I have been self-employed for almost my entire adult life, and I am now more than 50 years old. When I left my last job in the field my boss told me "I don't know what you will do." About 8 years later he introduced me at an event as "a former employee who now competes with me." Funny, he could not imagine finding clients without the university, fraternity and social group contacts he had, I found other clients in other spheres.
I agree with those who have already stated that once you leave a company as an employee there is no guarantee that they will use your services as a consultant. Have a lawyer look at that agreement, does it specify minimum hours of work? Likely it does not.
We can not survive by assuming that we will get someone's business, it isn't work until they actually give us a project and we receive that first invoice payment. As a consultant we find clients (sometimes through contacts), get work and bill, and get paid.
I would not resist being paid to train someone else to do a job, it is something to be paid for, and paid work is what we live on. I work as a trainer and consultant, I do not insist that our company must do the work that needs to be done if the client just wants us to train and leave.
Since you have at least seen what is going on, it is time for you to ask yourself "Do I want another company job somewhere else or do I really want to work as a consultant?" Remember that the people you have been working with, and signed the agreement with could be downsized out of the company, or get sick tomorrow and you will have to introduce yourself to some new person if you expect to continue to consult for your previous employer.
While the advertisement for someone to fill your old position is a shock to you right now, these are the facts of life outside the company fence. Consultants learn to find work, do it well and get more work. It is not an employment situation that suits everyone, it may not be how you want to work for the rest of your life.
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