Alex Philstrom, Business Consultant, Minneapolis

Since working as a consultant, I feel I have more control over my life. I make sure I take the time to fulfill what I need outside of work and being a consultant gives me more peace of mind that I can make that happen.

Karyn Rees
Finance consultant: Chicago

Taking control of my life

I am currently in my 4th year as a consultant with Salo, working at a pharmaceuticals company as a Finance Manager. Since working as a consultant, I feel I have more control over my life. I take a lot of pride in my work, so I make sure the service I am providing to my assigned company is above and beyond what they expect of me. With that being said, I also make sure I take the time to fulfill what I need outside of work.

Being a consultant gives me more peace of mind that I can make that happen. I feel less guilty about taking time for myself. If I don’t have the time off that I want, I can decide that I will simply have unpaid time off, given that it works around my responsibilities to the client. That flexibility is important to me.

The trip of a lifetime

Traveling is very important to me and consulting makes it more possible. Most recently, I traveled to Africa, a trip I’ve been dreaming of since childhood. I had always wanted to see an elephant in the wild and go on a safari, however, I am incapable of going on a leisurely vacation, so when I saw that Kilimanjaro was not too far from the Serengeti I thought, why not? It wasn’t until after I paid for the trip that I realized what a difficult task it would be. But, after an eight-day trek, I made it to Uhuru peak! After that accomplishment I was able to sit back and enjoy my safari and finally see my elephants. It was incredible.

Rees reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Uhuru peak, at 19,341 ft.

Glaciers visible on Kibo, the volcanic cone with the highest point on the mountain (Uhuru peak).

Feeling the Salo support

Salo makes me feel appreciated. Prior to my recent trip to Africa, I received a care package from Salo, which meant so much to me. Every year I get an anniversary gift too…who does that? It makes me feel part of an amazing team even though I don’t get to see everyone face to face very often.

Salo has truly been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I only wish I would have realized earlier that this was the right path for me. I wouldn’t have been able to travel as much as I have in the past 5-6 years if it weren’t for Salo.

I have biked through Argentina and Chile and hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. Earlier this year I was in Iceland hiking through the Fjords. Next year I’m planning a hike for 1-2 weeks on the Pacific Crest Trail. I always like to have a trip planned, it keeps me motivated.

Rees, taking a much deserved break after climbing up the Barranco wall, Mount Kilimanjaro.

Advice for others considering consulting

Often, my coworkers don’t understand why I don’t want to be an employee. I’ve received offers from my clients but continue to turn them down.

I push consulting on a lot of people. Once I start explaining the benefits of being a contractor, people start to understand why this is such a great career path! I would tell anyone that it has helped me gain strength in my interpersonal skills, work on various systems from different industries and have a hand in numerous projects…all this helps me build a strong resume, so if I wanted to go back to full-time employment (not any time soon), nothing has been lost. I’m gaining so much experience.

If you are questioning if this path is for you, really understand what it is you want in life and what is holding you back. If work is the culprit, maybe a new outlook will help you fulfill your dreams.