity as most of us hoped it would be, but there is pleasure in being your own boss and in helping people solve problems.
The type of consulting you want to do will dictate the preparation needed. One common project is wading into partially done designs and sorting them out without hurting too many peoples’ feelings. You are part emergency responder, part educator, and part diplomat. The need for tact and the art of diplomacy arise from the need to resolve differences between different groups at the client firm.
There are many ways to prepare for such projects. Often the “gear engineering” is the least complicated part of the deal. You can memorize the AGMA standards applicable to the product in far less time than it takes to learn about the competitive landscape for the equipment.
Learning to “handle” difficult people is by far the most challenging part of consulting — almost as challenging as keeping a steady flow of projects.