Consultants are known to work extreme hours. We show empirically how consultants fantasize about off-work activities, which are impossible to realize with their work schedule. These fantasies are, however, not obstructing their work, but important to justify the extreme hours and sustain desire for work. We draw on Lacan's notion of desire as the Other's desire and analyze the consultants' desire as controlled by a need for recognition at work. We show how consultants need off-work fantasies to maintain the illusion of wholeness – of being more than work. Only with this illusion of wholeness can they allow themselves to fully direct their desire toward work. The illusion of being more than work paradoxically makes them capable of being all work.
Culture and Organization, 2013, Vol 19, Issue 2, p. 105-123