Ron considered himself pretty lucky. He had been at his job for nearly twenty years. The company paid him well. His family lived in a decent home in a well kept neighborhood. He was living the American dream.
That all came to an end when the consultants came.
Didn’t see it coming
Ron was foreman of the newspaper printing operations at Tazwood Publishing. Tazwood had seen a decline in subscribers and, as a result, advertising revenue. They had been cutting costs for a long time, but nothing seemed to stop the bleeding.
Tazwood contracted with Advanced Strategy Consulting (ASC) to help them develop a strategy to reverse their falling revenues. ASC studied their operations for a few weeks, developing a familiarity with their current practices and procedures.
What the consultants did
After their “discovery phase”, they presented their findings and recommendations to Tazwood. That’s when Ron’s comfortable life began to fall apart.
ASC found that Tazwood was losing money on every paper they delivered. They recommended that Tazwood go digital. To attempt to move everyone to online content, they advised them to charge their paper delivery subscribers a high premium, creating an incentive to switch to the online format.
Within months, the paper delivery subscribers began canceling their subscriptions. Some opted for the digital content, while others left altogether. Tazwood hated to see customers leave, but since they were losing money on them, they knew it was the right choice.
For more information, see Client Relations for Consultants
Another victim of consulting
For the few print customers that lingered on, Tazwood outsourced the printing operations to ABC printing, an outside firm in a neighboring town. Ron and his entire staff were “downsized” as a result.
At the age of 43, Ron had a tough time finding work. All he knew was the newspaper printing business and other news organizations were moving in the same digital direction as Tazwood. After two years out of work, he was beginning to think he’d never find a job.
A year older than Ron, Larry worked at ABC printing. He developed an interest in computer programming in his mid-thirties as a hobby. He read a couple of books on the subject and even took some programming classes at the local community college. He had developed some web pages for some friends and eventually began a freelance business in his spare time. Keeping up on business trends, he knew that digital technology was where the publishing world was going and he wanted to be part of it.
He noticed that Tazwood Publishing was looking for web developers and applied for a full-time position. They hired Larry three weeks after Ron was let go. Within a year at Tazwood, he was promoted to manager of application development. Larry was thrilled with his new position and the new opportunities he was getting.
They eliminated my job
Meanwhile, Ron cringed every time he heard the word consultant. Consultants were responsible for turning his world upside-down. Because of them, his family was scraping by living off of his wife’s income. They didn’t know how they would send their two children to college, let alone figure out a way to retire.
That damned consulting firm eliminated my job.
If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com
As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.