Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Transformation is Nearly Complete

So yesterday a friend of mine told me I was “un- New York” because I tend to wear my seat belt in cabs. I know it’s kind of weird, but I also like to avoid whiplash when I can, and my brother-in-law Mike was nearly killed in a cab accident coming back to Brooklyn from the airport, so whatever.

But today – nearly seven years since I moved to New York -- I think I have attained the status of naturalized New Yorker. Why?

Because today I became a CONSULTANT.

Ahhh, the consultant. The consultant to a new New Yorker is a mysterious beast. When I first moved here, I’d meet them all the time. What do you do? “I work on Wall Street.” Oh really, what do you do? “I’m a consultant.” Um, what does that mean? “I consult.” Hoooo-kaaaaay…

Knowledge of the consulting business is nothing you can learn from a book. You can’t train to be a consultant, or get a degree in consulting. It’s one of those things about the New York business you just have to learn about through osmosis, until it becomes an ingrained part of your big city self that you don’t even actively think about anymore, like pre-walking on the subway platform or knowing where to find a public bathroom.

Anyway, apparently I've been here long enough to understand how to be a consultant. My first day as a media consultant at a policy think tank went something like this:

Genius man with PhDs: “Erin, what do you think we should do?”
Erin: “Blah blah blah, media strategy, blah blah blah, press, blah blah…”
Genius man with PhDs: “Oh my god, you are BRILLIANT! We LOVE you! We would have NEVER thought of that. Can we throw some money at you? Do you want a foot massage?”
Erin: “Um. OK?”

I don’t really know what to think about all this adoration and fiscal largesse coming from an employer; I’m certainly not used to it.

I’m just hoping that once they implement my “brilliant” strategies that they have the desired effect. Because if they don’t, I’m going to feel like a real dolt.


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