Tuesday, May 1, 2018

So, you're a consultant?

I had just finished teaching a half-day training on Exploratory Testing at StarEast. The group was lovely and focused, 18 individuals with different backgrounds and experiences.

Group on my StarEast Tutorial

We were just about to start a speed meeting event, and I talked with someone I had not met before. They saw that I had a speaker badge, and asked immediately: "So, you're a consultant?". I looked puzzled for a moment before I explained, like so many times before that I was a tester in a team, that majority of my working days went into testing with a wonderful team and delivering features to production on pretty much a continuous cadence. 

The question, however, crossed a personal threshold. It was that one too many to think that I wasn't out of place and fighting against the stream. The default setting was to be a consultant, not an employee in a product development company. It was yet another one of those things that made me happy that I had decided to stop speaking at conferences for now. 

Being a consultant is a great thing. But consultants are a different species. They are more self-certain. They're ok being always on the road. They often live off their analysis of other people's work. They carry a risk that I can only admire they cope with, believing there will be more clients. They get different value out of doing (usually an unpaid) talk at a conference because they have something to sell.

I'm here because I have a strong need to sharing what I have learned, in hopes of finding people who can help me accelerate my learning. I'm not a consultant, but I care. And I'm particularly lucky in being non-consultant with an employer who truly supports me doing this as long as I want to do it. It's just that I no longer really want the travel. Maybe again when my kids are past their teenage years. Meanwhile, my helping presence is online, not in conferences.