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20-Something Describes Consulting, Summons Nehallenia’s Portal

Credit: Daniel Scanlon

He was throwing back a few drinks with his closest mates at the local Asian fusion restaurant: a jovial Thursday evening, only of note because of how unspectacular the joy was. Laughter permeated. As it happens in these settings, the question arose: 

“So, a second-round BCG interview? Remember when you were seventeen?  When you had concrete goals? Do you ever think about how deeply unfuckable it is to work in a 'knowledge-based industry?' What do you even do? What does it actually mean to ‘consult?’”

Pause. A pregnant pause. The waitress turned her head, bemused and bewildered all the same. 

The response: 

“The word ‘consulting’, extracted from all mediatic fantasy and controversy, means nothing more than a deep listening to the market: past, present, future. If we value a project, then we value any project no matter what it is. It stands immediately within the domain of reason and prescient enlightenment that we should—that we, in eminent terms, are able to—value nascent, or even unborn projects. Insofar as any one project possesses absolute qty (quantity and quality aligned), then there is no reason we should not allocate an absolute value to an absolute number of forthcoming projects. Insofar as those forthcoming projects are extinct—not yet here, also meaning perhaps never to be here—they are all the more so absolute.

Life is so valuable and I can feel the universe’s finitude and no one is –or wants– to do anything about it, let alone acknowledge. Everyone wishes to say this—and says it—but is prevented. The heart laughs at the sound of its own pulse, because of the way other sounds intrude and disrupt. It agonizes because everything turned out to be in the way. ‘All has taken its toll.’ For real. For real real real for real real(real). I want to value things absolutely. 

Consulting is valuing things absolutely. When I consult, I encroach upon the absolute clarity, where my project is I love you so much forever and for one last time and the sound of the absolute is so deafening that I step out of the chrysalis of the ego and forgive the sound of the future extinct projects for extolling their wrath in the present and twisting my heart into new shapes.

I believe without wavering that the energy of absolute vulnerability can fold over itself, seek out, and destroy every other competing last thing and claim. Perhaps this is not what consulting is, but this is why I consult: to excavate the absolute vulnerability from the markets all the time for the last time.”

And that was the end. Light applause, not really. Re-animating from her votive portal, Nehallenia crept through the ground from behind the bar. As she passed me, she gave my shoulder a sympathetic little tap. She bled her remark with haste into my ear. “Well done.” I sunk into my chair and ordered a side of napa cabbage kimchi.