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The Accenture Kiss of Death

I have worked in people management – from small startups to fairly big corporations – for about 10 years. I am not in management at accenture, but I do currently work there (not intentionally – my company was bought out).

My favorite t-shirt.

My experience is not in consulting or marketing, but I have spent years slogging through resumes, interviewing, hiring, training, mentoring, assigning, promoting, and firing or laying off software employees of several disciplines, from developers to testers, from project managers to department managers.

My personal experience, while fairly wide and varied within the industry itself, is limited to the software development industry, but while this may not be universally applicable, I do believe that it’s relevant to at least most high tech development work.

Developing Your Skills is More Important Than Numbers on Your Resume

It is a complete myth that you must (or even should) stay at a job for 2 years, whether it’s your first job out of school, or any job after that. In fact, there is no minimum whatsoever – documented or unwritten, real or imagined. Any employer with half a brain knows that sometimes sh*t just happens. It is much more important to be working toward your career goals and gaining relevant skills and experience, or at least working within your desired industry, than how long you stay at any job.

And I shouldn’t need to say this, but I feel like I must when discussing accenture: If you are suffering physical or mental health issues due to work, you must leave. If you are stressed, exhausted, and fatigued, if you are being bullied or harassed, if you are pressured to give more than you can, if you are in pain or are ill, if you are unreasonably unhappy, you must leave. You absolutely must! Nothing is worth your health, because everything else hinges upon it.

Leave the bad job now, because it absolutely does not matter at all how long you stay. Start getting a new job the first moment that you realize you are unhappy and/or wasting your time and/or being exploited. Whether it’s 1 week or 1 month or 1 year, leave. It’s fine. Unless it’s totally habitual, and all of your jobs are only a couple weeks or a couple months, nobody cares.

Anyway, the resume only gets you the interview; the interview is what gets you the job.

There is a perfectly reasonable explanation…

The worst that will happen at an interview, when you have a really short stint on your resume, is that you’ll have something interesting to say when/if somebody points to that line and asks, “So what happened here?” – and who doesn’t want an interesting interview answer? Explain that you quickly realized that the job was not for you, or that it was not what you thought (or were lead to believe) it would be, and you didn’t want to waste anybody’s time.

Plenty of recruiters are familiar with accenture and how bad they are already. A recruiter who knows about accenture, and knows how unskilled and how far behind accenture employees can become, will respect you *more* for having left than for having stuck it out for the time on your resume. And imagine if you told a recruiter who knows what goes on at accenture that you were fulfilled and were learning there! They’d think you were an “accenture quality” employee, and they wouldn’t hire you. I know I wouldn’t!

Still, it is not advisable to bad-mouth previous employers in an interview no matter how terrible they are, so don’t go into detail unless you have to. You can always fall back on, “Well, there’s not much I can talk about because the work was under clearances/NDAs [they don’t know if it isn’t!], but I was not learning anything there and/or was not using or growing my skills at all.” Or you can simply explain “The job I ended up doing there was not relevant to my industry or what I want to do, and I didn’t want to become obsolete.

Eh, it happens. No biggie. Next question!

If You’re Not Working Toward Your Career, You Are Working Against It

To put it frankly, spending time in a job that is not relevant to your career can ruin your career, or at least make it very difficult to get it moving again.

Far worse than having an interesting interview answer will happen if you stay at Accenture, especially if they keep putting you on awful projects that have nothing to do with your skills, education, or interests – which they are very likely to do. Your resume will stagnate, new skills and knowledge will pass you by, you could become obsolete, and you may have a hard time finding a job that you actually want after that.

Especially in fast moving, rapidly updating industries like software and technology, if you stay too long in a job that has nothing to do with the career you want, the world and the technology pass you by, and you could easily come out the other side totally unqualified for the job you really want. New tools and techniques can come and go while you are stuck in a hot warehouse in a suburb of Boringsville making ugly powerpoint presentations that some jerk MD takes the credit for, and by the time you start to look for a better job, you may no longer have the skills to get it.

This is called the accenture kiss of death, and it can ruin your entire career before it even begins.

And one thing is for sure about accenture: they are not interested in applying new technology internally. They have a specific process around which their entire evil empire is built – for better or for worse. This is apparent even in their core values and mission statements, their over-use of the word “leverage”, and their pride in and emphasis of “re-using” established systems. If you have even the most basic knowledge, you will not learn new technology at accenture.

