Monday, January 16, 2006

A Joke about Consultants...

From my mission president.

: )

So I sent out my yearly update e-mail, and this was the first year that I had my (former) mission president's e-mail... so I included him and his wife. A few days later I get an e-mail back: "What a lovely letter... who is this?". I reply with enough information for him to remember me, and he invites me to dinner.

We weren't really close during the mission, and we haven't had reason to speak in 10 or so years... but I respect the man and the mantle he wore (with aplomb, mind you) immensely. So I was both intrigued and a little worried... especially about how I would respond to any "why aren't you married, yet, Elder" questions. But last night's dinner was delightful, and the conversation never went anywhere near my marital status... so I counted it a success.

And then I get an e-mail from him this morning, and I now count the evening a resounding success:

Hi Brother! Was good to break bread with you yesterday. Both [my wife] and I felt good to have had you here along with [our other dinner guest]. As I was going through some files today I ran into something I thought you would get a kick out of.

Here it is:

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully-grazing flock and calmly answered "Sure."

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his notebook and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an e-mail on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes received a response.

Finally he prints out a 150 page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep."

"That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will give me back my sheep?"

"Okay... Why not." answered the young man.

"Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd.

"That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required" answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you know jack about my business...

Now give me back my dog."

I don't know about you... but I think that that's a great joke!


Brian Duffin said...

So true, so true! My company hired some overpaid consultants to tell us things we already knew, which they knew nothing about. In fact, we paid a large sum of money for a spreadsheet that we recently scrapped for a 'home grown' version that works much better.

I abhor consultants, unless I have the chance to make that kind of money, for so little work. :-)

Silus Grok said...

I can't exactly say that I abhor consultants... as I am one... and I do tell people things they already know — at least at some level. My job, though, is to bring those thoughts to the surface and to render them into something useful.

And I'm worth every penny.


Anonymous said...

Amen to the last comment posted! I too am "one of those" dreaded consultant types. I used to provide phone and email support and hated it when "consultants" called who knew less than I did. So one day I decided to become "one of them". That was 4 1/2 years ago. Now when I have to call for support, I love to tell them I'm a consultant, knowing that they, like I did, are rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.

That said, I consider myself more of an advisor, someone who can put complex technological issues into a context that is understandable for a non technical person. My goal is to resolve issues in a timely and cost effective manner, which, unfortunately, isn't the goal of many consultants I've met.

Silus Grok said...

Are you local, anonymous?

Anonymous said...


That's good :)

Ben S.

Simply said...

I really loved the joke it was great.