Learnings Of A Consultant’s Wife

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.


72 thoughts on “Learnings Of A Consultant’s Wife

  1. Nice refreshing read ! Coming from the Consulting world myself I kind of would like to agree with you :) …A consultant is like a Cinderella takes the cake surely !!! Not often do these Cinderellas dress out of their own will though !!

  2. As a female consultant doing this for nearly 5 years now, I can firmly testify that most of this is just not true. A lot of stuff is just plain generalizations, making consultants sounds like crazy investment bankers from the 90s. Reminds me of the new show ‘House of Lies’. Just plain drama.

    • Well XYZ, you are entitled to your opinion. Also, this is supposed to be funny, but clearly you do not have a single funny bone in your body to appreciate humor or intellect. And typical of a consultant to try and say something different to just prove a point. PeAcE Yo!

  3. I am not tell you how refreshing reading this post was for me. My significant other has just accepted an offer from one of the top 3 consulting firms. This whole idea of him being gone and me staying back to take care of our family without him has been really hard for me to accept up until just recently, and this post has helped me accept it even more. This is a great post. It made me laugh and it has advice that I’m going to take. By the way, I live the show “Friends” too and I am so doing a Friends marathon Monday thru Thursday! Lol. Will you please update us with another similar post (wife of consultant talk type stuff)?

    • Oh wow! That sounds hard, with a child and all. You better be using the whole thing to your advantage :) Currently, I am doing a Drop Dead Diva marathon. Not as good as FRIENDS, but still good. A lot of changes going on in my life at the moment, and not all are funny. But you can email me anytime, and I will be glad to entertain you with some insights into the life of a consultant’s wife. We took this amazing holiday to Miami, and now another one to Cancun, and we got the best hotels FOR FREE. It’s a dream to have the husband minus the laptop. So hopefully, you’ll be doing some fun stuff soon.

  4. Yea- but a loving and willingly affectionate husband-wife relationship doesn’t exist- or barely exists. Routine, relaxing, spending time with one another are all alien to consultants. I would prefer a less lavish life-style and have an actual relationship than a virtual one- and lets not forget- they sleep through the weekend to make up for the lost sleep during the week! My husband finally realizes what a blood sucking industry he’s working for & is looking to change his job to get rid of his mundane life! Yay!

    • But I am as ambitious as my husband! I want to reach the pinnacle of the Social Work career that I am striving to build. I will have to work weekends and nights and then some. My work is going to be my relaxation! So I don’t really mind if my husband works all the time. It’s his prerogative. He didn’t take the job because “I wanted the money”. He took the job because he wanted to! So if he decides to quit and look for something else, I’d support him. Lavish is very relative. For me, more money means I can contribute to the lives of others…my family and of course charity work. And I do. But I guess we all have our life plans. My husband does get lazy on weekends, but we’ve come up with a truce…party Friday night (read go out to dinner with friends) and stay in on Saturday, sleep by 10 and go to church on Sunday and catch up on house work/chores. I am so glad that your husband sees your point of view though…an dI do hope he gets a good job that gives you both more time together!

  5. Sounds awesome…i love the stay like a pig part and the big money part and the lots of shopping part and not having to spend a single penny on your holidays part. But i also love the meeting my hubby every evening part and waking up in the morning part…so yeah, its about enjoying what you have…Happy first lohri my dear. though i know you dont celebrate it

    • You see TC, I’d love to see my husband every night too. But that’s the point right…I learned that even if I don’t get to see him everyday, there are things I can be grateful for! And some Sida is better than no Sida, right? RIGHT?

  6. Great post, lovely to find another consultant-widow. Will be reading your blog from now on. The benefits (hotels) are great but there are definitely downsides too- love your humourous take – the best way is always laughter.

    • Hey!! Thank you for stopping by my blog and taking the time out to comment. I agree that there are downs to being a consultant wife. But then I think I learned a lot more about myself because I was forced to spend so much time by myself. I realized that I love my space. I love not being tied down to a person or to a schedule, which is what I would be doing if I had a regular husband. I had such fulfilling times with my girlfriends, I don’t think I would want it any other way. So honestly, the hotels and the money are the bonus. But the time for oneself, is what I appreciate the more :)

      • I completely agree. I guess in some ways we get the best of both worlds, we just have to make sure we get the balance right. Loving your website, so much rings true with me.

