I joined Accenture Bangalore after my Btech from FISAT, Kochi. I was also placed in TCS but I chose to join Accenture because of the obvious reasons. Accenture was fun. The initial thrill of working for a Multi-National Giant was great. Accenture always maintains their brand name. Our initial training program (C2C: Campus to Corporate) was at Hotel Zuri, a 5-star business hotel in Bangalore !! Life was good, luxurious and I enjoyed the freedom I had. I was turning into a corporate. Thanks to the high-quality training programs by Accenture.
Stream Training in Java
Java wasn't one of my favorite languages until I attended their stream training. It was exceptional. Our trainer was a really cool guy who even used to watch cricket matches with us ;) I fell in love with Java. Just before the completion of the training, I was assigned to (in Accenture terms: hard-locked to) one of Accenture’s diamond client projects. I was so excited about this. Everything was going in my favor: trained in Java and a diamond client project, to begin with.
Initial Days in Project
The very first day in my first project - although the expectations were really high, went horribly bad. I came to know that I am in a support project where there was no practical scope for actual real development of any kind. This was a shock. Ever since I started learning computer science after my high school, I was very fascinated by coding. I was pretty sure that if it wasn't a random allocation I was one of the most deserving trainees to get into a development project. I thought I could talk to my manager and hopefully get a “roll off” from that project. It is understandable that the confidence level of a fresher who just got into a project in an MNC like Accenture will be naturally very low.
I talked to my manager and somehow he convinced me that there was no way out from this now. Later I realized that Accenture has a policy that within a few days of allocation, you can refuse up to 3 projects in a year. I should have tried to make a refusal during the first few days but again I was totally confused, uncertain about the procedures and very low on confidence. I was a fresh fish ;)
Why I Wasn't Good with MS Excel
I was completely uncomfortable with the kind of work I had to do in that project. All of a sudden, Eclipse and all other programming IDEs vanished from my life and I spent my days gaining expertise in MS Excel. Majority of my work was preparing reports in Excel. One day my Team Lead wasn't happy that I was taking too much time to prepare a report in Excel. She asked me why am I taking this much time for this. I had never used MS Excel extensively and wanted to tell her that I SPENT LAST 6 YEARS LEARNING COMPUTER SCIENCE AND NOT MS EXCEL !!!
Efforts to “Prove Myself”
This was something my managers and Team Lead(TL) always used to tell me-
“Prove to us that you are a developer as you say. Then we will see, we can’t simply move you to a new project. We need some solid reasons. ”
Well, this was such a cliche !! Anyway, it was a reasonable argument. Every other guy who joins a support project wants development.
So now I had to prove that I can actually do some coding. I teamed up with two other freshers and started developing a Java-based web application to track the incidents the team has worked on. This was highly appreciated by the team members. Following that, I wrote another python script for categorizing and assigning the reported incidents which was extremely useful and I felt happy to know that everyone started using it (they still do!). There was one more multi-threaded core java app to pull thousands of records from the production database efficiently.
Now there was enough to prove that I can actually do some coding. So I talked to my managers again(sadly there were 2-3 managers and an HR to be convinced). So they told me to continue the good work I have been doing and I don’t have to worry about the rest as they will handle it as soon as possible. This is what my managers and TL repeatedly told me —
“You need to be patient. Good things happen to those who wait”.
I came to realize one thing from my personal experience and my teammates’ experiences- despite whatever I do, I am stuck in this project. There was no future in it. I badly needed a way out and I had only one option left -resignation. But wait… what !!! Resigning from Accenture? Are you crazy? This was the common reaction. I had to find another job or spend the rest of my life blaming this project. Every morning I used to wake up and think: Should I resign today or not. !! I didn't want to go to my office. I desperately needed to find another job.
Job Hunting In Bangalore
Now I don’t need to tell anyone that finding a job in Bangalore is not easy. I was practically a fresher from an ordinary Engineering college in Kerala and you can find hundreds of candidates like me coming in for interviews. I needed references. I asked my friends to refer me. Quite a few were happy to help. But for a long time I didn't get any interview calls.
I was so desperate that I used to talk to strangers in buses and asked them to refer me ;)
Nothing happened for a few months. Then one of my colleagues came to the rescue. One of his friends referred me for an opening and finally, I got the much-awaited interview call. I did well in that interview and I got selected as well. I didn't join that company, but the selection process made me realize one thing. There are thousands of people in Bangalore looking for a job who are graduated from similar colleges like mine. I need to improve my academic background first or I am just another job hunting guy in the big city.
GATE Preparations Along With Work
I started writing GATE from my 3rd year of Engineering. Back then I wasn't serious about GATE. Somehow I qualified GATE twice during Btech and this gave me enough confidence that I can do it again and probably get a good score this time.
Cracking GATE was possibly the best thing that could change my life. It is one of the most competitive exams in India. I was quite familiar with the pattern of the exam from my previous attempts and that’s why I chose GATE over other options for higher study.
Things were not going so well at work and I was not doing any serious preparations as well. So finally I made up my mind to stop playing safe and take a leap of faith.
Chasing The Dream
I decided to resign from Accenture and focus completely on my GATE preparations. I got mixed reactions from my friends and relatives. A few supported my decision and others were not happy with it. Of course, a chance to work in Accenture is once in a lifetime opportunity and there was a lot of risk with my decision.
After the resignation life was beautiful. I was so happy that finally, I was free to do what I love. Most importantly, now there was hope that whatever I do will definitely lead me to what I want. Generally, I am a lazy person as with any other B.Tech graduate😉. But, this time I knew I couldn’t fail. I put my best efforts preparing for GATE, secured a decent rank to get called for interviews and luckily got into IIT Kharagpur. My rank or achievements might not be good enough to blog about, but I am happy that I held onto what I felt right, instead of what a group of people forced me to consider right.
A lot of people asked me if I regret about my decision. Not at all! If I had continued in Accenture waiting for things to magically work out in my favor, I am pretty sure that I will still be in the same project preparing Excel reports. Of course, I can’t change the system followed by an MNC but I most certainly could change my life.
I had to keep myself inspired. I watched a lot of motivational movies like October Sky, The World’s Fastest Indian, The Social Network, Flash of Genius, etc. Steve Job’s Stanford university address has always inspired me to “follow my heart and do what I love”
So if you are stuck in a dead end job doing nothing but continuously blaming it, I recommend you start acting now before its too late. Watch this TED talk by Barry Schwartz where he explains why having too many options has made us not freer but more paralyzed. This was a life changing watch for me.
When I was stuck with too many options in life, nothing happened. But the moment I eliminated all other options and focused on a single option, things started to get really better and I was happy with my life. A dead end job will never take you anywhere.
Good things happen to those who wait; better things happen to those who act.
I am not writing this because I feel that I have accomplished everything in my life. I just needed a fresh start and that is exactly what I got. I am thankful to all my friends and family who always stood by my side through all this. Without their support none of this would have been possible☺
Thanks to my friends Nithish R and Vysakh I for going through the draft and helping me fine tune the article.