Making sure life is fun is very important to Gandert Pelger. It’s something he prioritizes not only in his personal endeavors, but in his professional undertakings, too. When he started at Accenture in 2008, he couldn’t have foreseen that 11 years later, he would still be working here.
‘My dad was a consultant too. I guess what they say is true: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That said, there’s definitely always been an entrepreneur in me. Whenever I come across a product, I find myself thinking of ways to get it to market. That started at a young age – I remember trying to build a slot machine of sorts from Lego; I’d ask people to insert a coin and that would get a marble rolling. Although that particular idea wasn’t too successful, my interest in finding and developing potentially viable products has remained over the years.’
‘It was my yearning for freedom that inspired me to move from Leiden to Amsterdam to study. The exciting stories that my older sister told me – she was already studying there –, definitely played a part in my decision to relocate. I wasn’t too sure about what I ultimately wanted to do career-wise when I enrolled to study finance, but I figured that economic expertise would offer a solid base for pretty much any job in the corporate world. During my first year – or even years – as a student, I wasn’t extremely diligent, but after a while I became more focused. I also learned how to combine the different aspects of my life that I considered important – playing field hockey, studying and socializing – far more efficiently. When I graduated at the age of 26 in 2008, I was ready for the next step: a “real” job.’
As long as I’m still having fun at work, keep learning, growing, and bring valuable contribution to Accenture and clients, there is no reason to even think about going anywhere else.
Off to a rocky start
‘I remember my first day at Accenture like it was yesterday – mainly because it was a highly stressful event. Not the day itself, but especially the lead-up to it: I was scheduled to fly back from a trip to Istanbul the day before I started, but my flight was extremely delayed. At one point I was worried I wasn’t going to fly at all that day, but we eventually arrived at Schiphol airport after midnight. So when I walked into the office the next morning, I definitely wasn’t the most sprightly version of myself.’
‘Having worked at Accenture for over 10 years has definitely changed me as a person. More than anything, it has equipped me with various tools and skills I can draw on to tackle problems and develop solutions. What’s more, because I’ve engaged with so many different individuals and corporate cultures over the years, I have learned a lot about how people work and what motivates them. That knowledge helps me to quickly establish the best way to confront problems and bring about improvements.’
No room for boredom
‘Naturally, over the years, other potential work opportunities have popped up, but not once have I ever contemplated jumping ship. After all this time, I still enjoy working for Accenture. The people I work with are a key reason for this. I love being surrounded by such driven individuals who always aim for the stars, no matter how difficult things get. It ensures a high level of energy in the office, which keeps me motivated and on my toes, and rules out the possibility of getting bored. That said, if I ever were to feel bored, fixing this would merely be a matter of speaking up and asking to be assigned to a different role, client or project within the organization. Being promoted into leadership roles has also motivated me greatly. It’s challenged me and afforded me many opportunities to learn and the chance to open exciting new chapters. Lastly, the fact that I’m naturally a very loyal person certainly has something to do with me sticking around for so long, too.’
‘When my first son was born three years ago, I’ll admit it took me a little while to get used to the change. I found it a bit of a challenge to find balance in my new life. Before he arrived, I had no problem working nights and weekends, but now that I am a dad, I try to avoid doing that as much as possible. I now work four days a week (4 x 9), and that gives me a full day of quality time with my two boys, which I love. Obviously when work has to be done, it has to be done, but at home I strive to be the dad that eats meals with his sons and puts them to bed. While I struggled a bit to put boundaries in place in the earlier days of fatherhood, now I find it a lot easier to live a well-balanced life.’
Having worked at Accenture for over 10 years has definitely changed me as a person. More than anything, it has equipped me with various tools and skills I can draw on to tackle problems and develop solutions.
Love life to the fullest – L2
‘The only work I’ll quite happily do over the weekend is on L2 – the first and only official Champagne brand from Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I launched the company with my good friend Amros in 2012, and we have been managing L2 ever since. We started it because we found it puzzling that Champagne is only drunk on special occasions in Holland and that well-known brands tend to be rather expensive, relative to their quality. In our experience, there are much higher quality, but lesser known Champagnes out there that are available for at least the same price – they're just hard to find. L2 Champagne is of very high quality, but also, importantly, is much more affordable than the bigger brands.’
‘Over the past years, L2 has turned into a serious business that we both run on the side while holding down our day jobs. L2 stands for Love Life. Our philosophy is that you should enjoy life as much as possible – and that good Champagne can help to make it even more enjoyable. We also believe that you shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to open up a bottle – any moment is a good moment for a glass of bubbly. We couldn’t do it without the help of Laurent, the French vintner who produces the L2 Champagne for us from his own vineyard.’
‘Aside from my entrepreneurial mindset, my consulting skills have also proven highly beneficial in the running of the L2 business. It’s a fairly small venture, but Amros and I are happy with the way things are going. We mostly sell bottles to small- and medium-sized companies, restaurants, deli stores and corporate events, as well as via our webshop. But it has so much potential. If we only had more time and budget to invest in the brand, we could grow – a lot. I won’t lie, knowing that can be frustrating at times. But you never know... maybe one day…’
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