They are also very much not interested in developing you. Accenture does not care the least bit about your goals and aspirations, your career development, or your skills. The only thing they care about is having warm bodies to add to projects, so that they can bill their clients for your (over)time. At accenture, you will most likely be assigned monotonous, boring, repetitive busywork that in no way applies or contributes to your ultimate career goals, and you will be hard pressed to find a single soul within the entire organization who cares about your future and career.

Dedicate Yourself to a Career, Not to a Job

It used to be highly desirable to see someone in the same position at the same company for 10+ years or so, but that’s not necessarily always true anymore, especially not in actual high tech (cough-notaccenture-cough) industries like software development, hardware R&D, automation, IT, etc., which are always changing and updating. Unless your goal is specifically to climb the corporate ladder at your current company (and good luck with that at accenture), you are much better off learning and getting/staying up to date with tools and technology.

If an employer sees that you stayed at the same company for many years, particularly with little or no advancement or movement, the employer may get the impression that you have not stayed current with technology, that you only do the minimum to get a paycheck, or even that your previous employer didn’t see you as somebody they should promote.

An employer might see a long stay at a bad company as a lack of spine or ambition, or as an aversion to change. Some employers may simply not like long stays and not be able to articulate why. In some industries, employers might see a long tenure as somebody they may eventually have to lay off – somebody who doesn’t leave when they see the writing on the wall… or somebody who doesn’t see the writing at all.

A Few “Job-Hops” Can Be Intriguing

Believe it or not, many of the other tech managers I’ve worked with in the past several years not only don’t mind quite a bit of job-hopping, but some even prefer to see it these days! This appears to be a somewhat recent phenomenon, and of course it is not universal, but it’s something I’ve seen more and more recently.

In many managers’ minds, several shorter stints – especially with little to no gaps in between – says “go-getter” to them; it says you are unwilling to stagnate and you stay on top of technology at all times; it says you are always searching for the next great thing, the newest technology, or the hottest project.

To some, several hops means you are a person who will not wait to get laid off when the company or project slows down (sparing the manager that awful unpleasantness), but will be the first to leave for something better. To some managers, being a job-hopper must mean you’ve got such great skills on offer that everybody wants you, that you’re obviously a highly desirable asset, that you’ve got what it takes to nail all of those interviews and land all of those jobs.

In software development layoffs are very common. With job hoping on your resume you show your next boss he doesn’t have to worry about laying you off.

Just Erase Accenture, If You Can

If it’s possible, Accenture/the bad job doesn’t necessarily have to appear on your resume at all! This is not always possible; you can really only do this if it has been a very short amount of time. The longer you stay, the harder this becomes, so leave early!

If it’s still only days or weeks into your employment – say you don’t finish orientation, or your first project is horrible – at Accenture, just don’t even add it to your resume, and don’t ever mention it. Claim that you are still working at your previous job – just ask them not to contact, of course, which is perfectly reasonable and not questioned, at least in the US.

If you were not currently employed when you took the job – say, you were laid off from your last job, or something – then just leave, and don’t ever mention the devil at all, in your resume or your interviews. It never happened.

Leave your resume dates vague (MM/YY rather than DD/MM/YY) to cover for the difference, and just leave off Accenture entirely, if you can. Also, if you can format it well, you can simply state the length of your stay – eg “5 years” or “9 months” or whatever – instead of listing specific dates. Nobody expects you to remember exactly the dates of your employment, and brief stints between jobs aren’t relevant, anyway. If it looks good, then that’s acceptable.

In Short: Just Leave!

Start looking for a new job as soon as you realize you’re unhappy, underused, stagnating, being mistreated, or whatever, and take the first good job you’re offered. Keep looking once you take that job that gets you out of hell, if necessary; just get out of the dead end, stressful, exploitative job that is working against your career, as soon as you possibly can! Do not let Accenture ruin your life, your health, and your career for any reason, much less a little unnecessary apprehension about one line on your resume!

Go get a new job immediately, and do not worry about what it’s going to look like on paper, because, as I’ve said, it does not matter. Building your skills is far more important to your career, and your future and your mental health are far more important than your resume! It’s simply not worth it to stay at Accenture for one extra minute.

Guest Writer
December 3, 2017
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Reply to fafa Cancel reply

  1. I can very much relate to this article.

    I was with Accenture for about a year, but I started looking for a new job after six months – simply because I was bored to death.

