Second innings consultancy

There are 2 distinct types of management consultants. The first is top of the bracket with people who are the life and soul of the corporate world. They breath Harvard and eat Kellogg for breakfast. Highly endowed with all the tricks of the game, they fully deserve their impressive business cards.

But, I am talking about the lesser mortals; a vast majority of us who have adopted the title ourselves for want of anything better. After retirement from a fairly average position in an average company, we want to call ourselves somebody. Nothing sounds better than ‘Management Consultant’ – very general, dignified and respectable, so I thought.

The first thing you do is to print a nice card, the bigger the better. If they are foldable ones printed on all 4 sides,  even better. You may take a cue from the recent trends in marriage invitations which come in booklets. Now, if you don’t have material to fill the card, do not despair. You can write ‘former president of the school recitation club’ etc, that you held under compulsion some 50 years ago. For nobody reads, let alone verifies, what is in the card.

Once you are fully armed with cards and an announcement of your new portfolio in the name board of your house, you will start distributing the cards to all and sundry. Any acquaintance, close or otherwise, whom you meet on the road or the grocery store will get the be-nefit of your card. By this time, the neighbourhood will know that you have retir-ed from active life and are trying to make an apology with the semblance of a second innings in life. They start looking at you sympathetically and buttonhole you to unburden their woes when you meet them on the road. You have plenty of free time now, so can’t you do your bit of service to them by just listening?

But, do you actually get consultancy? Not really important. On a few days you must appear busy. Call the cab to your house. Wait till you ensure the neighbours are peeping through slit curtains before you get into the vehicle. Your wife knows all your tricks and is nowhere near the door. That does not matter. She knows you are heading to a senior citizens’ meeting to enrol as a member.

At the meeting, you proudly exchange cards but have no time to read others’ cards amidst hellos, backslapping and what have you. You have amply impressed the lot of them with your card, you think. Back home, in the evening, you read their cards and behold, they are all management consultants, the score of them!

This reminds me of the good old Mad cartoon, Spy vs Spy. A guy wants to hijack a plane. After the flight takes off, he jumps up from the seat with a gun and is about to shout “This is a hold up.” But then, he finds every one else in the plane, including the cabin crew, rising from their seats with guns in hand, too, shouting the same. The cartoonist pulls the last straw, however. The little pup on the lap of an old lady also pulls a gun.

My dog is different, though. He has seen through all my tricks. When I am all dressed up to go to “work” now, he is ready to join me for a walk at 9 in the morning. He never did that in the past when I was actually going to work.

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