Bob was the best dog I ever had. In fact, his full name was ‘Bob the Wonder Dog’. He was good-natured, talented, athletic and handsome. Not too big, not too small. He ate what was put on his plate, not being fussy about food. He mostly did what he was told, unless he felt like doing otherwise.
In many ways he was, and still is, one of my greatest role models.
As I progressed in my consulting career, I realised that the man-dog relationship was a remarkably close analogy for analysing my work and relationships with clients. It is a slightly crazy, unforgiving and relentless profession that constantly challenges your patience, intellect and stamina.
Thinking of my career in canine terms, it helped resolve my periodic identity crises. Do I want to be a client or consultant? The question comes into stark relief when one considers it this way: Am I a man or a dog?
It’s a tough one – a question of whether you are willing to be in the service of others, rather than focusing on yourself. Willing to make owners look good, to wait for owners to feed you and trust that they will reward your faithful service with respect. Even though you are sometimes forced to turn the mirror on your master and expose inconvenient truths that have been allowed to lie sleeping soundly for years. You cannot expect gratitude, and you may never receive recognition.
Nonetheless, I reckon the Dog’s Job is not a bad gig. You get to work on novel problems, you get to work with noble people, and you get to learn something new, week in, week out. And when you reach the end of the consulting road, perhaps you’ll find there is a Dog after all!