I am celebrating of those significant work anniversaries in 2013; I have now been a Requirements Consultant for five years with IAG Consulting. For some decades before 2008 I was an employee of several different organizations as (early on) a programmer and then a Business Analyst. As those years went by, I had begun to wonder if doing business analysis as a consultant was a viable career choice; finding IAG Consulting showed me it could be, and it would be tough to see myself resuming my earlier life as an employee. As a consultant, virtually every work day is meaningful and delivers value to a client; you frankly get the focus and involvement of people when you are a clear cost, more than (sadly) an employee Business Analyst usually gets.
On the other hand, I could probably not be the effective consultant I am today without at least many years of the experience I gained as an employee. One thing as an employee does have is usually the chance to attend conferences; I also participated in industry-level standards efforts at different times. In the end, though, the move to consulting was right for me.
Since then, I have worked on projects for dozens of companies, working with hundreds of good business people to help them effectively and completely define their requirements for processes and systems. I expect to be at it for many years to come, so if you organization is looking for this kind of help, come visit us at http://www.iag.biz/ to see what we (and I) can do for you.