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May 22, 2017
Benched
By: Nathan Davies

Two weeks of immersive training and then straight onto a project, that was the mindset I was in starting at Accenture. I was half right...

The first two days of training were incredibly enjoyable, filled with interactive presentations, challenges, games and guest speakers, and an incredible selection of food. The days after that continued the trend, with everyone getting involved, but a bit more work involved with a case study presentation to prepare. Nonetheless, the whole training experience was an amazing way to start life at Accenture, and a bonding experience for all the new joiners that took us from strangers to close friends.

There was an elephant in the room though.

That elephant continued to get bigger and bigger as the days passed by - none of us had a role to start on. Everyone was stressing and worrying about the dreaded ‘bench’ that we kept being told about, and it soon became clear that all but one of us would be sitting firmly on that bench to begin with.

This became a little harder for those of us based outside of London. At least the London starters got a tour of their office and had plenty of networking events to go to, in Manchester, Edinburgh and Newcastle the bases are smaller and these are less frequent.

During training, we got told to go into the office whilst on the bench, so off I went on my first day after training. The Manchester office is a bit of a ghost town with everyone out on client sites, and I was told that I would be better off working from home, so back I went…

There was little point working in the office, so I worked from home (flexible working is one of the great things that Accenture offer!). My first day at home was a strange experience, trying to fill time so that I felt I wasn’t cheating the company but, in all honesty, not knowing what exactly to do; there are only so many emails you can send to people you don’t know looking for work! By day three at home I had run out of useful training and emailed just about everyone who was offering a role so I was left twiddling my thumbs somewhat.

Very quickly though I realised that if I was doing what I needed to do then no-one would blame me for enjoying the freedom of the bench, so when I woke up I would get everything done that I needed to do, and then just relax and ensure that I was on top of any emails that came through. This was a life I could get used to, and for three weeks I was the most relaxed Accenture employee in the world, safe in the knowledge that 80% of my start group were on the bench with me. That was until my scheduler called…

5:30pm on a Thursday they called to tell me that they had found me a role, amazing news! Though I had enjoyed the freedom it meant it was finally time to get stuck into something, and the start date was in a week. This can be the realities of consulting…

Fast forward through some security checks and a lot of admin to today and I have just begun my first project and real day of work, so next time I will take you through how I have settled in, thanks for reading!

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