  7. Reblogged this on The Glass Lantern and commented:
    I recently stumbled across a lovely blog whilst wondering whether anyone else had written about the life of what I refer to as a “consultant- widow”. This post made both me and Mr Glass Lantern chuckle and laugh at because it rang so true. Whilst I’m at home working, this is the other half of my life, the life of my husband. So I’m spreading this further for consultant-widows (or widowers) and their consultant partners everywhere.

  8. Not all consulting firms are large – most are infact very small. Even McKinsey would be smaller (in revenue) than most of the clients they serve. Being a consultant myself, I think this is fun for the first 2-3 years when the fancy hotels and airmiles matter – after that it will always be about the money or liking the job itself. No one can lead such a harsh life if not motivated by that. The wives often find it very difficult when they have kids. From an absent husband you also have to deal with an absent father.

    • I couldn’t agree more! It’s super hard for consultant ‘widows’ and their families! I was just trying to be funny and look at the brighter side of things. Can’t wait for my husband to get a different job!

    • I couldn’t agree more! I am so lucky that I do not have children yet. My husband and I talk about it every day! If we want to have children, he has to change his job. For us, it is about the money :) With me not being able to work, we need (based on how we would like to live) that much more money. Of course it’s a choice. Also, I feel I deal with it much better than how he’s feeling two years into the profession. He hates the travel, but he’s done some amazing work over the last 2 years! I guess, we are blessed that we have that level of understanding between us, we’re young…it works for now. But I do see my other friends, who have kids, really struggle. Thank you for reading and taking the time out to comment!

  9. I loved reading your post, very well written….I am a consultant’s wife too and I could relate to every word….lol esp the prickly ball of hair part…can’t get my husband to shave on weekends…..look forward to reading more of your work

    • Have you been a consultant’s wife for long? How’s that? Tell me more? It’s 2 years and I kinda feel pressured to write a follow-up…but scared I will get beaten up. Lol.

  10. My wife is a consultant but I don’t hate her schedule or anything else that comes along. What I worry about is the long-term implications of leading an unhealthy life which consulting demands.
    And I don’t think you have to cook and clean if your husband did not travel. It’s not like he will take offense at you not doing your wife-job. I really don’t act any differently when my wife is home or on the road (excepting watching an action or a horror flick).

    • Lol. I don’t cook or clean! And now that I am back in school…the consultant husband does that for me. I do act differently though. I have become super independent! In fact, Thursdays, I have to go through an adjustment period all over again. And then Friday to Sunday, I can be part of this relationship. But really, having my own space has become essential for my marriage. Having said that, I do see that it is taking a toll on my husband and I can’t wait to get back into the job market so that he can take a lesser paying, but sane job! Thank you for reading and taking the time out to comment.

  11. I am in awe of the perfection with which you have potrayed the gist of all the conversations me and my wife have had in last 5 years. Too good. I am gonna forward this to my wife now, who i think will jump with joy knowing that someone else also feels the same about a consultant husband as she does. :) Great article.

  12. Hi Nice Blog but all of it is not true , It may be applicable for you, but not for all spouses . For example –
    You can get her/him to do all your laundry; I disagree as most days, he is so tired over the weekend that he doesn’t even take a shower , leave alone laundry!

    You can guilt-trip her/him into being more affectionate: Money cant buy the time we are losing !one day either of us will wake up and realize how old & fragile we have become but there is no one to take care of.

    You can go on great holidays: Holidays ?? for the consultant you mean ?? because the spouse is expected to be happy on a holiday which is planned by the consultant and also expected to do thing which the consultant wants because after a gruelling quarter , he needs a break !

    You can buy nice things or have a career of your choice Yeah right!!!! This is very true for showcase wives not for woman who believe in hard work and a career (not a job!) this is definitely not true for women , who have a life of their own and don’t just flash designer bags and shoes bought on husband’s credit card !

    You can have your own (secret) life: True! As much as the husband would have his own real secret life (in true sense of the word)

    My husband too is very excited to see once he is back from his tours but he also expects the same kind of service that he is used to getting in hotels without offering a hand .

