The good, the bad and the ugly of working in different consultancies

The good, the bad and the ugly of working in different consultancies

Anita Chandra, CYB’s User Researcher Lead, tells what she’s learned from 15 years of working at consultancies - and why CYB gets things right

Have you ever been in a situation where you have taken on a job role that sounds brilliant, but didn’t really stop to think enough about what it would really be like working for that particular consultancy?

I often found job specs that consultancies offered quite enticing - “opportunity for foreign travel”, “be part of a transformation project like no other”, “work on the best innovative projects”. Then, after an interview you come away excited having just been shown around an amazing studio/office (complete with cool break-out rooms, a bar and all the healthy snacks you could ever wish to munch on!)

So you take the job. But after a while, reality sinks in - the company politics, non-existent work-life balance, lack of trust and empathy from senior leadership, toxic culture and so on.

While writing this I’m thinking about my favourite line from the movie Blade Runner: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe…” I have indeed seen unbelievable things and learnt a lot over the past 15 years while embedded within consultancy life in various places. Obviously not all were bad, and I also had some great experiences with some wonderful super smart, creative people. But things were far from perfect a lot of the time.

I find that you do learn and grow from past experiences, good and bad. It helps you understand more about yourself, what you really want and expect from your next chapter in life and working experience; what you can tolerate and what you will not.

Here I share some thoughts about what makes a good consultancy stand out above and beyond others, and why I now feel so lucky to be part of the family at Caution Your Blast Ltd (CYB). 

Trust - allowing you to be you

Before Covid-19, flexible working/work from home was scorned upon by many companies. There were some crazy justifications for making employees keep rigid office hours or work extortionate hours for free. One consultancy I worked at, who required us to work extra hours late into the night, offered us a choice of one evening a week we could actually go home on time (can you imagine?). The offer of free dinner and a taxi home at 11:00pm did not stop me from escaping via the toilets on several occasions!

It is important to understand that everyone is unique. Different personalities may not be able to work in the same way; you may be a morning person or a night owl; you may function better in different environments (for example an open plan office or a quiet place). It’s important that you feel trusted to do your best work regardless of hours and location.

The independence and autonomy that CYB offers allows me to do my best work. I occasionally work late, but I am in my own office, with Roger the cat sitting on my desk. I have no worries of a long commute home and I am very much enjoying my work - a win-win for me. We are trusted enough to manage our own time, and take a holiday break when we need to, not when we’re told to. It brings out the best in me. 

A sense of purpose - standing for something you believe in

I firmly feel that now I could only really work for a company that has strong core values and where their purpose is put at the forefront of everything they do - from business strategy and daily operations to how they look after their employees. In the past, I’ve worked at places where senior management were merely profit driven with no company values, and employees were invisible with no form of HR to turn to. 

The first thing that attracted me to CYB was their people, their culture and their values - CYB is committed to using digital as a force for good. To be able to work with incredibly talented like-minded people, who believe in doing good for others on projects that make a real difference, is something really rare.

Acting like a family - a welcoming caring environment

Regardless of whether a consultancy is big or small, the people who work there will be a big factor in deciding to join them. Of course, when you go to work for a consultancy there will always be lovely people who you will enjoy working with - but is that enough? Most of the time, it won’t be if the culture or leadership is toxic, or if you feel excluded. Working on an exciting project would not be enough if there was only a focus on negative feedback, where success was never celebrated. I have come across this often - for some reason, some bosses seem to think always pointing out all the negatives will make people work harder!

CYB is a place that allows you to be unique, be creative and be inspired. They are a ‘family’, who are genuine and caring towards each other. We often celebrate the successes and our achievements at work - it may be done on Slack or the company meeting, but it always makes you feel really appreciated! The positivity and enthusiasm is addictive and what is nice is that we all have the same drive and motivation of doing great work. Yet at the same time, we have fun and are allowed to live our lives like we should do.

Caution Your Blast is looking for passionate developers, user researchers and designers to join its team at an incredibly exciting time for the company. If you think our organisation and the role matches your skills, experience, and interests, send your CV along with a few paragraphs outlining why you’d like to take on the role to

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