When standardized work is increasingly taken over by computers, it is individuality and creativity that enable us to do truly meaningful work. This offers huge opportunities to the individual – we can now choose how to shape our careers, we can structure our work more flexibly, and our talent, ambition and ingenuity are the keys to success.
Looking back at the beginnings of my career, I am amazed at how rapidly this change has progressed in the course of just a couple of years. When I started my first job 16 years ago, little did I assume that I would end up at a consulting company. Building fancy slides was not really my thing, what I wanted to do instead was to work hands-on by implementing software for different customers. I believed that the best way to achieve this was in a traditional software business, so I started work for a software vendor in the telecommunication industry after my studies. In the early 2000s telecommunications companies were moving towards a more client-focused business and were far away from a digital one. Some of my most challenging projects took place during this time. One of them was the biggest customer care and billing implementation at a larger mobile operator. I was part of the ‘war room’ experts who managed and monitored this migration in a 24/7 shift over days. After this huge project, I worked in other implementation projects as an expert in the field. Working for software vendors gave me a wide range of experiences around the end-to-end project cycle while always being dedicated to the software that needed to be implemented.
After quite some internal struggle on whether this was all there is, I decided to dare the leap into the consulting world in 2004. And what an experience it was. I jumped straight ahead into an assignment in Moscow, in an expert role. Suddenly, I was confronted with the slides I dreaded so much, in a city so unlike what I was used to. While it did indeed take me some time to adjust to things, my work proved more rewarding than before. In the years to come, I had the pleasure to work in countries such as South Africa, the Nordics, the UK and Switzerland. I got to know different cultures that immensely enriched my life. As I was always working hard and travelling a lot, this forced me to be quite strict when it came to my personal life and quality time management. Establishing travel rituals and ensuring to re-charge my energy level were key to handle the challenges I had to face in my work environment. Sports has always been a part of my life, therefore there is nothing better than a great mountain bike ride in summer and an intensive snowboard run in winter to get my energy level back and my mind clear for new tasks that lie ahead. The more challenging the ride, the better I feel.
This also translates to business. As I always force myself to get out of my comfort zone, I wanted to try out a new challenge in 2012, so I joined Accenture in November that year as an expert for smart metering, smart grid and smart home. I was experienced enough to know exactly where I want to work and what my strengths are. Doing meaningful work and making a difference are key for me. At Accenture, I found just that, and a lot more to boot. I have colleagues around me who feel the same way, and I came to realize that the fancy suits hide passionate individuals who strive for the best in themselves and others. Rarely have I met people so different in their history, but with the same mindset.
Today, I am the account lead at a large telecommunications provider in Germany, and this time round, things are different as digital is everywhere. I’m responsible for growing new business and ensuring a proper project delivery with a great team that consists of people from the most varied walks of life. They are all experts in our field of work, but each of them is unique in their own way and adds invaluable experience. To me they are a treasure trove for new ideas, and as a business coach for our young female talents, I do my best to foster them. Experience has taught me that especially women are still hesitant to show all facets of their skills – this needs to change. In the age of digitization, we need people who draw outside the lines, who are exceptional, passionate and dare to voice their opinions. However, it requires a change of heart on the employers’ side – we need to give young talents a place where they can live up to their potential, where their individuality is fostered and treated as an asset. We have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
At Accenture, we value uniqueness, initiative and passion. We let you choose which path you want to take in your career and give you the freedom to explore. Come meet us at CODE_n new.New Festival and let us show you how you can make a difference.