    • My dearest MS, thank you so much for taking the time out to read and leaving such a detailed comment. Your struggles are coming across very clearly. I won’t respond to those as I do feel it’s not my place to do so. All I can say is I am far from a designer wife…you can read the rest of my blog to see who I really am. I am a Psychiatric/Clinical Social Worker. In fact, I spent a frustrating 2 years in the U.S because I couldn’t work. But I recently made my husband transfer to Canada so that I can work. This post was supposed to be funny and light, meant for my friends…but it went viral and I had no idea it would strike a chord with so many people. I guess as bloggers, it’s a risk we take…to have someone who doesn’t really know us, form impressions about us. Marriage is hard, for everyone. And I do hope it gets better, much better for you. I won’t say anymore on that. Read the comments section to see how many people agreed with me! Having said that, generalizations also imply that there will be many who won’t fit in! I really hope you read my other posts and take the time to leave comments on them! Don’t just read the marriage ones…I have a lot of other stuff going on…including about my career!

  13. Loved this post! :).

    You know what Henri, there’s another category of consultants emerging. Those who’ve found a way to be much more than just room mates at home and natty dressers at work. These kinds are able to also live the amazing lives their spouses live :)

    • Lol Ranjan! I agree. I have a very fulfilling marriage. Just defending my post a bit, this was supposed to be something funny for my friends, had no idea it would go viral! I wrote it in Jan 2012, a lot has happened since then! But thanks so much for taking the time out to comment…look around for more stuff.

  14. Kids? Husband’s parents? Didn’t find any mention of them. Not sure how a consultant’s wife would handle them when the husband is away consulting four days a week with just a promise of Sunday laundry and five star yearly vacations.

    • Hey El, Thanks so much for taking the time out to read and comment. I have no idea why this post got so much traffic! This was meant to be something funny for my friends and family, who know my situation! But I see how many people can identify with what I’ve written about! You are right…dealing with kids and in laws with a consultant as a spouse would be very difficult. But I don’t have either of these issues! So how can I comment on that! I think someone who has these issues should write a more serious post on that. But from what I know about marriage, a ton of women have those issues without consultant husbands because traditional roles still play out in their marriage. So why single out families where the husbands are consultants! Someone I am really close to, a woman, her husband had those issues with her! Eventually she quit her job. But had the roles been reversed, I am pretty sure she’d have been expected to deal with it. So these are women’s issues, not unique to this type of family or any particular culture/country. As for me…I don’t work on promises…my husband does all that and much more. We were in the States, I made him move countries so that I could work and move away from the housewife role! We are sure we won’t have kids till he is in this job. I am pretty certain that I don’t want to have kids, so if he wants kids, I am sure I can come up with a contract for that ;) Just kidding! On the contract part!

      • I am new to this and can totally relate to it.especially the well- informed wives part and mingling and playing tennis with other consultants. I think its better to keep your self busy when your husband is away but all I can say is that its tough to live away. Maybe I am new thats why im finding it difficult.

      • Hi Amna, thank you for taking the time out to read and leave me a comment! No, you’re not the only one! All of us find it extremely hard to do this Mon-Thurs long-distance thingy! I was just trying to give our situation a little humour…to keep us going :) Hope things get better for both of you soon. As for me, I am now super busy. I am back in school…no time to breathe. Back on track…one step closer to my goals!

  15. ah well, I empathize with anyone who is married to a traveling consultant. I am in a particularly tricky position, being a management consultant, an ex wife and most importantly a mom. all I can say is that I am grateful I get home at night to cuddle my toddler. But usually i am the absentee mother, who needs to work (who loves her work even!) and have to rely on my mom or dad to play the full time caregiver to my child. Consulting is hard on people and their families, especially if it involves frequent travel. Ultimately we have to make some tough decisions and compromise career growth just to hold on to the job while balancing the family. I’d say I am lucky my firm allows me to choose the projects which dont need extensive travel. That also means I let go of some really important opportunities. And the bonding sessions – hell those are important too!

    • Ohmigosh!! R.E.S.P.E.C.T! I cannot imagine how hard it must be for you and the kids! It’s really great that you can pick and choose the projects you want to work on. I guess it’s about deciding one’s priorities and keeping them in sight. I keep telling my friends and my husband that in the long-term no one says “I wish I had spent more time at the office”. You’re an inspiration. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment! Big huge giant hug.

  16. Henri, Thanks for leaving a comment .
    Well, if this was realy meant for your friends then you shouldnt have generalised and this blog proves how frustrated you really were for not being able to work for 2 years , so really dont have to say that in so many words. ANd trust me my marriage and things with me are all fine , its just that , people who twist things unnecessarily to potray a picture that suits them is pretty disaponting

    • Hey, thanks for coming back to leave me some lovin’! Lol. I am so glad things are great with your marriage! I won’t say anything more because clearly you haven’t read anything else on this blog.