    Thank God I can say this anonymously, but Accenture is the one year in my life that I can truly and with all honesty say that I regret. That’s saying quite a lot, because I lost years of my life in a very serious downward spiral of mental health issues and substance abuse in my tweens – but at the very least I can look back on that time and say that it built character and taught me some perseverance. It’s the kind of experience that is a large part of how I look at the world today.

    My year at Accenture is the absolute negation of that. Not a single skill was developed, not a single interesting task was undertaken and completed. Nothing. It’s a deeper void than chemically-induced blackouts, and I should know.

    After I left Accenture, I watched the movie “Office Space”, where Tom Smykowski (played by Richard Riehle) tries to hang on to his job by explaining to the downsizing consultants about how his job is essential, as clients give software specs to him and he passes them on to developers. The question being: “Why can’t the client give the specs to the developers directly?”.

    I burst out laughing so ridiculously hard, because Tom’s job was what I did at Accenture, exactly. But unlike Tom, I myself asked why we can’t cut me out as the middleman so that I could do something actually productive, and my managers gave me Tom’s excuse for why I’m an essential part of the process.

    So if you recognize yourself from this article and still have some doubts, just know that there’s someone like me out there who regrets Accenture more than he does years’ worth of serious drug and mental issues.

    I turned my life around before joining Accenture, but I would trade that year for one more year of near death-experiences, depression and psychoses.

    Because Accenture was simply so uninteresting and so devoid of meaning.

    If you find yourself dreaming about how “it’ll get better next year”, you know you’re wasting your life and your skills are corroding by the minute. Leave. You’ll find another job, and even if it isn’t right away, you can code or self-study and build your portfolio.

    That’s better than being an obsolete middleman.

  2. Accenture is a bad place. All the good, hardworking people are replaced by low skilled people.

    DU leads are the most corrupt.

    Less deserving people gets promoted. Here, hero is zero and zero is hero.

    It is a mentally harassing place which makes you accept false things in life.

    The most unethical place to be on earth.

    No quality of people. All high-tech people leave and only evil people takes position such as AM and DU lead. They are notorious.

    They make female colleagues their girlfriend.

  3. what if the accenture job is your first job out of college? i want to pursue software development but still need practice to be good. should i be unemployed and practice or should i go to accenture while practicing?

  4. I hardly know where to begin except to say leaving Accenture was the best decision of my career.

    Tragically, Accenture acquired my wonderful company. [The acquired company] operated with transparency and integrity, managed risk brilliantly, and earned and capitalized on intense customer loyalty. We were further a highly specialized company.

    Accenture diluted or eliminated all of these attributes. Accenture trades on its name, which was not positive in our industry, accurately understood to be bloated, overpriced, underwhelming commodity consulting. Employees without an iota of industry experience were catapulted into management roles.

    What does NOT go over well at Accenture is calling out bullshit (including brazen dishonesty), the disinterest in quality delivery, or the frequent mismatch of consultant skill sets to project deployments. What matters to Accenture is standing up a massive project team that bills in perpetuity.

    Not long after our acquisition we quoted some work in parallel with an Accenture team. The Accenture estimate was an order of magnitude higher than ours. I found this shock-and-awe approach to pricing to be common. I think this may be how Accenture maintains some mystique — how could anybody with the nerve to bill $450/hr not be great. The brutal truth is that this individual simply lacks the integrity to be bothered by being the least knowledgeable person in the room on any given subject.

    Not infrequently I found the sponsoring executive at the client is an ex-Accenture executive and feeds the beast.

    Towards the end, standing among leadership at a reception (uniformly entitled 40/50-something white males) leering at waitresses and fellating themselves as they discussed their lengthy Accenture tenures, I realized just how low I had fallen.

    I took some time off after Accenture to let my soul and spirit heal. I recommend this to anyone in a similar situation. DO NOT THINK that you will not be professionally, psychologically, and spiritually damaged by this employer. Unless you are willing to completely romanticize what it means to be there, to make your career goal not to be good at something but to be good at ACCENTURE, run away. Run quickly and purposefully.

    Probably some ambition got you interested in or God-forbid employed at Accenture. Harness that ambition for good and seek meaningful work elsewhere where you can really enjoy contributing to something that matters— not the soulless, greed-driven exercise in materialism and vanity that is Accenture.