Thursday, April 21, 2005

Insulting the Consultant

Insulting the Consultant

I'm sure everyone has heard hackneyed jokes about consultants being people who con and insult their clients for a living; or the consultant is someone who comes in to solve a problem and stays around long enough to become part of it; or the consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time, and then keeps your watch. Just do a google search, there are as many consultant jokes out there as there are on lawyers and blondes.

Like it or not, I still have to call myself an IT consultant because that's what I do for a living. But I think it is good not to take yourself so seriously sometimes. So today, I'm not going to blog about anything serious but instead I'm going to laugh at my own profession a bit and share with you all some of my favourite consultant jokes. Enjoy!

Q: What's the definition of a consultant?
A: A consultant is a guy who knows 99 different ways to make love, but doesn't know any women.

The classified ad for a large multinational corporation says:
"Wanted: CEO needs a one armed consultant, with a computer science degree, MBA and 15 years of experience." And true indeed, a one-armed man with the right paper qualification was finally chosen for the job. Curious, the candidate asked the CEO, "I understand most of the qualifications you required, but why 'one armed'?"
The CEO answered, "I have had many consultants before, and I am sick and tired of hearing with each advice the phrase 'on the other hand'."

Sign in a headhunter's open market in darkest Africa:
- Ordinary brains $9 per kg
- Engineer brains $12 per kg
- Doctor brains $11 per kg
- Accountant brains $10 per kg
- Consultant brains $97 per kg
Asked to explain the high cost of consultant brains, the proprietor said "You don't know how many consultants we have to catch to get a kilogram of brains!"

A man walked into a consultant's office and asked about the rates for a study.
The consultant answered:
"Well, we usually structure the project up front and charge $50 for three questions"
Shocked, the prospective client asked:
"Isn't that awfully expensive?"
"Yes", replied the consultant, "and what is your third question?"

A man walks into a Silicon Valley pet store looking to buy a monkey. The store owner points towards three identical looking monkeys in politically-correct, animal-friendly natural mini-habitats.
"The one on the left costs $500," says the store owner.
"Why so much?" asks the customer.
"Because it can program in C," answers the store owner.
The customer inquires about the next monkey and is told, "That one costs $1500. It knows C++ and J2EE."
The startled man then asks about the third monkey.
"That one costs $3000," answers the store owner.
"3000 dollars!!" exclaims the man. "What can that one do?"
To which the owner replies, "To be honest, I've never seen it do a single thing, but it calls itself a Consultant."

I think almost anyone who has stayed long enough in the corporate world has the potential to become a consultant, if he's not one already. Let me give you a simple test: How many of the following words or phrases do you regularly use in your daily conversations, e-mails or reports?

- synergy
- win-win
- value creation
- gap analysis
- methodology
- matrix
- strategic
- core competence
- reengineering

If your score is between 0-3: you haven't caught the consulting bug yet but stop reading so many reports written by consultants before it's too late!
4-6: You definitely aspire to be one. I bet you are lunch buddies with the AT Kearney guy who is working on a strategic business plan for your company and shares the same cubicle with you.
7-9: You are already a consultant. You probably go to work in a white shirt and tie, spend 8 hours a day building pretty Powerpoint slides and would feel very naked without your computer laptop bag slung on your shoulders.
10 out of 10: You are beyond hope. But at least try to not refer to love-making as a "win-win" thing, will you?

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