The Preying Mantis

Still cleaning out my files.

Found this wonderful poem by Ralph Windle among my “humor” file.

So – here it is – poking some fun at myself and my fellow consultants in HR Technology and in any industry or application.

I hope you enjoy the “ODE TO LATTER DAY CONSULTANTS” also known as…




Of all the businesses, by far

Consultancy’s the most bizarre.


For, to the penetrating eye,

There’s no apparent reason why,

With no more assets than a pen,

This group of personable (wo)men

Can sell to clients more than twice

The same ridiculous advice,

Or find, in such a rich profusion,

Problems to fit their own solution.


This strategy that they pursue-

To give advice, instead of do –

Keeps their fingers on the pulses

Without recourse to stomach ulcers.

And brings them monetary gain,

Without a modicum of pain.


The wretched object of their quest,

Reduced to cardiac arrest,

Is left alone to implement

The asinine report they’ve sent.


Meanwhile the analysts have gone

Back to client number one,

Who desperately needs their aid

To tidy up the mess they made.


And on and on – ad infinitum –

The masochistic clients invite ’em.

Until the merciful reliever

Invokes the company receiver.


No one really seems to know

The rate at which consultants grow.

By some amoeba-like division?

Or chemo-biologic fission?

They clone themselves without an end

Along their exponential trend.


The paradox is that each adviser,

If he makes his client wiser,

Inadvertently destroys,

The basis of his future joys.


So does anybody know

Where latter-day consultants go?




Original poem by Bertie Ramsbottom the alter ego of Mr. Ralph Windle – as published in the Financial Times, April 11, 1981.

See his anthology of business poetry –

The Poetry of Business Life: An Anthology – available on Amazon.