  17. Nicely written, indeed! Loved reading it… :-)

    Think, much of what you have written must hold true for a host of other career paths too, isn’t it?

    Not indulging in any fault-finding, simply doing some loud thinking!
    I understand this was supposed to be a private post which has become unexpectedly public now :-)

    • Hey Devang, thank you for taking time out to read and leaving me a comment. Yes this would be relevant to any job or profession that involves a lot of travelling. I don’t really think it’s relevant to non-travelling jobs because the distance is key for most of these aspects to be played out. I chose the consulting life because A. My husband is a consultant and B. Consultants usually travel weekly. The reason I was talking about it being a private post is not because I didn’t want people to read it. Bloggers usually love attention. I am no different. The thing is, people thought I was commissioned to write this post, which I wasn’t. This is supposed to be a lighthearted read. People ask why I haven’t written about handling inlaws, etc. Some have talked about their husbands not helping out at home using their consulting jobs as excuses. And the tones are very accusatory insinuating I hadn’t written it right! I also think they missed the humor! That’s why I have to specify that this was a post on my private blog for the 500 odd people who read my blog regularly. And I don’t mind fault finding…please go ahead. As long as you don’t abuse me or call me names…I will publish and respond to your comments! Yes…I had to delete 2 comments because of the use of swear words and name calling. I would also love if you took the time out to read other posts. Thanks again for reading.

  18. Interesting article! Couldn’t help but make me wonder – What if BOTH spouses were management consultants?! Would love to see what this post would sound like in that case

  19. Hi Henri,
    My husband is a Management Consultant too. Read your post after my Roka Ceremony with him and now again after our wedding which happened recently on 26th Jan14. i can so much relate to each and every single clause you have mentioned.
    Still need to digest how life is going to be probably for next few year.
    i just wish.. May God bless us!

  20. Reading this was like seeing my fears of consultant life come alive..people are suggesting me to think about this line of job but I am scared that it involves a hell lot of travel and will affect ones family life..

    • Hi Neha, thank you for taking the time out to read my blog. I think there are many benefits to being a consultant, especially if you’re single. The money is great, the work is never boring because you change projects often, you travel to different places…I have friends who’ve traveled to several countries…all for free! I have another female friend who is a consultant, and she finds time to workout, cook, spend time with friends, AND she is married! It all depends on what you want from your career honestly. I wish you the best in your search for the career that’s best suited for you :) Let me know if you need anything else!

  21. Wow what a post! Thank you for following my blog.

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I loved reading it, so funny.

    You know when you have written something REALLY GOOD when you have such a reaction from some of the people who took the time to read your post!! ;)

  22. OK, this is Delicious!!!!

    I’m European.
    Never lived in USA, besides Hawaii – have been happily living in Hawaii for 10 years. Enjoying my life, dating , coaching…… and then I met the most loving, willing and honest man ever…

    Consultant.

    On a long therm (2-3 years) project in Honolulu. I tell him “This is my home, I cannot leave Hawaii, I can’t stand the cold” He grabs me, looks into my eyes and says: “I’m not going anywhere without you girl”

    …we are planning a family and all that jazz….
    When suddenly (today in fact) he says that his cut off date in Hawaii in November 17th. We are moving to a new project “somewhere”

    What???
    I will have to move to God-knows-where in the middle of November? Freeze my happy hawaiian ass for half a year???? And get used to it?

    How am I going to start and raise a family where I don’t know anyone? He can’t travel back and forth, because he works 8 days a week. from 8am – 10 pm. Rarely is with me. But when he is, he gives me 200% of wonderful time.

    I will have to travel with him.
    Which is ok if we are traveling and having fun.
    But it totally blocks me if we are having a baby. It will all be on me, in the unknown places, without my friends or family.

    He said he will take care of me and I can relax and not worry.

    Consultant widow mothers… how do you do that?

    Aloha from Hawaii, as long as I have it!
    x0x0x

  23. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! My boyfriend of three years, and I, are just diving into this new territory. He started his consulting position a couple months ago. Luckily for us, his first project is only 30 minutes away, so he can be at home… But only until December, sadly. We’ve been talking a lot about our future lately and how we are going to be dealing with it all. I’ve been terrified and worried and confused, and this post definitely made me feel a little bit better about the whole situation, so thank you! :)

  24. Hi Nina,

    I am sorry I missed replying to your comment for so long! How’s it going thus far? If you need more consultant widow time, message me, and we can rant together :) Much love.

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