Loneliness, as far as I’ve felt it in the past 20+ years where I’ve done perhaps 50% of them as a consultant, is very common. If you become a consultant, you should expect and anticipate it as a given for at least part of your day. Even if your main job is pairing with people, you’ll still have days where loneliness can be felt during the day.
There are several factors at play:
People don’t know you for the first few weeks or even months, to invite you into their circles
There are meetings, shared history, shared chat groups and apps that you might not be part of so you’ll feel like everyone knows something you don’t (and they do)
There are just times when you’re not working with anyone and you’re working alone.
Be prepared for situations where stuff just happens:
People going out to lunch without you
People having meetings without you (that you might contribute to)
Chasing people to meet that are never available.
People canceling meetings with you leaving you with nothing to do.
It’s part of that work life and sometimes it just sucks to feel like people are not including you. They might not do it on purpose, they might view you as an “outsider”. They might disagree with your ideas and avoid working with you.
Be prepared for the mental burden of accepting all this, moving on and continuing to push through.
I think that’s the hardest part of the job.
Things that help:
Let people know you’re free.
If I feel bad, I look at this post I wrote a long time ago “When I want to five up”
Find the people who do seek your opinion and work with them. Realize that usually your job is not to “convince” but to “support” someone who is actively trying to become better. Try to work with those people.
If your job is to “Convince” then realize that 90% of the time you will be working people who disagree with you. Develop a mental “elephant skin” and realize you will finish every day exhausted - but also learning a lot about how to teach and explain the same concept in multiple different ways and levels. THIS WILL MAKE YOU BETTER AT TEACHING.
Look at past successes and remember how it felt before they succeeded and realize this is the same pattern repeated.
Find more customers/teams to work with so you can “breath” other mindsets and gain energy to go back to the place where you feel lonely.
You are not alone in feeling this. I feel like this. SOme weeks it’s 50% of the time. Some weeks is 5% of the time. But I believe all consultants feel it and have to deal with it.
Some consultants work in teams so they eat together etc.
Realize that usually if people avoid you it has something to do with what they feel about what THEY should be doing, not what YOU should be doing.
This (plus your knowledge and expertise) is one of the reasons you get paid more (you do ask for more money than you’d make as a hired person, right?). Not everyone can handle this. It always easier to be “part of a group”.
Sometimes at some point teams will let you into their inner circles - that’s a great feeling - and it will help make you a better consultant as you’ll be on the inner scoop of things before they happen, at which point you can do something about it.
Have a life outside of work: spend time with family and friends and bitch to them about your day at work. Spend time with your kids. Have a hobby (I do music) . Don’t let work be the only thing that makes you happy.
That’s my 2 cents. You probably have other , completely different views on the matter. I’m happy to learn! Put it in the comments.