By: Joana Abou Jaoude, Senior Manager, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East

 It is quite uncommon to leave and come back in management consulting organizations. People I come across get surprised when I tell them that I returned to Deloitte Consulting after a two-year break. Management consulting is perceived as a demanding profession.

Why I initially left

Late in 2016, I started to think about my life in general: what makes me happy, what I do best, and what the world needs. In the world of personal development, you can call them motivation, skills, and purpose. Viktor Frankl[1] calls it the search for meaning. I did not have answers. I had questions- plenty of them.

At first, I thought, “it was just me”. As I was reading books and speaking to people, I came across two primary findings.

  • We come to a point whereby we need time for self-reflection. We do not all do it the same way. Some people go on a sabbatical. Some others do it every day as they meditate for five minutes. I decided to leave Deloitte. In his memorable post, Deloitte Global CEO, Punit Renjen mentions how he had to walk away to find his way back.
  • As a woman, there is a turning point in our lives that urges us to make hard choices between work and family. While mindsets started to evolve at both the individual and organizational levels, we still find ourselves juggling between Industry 4.0 and Motherhood 4.0[2]. We oftentimes choose one responsibility as long as we do it perfectly well. Reshma Saujani said it beautifully in her talk, we were taught perfectionism rather than bravery.

Why I decided to come back

You probably thought as you were reading that I found the answers to my questions. For some questions, I did. For many others, more questions emerged. I also realized a few things I wanted to share as I thought the grass was greener on the other side. These things are what made me return to Deloitte. Things I missed. Things I realized matter to me.

  • The leadership: Deloitte leadership is universal across geographies and service lines. It is built around purpose at the levels of talent, clients, and society.
  • The culture: Deloitte culture is one that is underpinned by a growth mindset. It encourages Deloitte people (including alumni) to grow, continuously.
  • The people: Deloitte people are resourceful. They help each other.
  • The diversity: Deloitte is a diverse and inclusive environment. Few organizations have truly adopted Motherhood 4.0 (refer to the previously mentioned blog post by my colleague Nadine El Hassan).
  • The learning: Deloitte offers unparalleled blended learning opportunities that help you grow. As I left, I posted few of my learning takeaways when I was initially at Deloitte, you can read them in this article.

I learned a number of things when I left Deloitte. I learned about myself. I thought about the letter I would want to write to my younger self in a few years; one about perseverance, purpose, and impact.

* Boomerang is a hunting weapon. The hunter throws a curved piece of wood so that it will return to him or her.

[1] Author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”.

[2] For details refer to this blog post by my colleague Nadine El Hassan

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