I'm seeking an advice on how to ask for a re-assignment to a different project in a polite and a professional manner. The main reason is to find a project that is a better match for my career goals.

I started working for a consulting company 4 months ago as a senior consultant. The company is famous for a team-oriented approach where our consultants make up the core of a team and propel a client to the next level. One of the reasons I joined the company is to learn the magic and be an essential part of such a team. In my first assignment I work solo for one of our clients. The client liked my work and asked for my extension after the original 3 months. Now I'm on my second 3-month term.

I appreciate the opportunity and I like to be helpful and resourceful. At the same time I cannot shake up a feeling that I had a step back in my professional career. The work I'm doing can easily be done by a junior consultant. At the same time I'm still oblivious to what makes teams from my company special.

I know that my client wants to extend my contract for even longer. I don't want to appear ungrateful but I would really like to be re-assigned to a different client and be a part of a team of our consultants. I would appreciate a practical advice on how to make such a request in the outmost professional manner. The client is not going to be put at risk as my work is not on a critical path.




TomW's picture
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So, let me see if I have this stright:

You just started at a company famous for its team oriented approach and you're more interested in your own long term career goals than in keeping a client happy by working for them for a few more months. You want to know how to politely and professionally tell your boss that.

Am I missing anything?

jrosenau's picture

Long-term, if you plan on being with that your consulting firm, I think you need to be patient.  It's not a bad thing to have a client requesting an extension. I would think that puts you in a good light with your management.  I understand about your "step back" thoughts; but, as M&M have often said, a person's career isn't a straight line.  Working with your client sounds like good experience and if you handle it well, I'm sure your company will put you on one of their team's too.  They may be using this time to determine your strengths and determine what team you would be best to fit on.

Not knowing specifics, I would think the idea of being on a team is something that you would have brought up in the interview process as something you really liked about the company.  If so, you can use that as a springboard to state that is your long-term goal.  If not, gently start a discussion about long-term goals and work with your manager to understand your path to what you want, provided it jives with where the company wants to go.


justakim's picture
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Have you done consultant work before? What is the typical length for a project for your company? How many projects are people typically on at a time? How often do new projects come in? Are you expressly written into the contract? Does the contract have certain requirements about who works on it and procedures for swapping out personnel?

Gaining the trust of YOUR clients for the company is a big way to gain trust. They've tried you out and find that you are presentable in front of their clients. You now have an opportunity to develop future sales opportunities through your relationship with your client, likely with more money and as part of a team. Through the strength of your network.

Aside from the questions I'd posted at the top, you should be looking around and finding out about the project stream. Who's putting together proposals/sales pitches, or whatever your company does to get more business? Who's bringing that business in? How do you find out ahead of time what is coming in? Can you be involved in helping bring that business in? (it's often possible to write yourself into the contract)

Another thing you can do is to bring up your interest in pursueing specific types of projects and asking that you be considered if that work were to come up. You'll have to know what kinds of work there are, which ones fit the criteria you want, and who's responsible for assignment on those types of projects.

So, that's some things you can look at, but honestly, I'm betting you're being too impatient and you have a great opportunity here if you treat it as such.