The Day That Changed My Life
Introducing Floyd Goossens, former Tester Associate at Accenture the Netherlands.
This is the portrait of Floyd Goossens, alumni of Accenture and former Tester Associate.
‘Next to our high school in Weert were the barracks of a military base. During class, I always looked outside the window and saw the military guys. I knew immediately that I wanted to be one of them. And while I had the brains to take a different path, I chose a course that trained young people for the Ministry of Defense. When I was 17,5 years old – the minimum required age – I joined the army.’
"My parents were proud of me and supported me in my decision, but were worried, too."
The Real Reason to Work for the Department of Defense
‘I love being outside, and I’m always looking for adventure: two important reasons why I initially joined the army. Yet, the real reason someone joins the military is to be given the opportunity to participate in a mission; it’s the ultimate contribution to national and international security. When I joined the army in 2004, troops were already being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. My parents were proud of me and supported me in my decision, but were worried, too.’
First Military Mission to Uruzgan
‘My parents went from “being worried” to “long, sleepless nights” when I – 20 years young – left for my first mission to Afghanistan in November 2006. As a proud Dutchman, I was excited to be able to show the world what a small country like the Netherlands can do on an international scale, and how our military force can contribute to global peace. Clearly it is not something that my military unit can achieve on its own, but backed by an institution like the national department, we can. I am proud of the role we played in Uruzgan.’
Crash Course in Adulthood
‘The mission was a crash course in adulthood. I left as a 20-year-old boy and came back a man. It’s hard to explain to outsiders what a mission does to you; you experience things other people your age don’t. Despite the adversities I have faced, I reminisce about it fondly. It simply is the world we live in, and I’m happy to have played some kind of role in making it a better place.’
The Need for a Goal
‘During the first mission, I expressed my desire to grow from a private at the infantry to a non-commissioned officer at Military Communications. Upon my return, I started training for that position. I have always wanted to climb the proverbial ladder and evolve more and more as a person: to me, being complacent just leads to stagnating. I need a specific goal for everything I do; it keeps me motivated and on the ball.’
A Strategic Decision
‘Although I have never regretted the choice to focus on the army rather than making the most of my traditional education, at some point I realized it was sensible to think about the future. So, in my non-commissioned officer training, I chose to specialize in IT, overseeing all means of communication and computer systems in the Department of Defense. This wasn’t totally uncharted territory as I have always been interested in IT. It was a strategic decision: if, for some reason, I ever were to leave the army then I would have something to fall back on.’
Another Stressful Five Months
‘When I left for Uruzgan for my second mission in 2009, I was no longer acting at the frontline; instead, I was managing the camp’s communication center. It made for a somewhat ‘easier’ five months than the first mission. Also, I was better prepared this time, since I knew what to expect. For my parents, it meant another stressful period – they froze every time there was a news report about roadside bombings, attacks or fallen soldiers.’
The Day That Changed My Life
Ironically, my accident didn’t happen in Afghanistan, but at in a skydiving centre in Teuge in Gelderland. It was in June 2014, on Friday the 13th. A parachute landing gone wrong. While I didn’t believe superstitious stuff about Friday the 13th before, I now definitely associate it with bad luck. I was rushed to hospital with five broken vertebrae. For six weeks I could do nothing but lie down, completely bandaged. The first two weeks were the worst of my life: I didn’t know what the full extent of the long-term damage would be, and neither did the doctors.’
"Ironically, my accident didn’t happen in Afghanistan, but at a skydiving centre in Teuge in Gelderland."
Reach My Seven-Stairs Goal
‘Nearly two years of rehabilitation followed; I had to re-learn almost everything. After the first few weeks in the hospital, I transferred to a care facility in Weert, where I was to stay for a few months. My goal was to leave within two. I was desperate to move back to my own apartment, which was in the same street as the care home. However, since my apartment complex had no elevator, I first had to show the doctors I was able to walk seven stairs. After two weeks, I managed to reach my seven-stairs goal. Before the physiotherapist officially gave me the green light to leave, I was already halfway out the door. I was welcomed home by my girlfriend, Laura, who had been there for me every minute and step of the way. Even though we were only together for a year when the accident happened, she has been my no. 1 support through it all – next to my parents. After two months at home, I was transferred to a military care facility for another three months of medical rehabilitation.’
Forever a Weak Spot
‘A year after my accident I went back to work, albeit on a therapeutical basis: a few hours, a day, two days – until I was working full-time again 1,5 year after the accident. However, I was not back to my old self just yet, something I know now I never will be. My back will always be my weak spot. Carrying heavy stuff, a wrong pose or contact sports: they can be detrimental for me.’
"Did I want to push myself to the limit and run the risk of completely burning out by the age of forty, or was this the time to decide to change my direction in life?"
Chance to (Re)Start My Career
‘Clearly, I could no longer be part of the military. After all, working for the Department of Defense means you need to be – theoretically – able to go on a mission. However, coming to terms with that was extremely difficult, and I was desperate to show my supervisors they were wrong; that I could be the old Floyd again. It took me a while to accept the turn my life had taken. Did I want to push myself to the limit and run the risk of completely burning out by the age of forty, or was this the time to decide to change my direction in life? Thanks to my IT degree, I qualified for a position at Accenture Heerlen. It was a fantastic chance to take on a new career, which was a huge step for me.’
Lunchtime = “Escape” Time
‘When you think about it, working for Accenture doesn’t really differ that much from working for the Department of Defense. They’re both large international companies, people don’t have an 8 to 5-mentality, the companies both comprise clear hierarchical systems, and employees are given lots of responsibilities. Obviously there were some adjustments, such as going from a very direct way of communicating to somewhat more formal conversational means - and the fact that the largest part of the day was spent indoors. Lunchtime is my time to “escape” – I always go for a walk, weather permitting.’
Little Things Don’t Really Bother You
‘The accident has changed me. I have learnt to not stress about unimportant things too much, and I appreciate the little things in life. During those first months, just being able to sit up or walk 100 meters with a walker made me ecstatic. When those are the things that mean the most, little things can’t really bother you. Even though as time passes by you sort of fall back into old patterns, I must admit.’
‘I have always been driven and ambitious, and my time in the army made me a truly stress-resistant team player. For me, the group’s interest always trumps the invidual’s. It’s feeling part of that same “we-culture” I experience at Accenture that has made the transition a very smooth one. It’s very easy to feel at home at Accenture. I happily live with Laura in our non-elevator apartment in Weert, just around the corner from my parents, who now have normal sleeping patterns again, by the way.’
Floyd Goossens (1987)
Studied: Royal Military School (2009), ICT administrator (2015)
Started working at Accenture: February 2016
Relationship status: Living with my girlfriend, Laura
Loves: Spending time with Laura, going out for dinner with friends.
Gets annoyed by: When things take too long to happen. Things in my mind, but also in traffic, for instance. Bureaucracy.
Favorite food: A good piece of meat
On my nightstand: My iPhone and Apple watch
Listens to: Radio 538 – Top 40 music, dance music
Last purchase: A new iPad
Would like to sit next to in the plane: Chantal Janzen
Life-changing event: My accident in June 2014
The best lesson life has taught me: To enjoy the little things in life, which definitely don’t always include of money or material goods
The best advice I was ever given: ‘You can only fail at something if you don’t try it’
Most beautiful place on earth: Ibiza. But I really most enjoy being in Weert or elsewhere in Limburg
Hobbies/passions: Gadgets; especially Apple products and drones. Playing golf.
What nobody knows about me: That I had never heard of Accenture before applying for a job at the company
Life motto: ‘To want something means to be able to do it!’
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