Already three years. On March 16, 2020, France discovered containment. A lunar parenthesis where the planet has come to a halt in an attempt to stem the Covid-19 pandemic. There, cloistered at home, many are those who, whatever their age and their situation, have taken stock of their lives. “Did I make the right choices? Does my work make sense and does it fulfill me? Does it make me feel useful? A questioning whose answers have given rise to many desires for professional retraining.
But when you realize that your work no longer corresponds to your aspirations and that you still have to earn a living, what should you do? If the temptation is great, leaving a stable job to embark on a completely different job can be scary and cannot be improvised. But it is not impossible. Readers of 20 minutes who took the plunge tell us about their adventure.
“My work did not reflect my values”
A well-paid and interesting job, on paper, what more could you ask for? This is what Mélanie wondered, whose position as director of communication for Instagram France would make more than one dream. “I had a great job, I was very happy, but from the confinement, people took refuge on social networks. And unlike half of my friends who made pottery and bread, I worked ten times more, but without the nice sides: no more events, meetings, very active social life. I experienced this isolation very badly and at the same time, I had the feeling of having reached the end, of being at a turning point. I was 42 years old, I said to myself: “it’s now or never”. And with mason and cabinetmaker grandfathers, and parents in furniture and site management, I wanted to do something that brings together the trades in which I grew up: interior designer.
A questioning that Claire, 28, then a product engineer in a textile distribution company, also experienced. Firm for which she had notably been in Bangladesh, “factory of fast fashion where very poorly paid people manufacture our clothes which pollute. I was already thinking about it before, but there, I really thought about the environmental and social issues related to our consumption patterns, which fueled a deep desire to give meaning to my work. And to create a company in accordance with my convictions”. This reflection is part of “the awareness of a certain form of alienation from work, analyzes Sophie Caruelle, consultant in HR practices, specialist in changes in the world of work and author of the book For which world to work? (ed. L’Harmattan). The confinement showed that it was possible to work differently. Many have said to themselves “I can create my job by better respecting my aspirations”. We are thus seeing a rebound in the creation of self-employed businesses, mainly among those under 30”.
At 47, Frédéric has also taken a 180 degree turn: “I was in financial advice, to help people who were already earning a lot of money to earn even more. It became more and more difficult for me to find use in what I was doing, especially since the climate in my company was stressful and not particularly benevolent, he confides. When confinement exacerbated the precariousness of certain populations, this feeling that I was not helping the people who needed it the most became too heavy. My work did not reflect my values, I could no longer continue”. Here again, “confinement revealed the underlying work crisis: psychosocial risks, ill-being and stress have been making the wage population rumble for a while,” explains Sophie Caruelle.
Coaching “to remove my fears and doubts”
But once the observation has been established, you still have to dare to start. “And when you have a great job, children and over 40, it’s scary, admits Mélanie. Then a friend told me about an online coaching program. This allowed me to begin an introspection and to sort out my desires, according to my personality, my deep aspirations and my skills, with the support of a coach who helped me to record my professional project. , and above all, to remove my doubts”.
A stage through which Claire also passed. “As soon as the confinement, I followed an online training to become an entrepreneur of change. This allowed me to discover the journey of other people who started before me, showing that it was possible to undertake differently. But it is a life coach who helped me to remove my psychological brakes, to calm my fears on the question of financial security, and to announce my project to my family, whom I was afraid of disappointing”.
Frédéric himself passed “a skills assessment, which confirmed my aspirations and my values: I am going to be a social and family economy adviser, to support all people in financial and social precariousness. In the meantime, I will do internships to choose the sector in which to specialize”. Generally, “you don’t quit your job overnight, you do a skills assessment, to explore your expectations, values and needs, come up against the reality of the market, and mature your project by meeting people who work in the profession that interests us,” confirms Sophie Caruelle.
Preparing for your conversion
Mélanie, she was able to integrate a six-month interior designer training and has already launched her business, which is slowly starting “by word of mouth and via social networks” of course. But already, she is thinking big and thinking ahead. “Containment has accelerated the interior design market: people are more at home, they want to feel good there, to add an office or a bedroom, and I love the idea of giving life to their liking. And for now, none of the three converted regrets his choice. “I’m finally doing something that fully suits me,” Claire rejoices. “I will certainly not earn as much as before, but for the fifteen years that I have left to work, I will be on a path that corresponds to my aspirations and of which I can be proud”, assures Frédéric. After all, “life is short,” adds Mélanie. Reinventing yourself is a chance. Even if I don’t succeed, I will never regret having tried”.
To bring her project to life, Claire put on her new entrepreneurial hat. “I was helped by a free business creation support network, and I asked for an honor loan to secure my financing”. In practice, “there are departmental and national aids for business creation, and scholarships if you are in an innovative sector”, confirms Sophie Caruelle. Then, “given the situation, I dropped the idea of a store for a digital and nomadic store, housed in a tiny house towed by an electric car. Along the way, my father, retired from a large company, gave me the benefit of his experience and joined me in the adventure. And a few months ago, we launched Tiny Happywhich only offers healthy products, without controversial substances or plastics, ethical, ecological, local and organic”.
Mélanie, she was able to integrate a six-month interior designer training and launched her business, which is starting slowly. “By word of mouth and via social networks” of course. Already, she is thinking big. “Containment has accelerated the interior design market: people are more at home, they want to feel good there, to add an office or a bedroom, and I love the idea of giving life to their liking”. And for now, none of the three converted regrets his choice. “I’m finally doing something that fully suits me,” Claire rejoices. “I will certainly not earn as much as before, but for the fifteen years that I have left to work, I will be on a path that corresponds to my aspirations and of which I can be proud”, assures Frédéric. After all, “life is short,” adds Mélanie. Reinventing yourself is a chance. Even if I don’t succeed, I will never regret having tried”.