If you read part one, you know that the story of my love life since consulting starts with grown man tears interrupting my Chick-fil-A induced nap. And while it hasn’t all been good, the good parts have been damn near unforgettable. Here’s my attempt at giving you the good, the bad, and the glamorous- cause if you’re going to date (as) a consultant…. you ought to know what diamond-encrusted, fear-inducing roller coaster you’re getting into.
If you consider the song “Area Codes” by Ludacris your personal anthem, there is truly no lifestyle better suited for you. It’s not just that you can travel, it’s that you have to. It’s no big thing to fly to LA for the weekend to see your side piece- I mean, you’re not paying for the flight after all. The ability to city hop and be virtually anywhere, any weekend, means that you can keep cross country flames alive and burning in a way that more stationary people can’t.
It’s awfully difficult to get someone to sign up for a full-time role as your part-time lover. It takes a soldier and a big heart to date someone that’s always leaving them. And no, it doesn’t matter how early on you warn them or how much they reassure you that this time it will be different- they all eventually say the same thing. “Well, it’s just hard cause you’re never here.”
Not only can you fly to your flame, but most companies will fly a significant other or “friend” out to you in lieu of buying you a plane ticket home. Your boo wants to come visit? As the city girls said, “you gon get flewed out.” Talk about romantic hotel staycation in your project city! The super bonus: getting to sleep in until 10 on Monday because everyone else is traveling and won’t be at the client site until noon.
Uh, emphasis on FOR ONCE!!! You’d be surprised at just how reluctant the average person is to hop on a plane FOR FREE to come see you. You end up traveling to see the people you like and it can feel like a one-sided sacrifice. Not to mention, every weekend you are with them, you aren’t at home. Road life is rough- and not seeing the inside of the apartment you’re paying for every month makes it that much harder.
One of the coolest things about being a consultant is that when I’m not on the client site, I can be anywhere. All I need is my mobile hotspot and access to an outlet every couple hours. I have worked from an AirBnB in Madrid, under an umbrella on South Beach, and the back of innumerable Ubers. So when your boyfriend gets into grad school in a different state and asks you to move with him, you can. In most cases you can live anywhere so long as your flight to work Monday morning doesn’t cost a fortune.
There’s nothing more annoying than having the time and flexibility to go somewhere, but not having anyone to go with. I currently have 6 days of PTO to use up, so I figured hmmm why not hook weekends and island hop in the Caribbean for 10 days with some friends?
Girl… what friends?!
Good luck finding a travel buddy. You’re competing against spouses, rent, inflexible jobs, and grad school classes. Your best bet is a fellow consultant. Even then, travel schedules have an annoying way of conflicting.
I’m talking corporate cards and room upgrades. Now, you could totally lose the project lottery and end up traveling to some podunk Midwest town in the middle of winter. But when you win, you win big. Trust me, no guy has been unenthused about a sleepover at a luxury hotel nor complained about splitting the bill because I’m on per diem. All of the little perks trickle down to your partner. Companion passes, hotel points, bigger budget… To put it quite plainly- life can feel like a bougie fantasy at times. And it is *so* fun to let people in your world.
As a woman, the lifestyle can be intimidating to guys. It’s ironic how being highly self-sufficient can make people insecure about their own ability to provide for you. When your life screams “7 rings” from the outside, you have to work twice as hard to convince people you’re more than where you live Monday-Thursday. Remember, they don’t see the 11 consecutive hours at the client site. They don’t see the lonely tears or missed flight panic. They don’t know you help financially support a family member, nor that you consistently find time to volunteer after 50+ hour work week. I’m not saying you should lead with a series of complaints about your shiny job. Just be aware of how it looks from the outside, and be ready to deal with people’s judgments.
So there it is folks! Hope you enjoyed it. Until next time!