Let me begin with “Who or what is a consultant?” For those who have watched “Up In The Air” or those of you who are consultants or their wives, bear with me for a few sentences. A consultant works for a large corporation that gives advice to other large and small corporations or businesses; s/he travels across the country/globe every week from Monday to Thursday to different client sites. These are short-term engagements typically ranging from 2 weeks to sometimes a few years, but the latter is unusual. Consultants are also the reason why flights to anywhere are expensive on Mondays and Thursdays. Yeah, those corporate stooges!!
1. A Consultant is NOT a spouse:
A consultant is too busy to be a spouse. At best, I’d say s/he is a room-mate. Yes, NOT flat-mate, a room-mate. One who shares your room on the best days of the week, i.e. Friday to Sunday. By shares, I mean dirties. Yes, their suitcase will be open, dirty clothes will be on the floor, and will remain there till Sunday evening, when they have to pack to leave on Monday.
2. A Consultant tends to put on weight:
What exactly do consultants eat when they are at the client site? Well, lard. They will eat all their meals in different restaurants. From the hot chicken wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, to multi-course-$100/head-fancy meals. And consultants don’t drink water. I want to say their choice of drink is Beer and Coke/Pepsi. So if you find your fatter, oops better-half is expanding his waist line every week, do not be surprised. I think I can safely say that the women consultants don’t put on weight; they go the other extreme by picking on salads. I don’t know a single female consultant who is even a little over weight. They are all hot and sexy! Damn them!
3. A Consultant will not have time for you from Monday to Thursday:
My husband and I are in a long-distance relationship. From Monday to Thursday, we hardly speak for more than a few minutes scattered through the day. No, he doesn’t work late hours or anything. After work, he has to “bond” with his team playing tennis or eating elaborate dinners and discussing “work”. That’s right, inverted commas. Interpret it the way you want. You will have more of a relationship with her/his voicemail than with her/him.
4. A Consultant will hang out (a lot) with attractive people that s/he finds intellectually stimulating:
All I am saying is, open those newspapers people and read up on the latest deals, technology and other developments in the corporate world or you may intellectually lose your spouse! I can say I am doing fairly well in this area. I can dish RIM’s tablet eloquently or think aloud about Netflix’s expansion to Europe and if that is going to renew its fading glory. So if you want to not lose your spouse to his tennis partner or a beer-chugging lunatic, be well informed.
5. A Consultant is like Cinderella:
A consultant will wear nice, crisp suits at work. Will be clean-shaven or will have a well-trimmed beard from Monday to Thursday. But when she/he comes home, the clock will strike 12, and s/he will be transformed into a shorts-wearing, prickly ball of hair!
So WHY, you may ask, WHY should you be married to a consultant! Here’s why.
A. You can get her/him to do all your laundry:
I may have done laundry by myself like once in the last 6 months. I just keep piling the clothes up in a basket. On Sundays, when Sid does his laundry, I just pout a little, and he does all my laundry. Now, if only I could train him to fold the clothes, it would be the perfect life!
B. You can guilt-trip her/him into being more affectionate:
Consultants are people too! Which means, they feel bad about not giving you enough time. So if you want something fancy, you should rub this in their face to get it! And may I say, the distance is great for personal chemistry. I cannot elaborate more than that here, as my father, my mother-in-law, her sisters and friends are reading this post. But call me, and I will tell you all about it!
C. You can go on great holidays:
A by-product of their hectic lifestyle is often raking up the air miles and hotel points, which you can then redeem and go on expensive holidays, i.e. if they will ever get any time off. But you can. I know people who have never had to spend on a hotel or a flight when on holiday! Or you can use those miles to fly your friends to you or you can fly out to see them whilst your consultant spouse is at work!
D. You can buy nice things or have a career of your choice:
A consultant’s life is not easy. Poor things are constantly on the move, always tired. And no comfortable hotel or fancy car or delish meal can make up for having to work this hard. So, they are paid reasonably well. As a result, you don’t have to scrounge for every penny or go after that prestigious job. You can be a moderately impulsive shopper and be a social worker since you don’t have to worry about bringing the dough home. Hey, I am an emancipated woman and all that. I am just being honest about the options available as a consultant’s spouse.
E. You can have your own (secret) life:
Oh no no NO! I am not encouraging you to go have an affair! I am saying, be like me. I live like a pig from Monday to Thursday. I don’t clean, don’t do the dishes, eat quickly cooked no-frills meals, have a glass of wine and vegetate in front of the tv watching re-runs of FRIENDS. I also have girlfriends over often and we act like teenage girls without my husband around to judge us. So in fact, this is my perfect life. I have 50% of time for me and 50% of time for my husband.
Honestly, I like that my husband is my room-mate. He is always excited to see me when he gets home and even sadder when he has to leave on Mondays. And, if I had to live with him 7-days a week, then I’d have to cook and clean and be a wife! I am much happier being the part-time girlfriend who sits with her cuddly boyfriend on the couch on Saturday nights and watches movies as he falls asleep at 9.30PM!
This post is dedicated to my best friend Chani and my husband Sid and to all my consultant friends and their wives/girlfriends/partners, etc.