Reconversion, a difficult choice Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash
This is it, here we are. The moment of professional reconversion has come for me. Like many people of my generation, I have a little existential crisis in my thirties. A global questioning of my life.
Yes, like so many others, I am looking for “meaning”, “values”, in short, for change.
A former job that I loved, but…
When I talk about my former job, my former negotiation trips, the products I worked on, people often ask me why I left it.
It’s true, it was a job I loved. Yes, it was fun to work on a collection. Even more fun to spend almost two months a year in China or Bangladesh. And it was great to share so many coffees and good times with my colleagues.
So why? Why this sudden urge to change, to question everything?
Quite simply, because I didn’t feel like I belonged there anymore. I was negotiating without pleasure, torn by a desire to give a fair price to the products and to say fuck to my management. I felt oppressed in my creativity, in my desires, and I was bored, terribly.
Boredom is the worst thing about working. There is the factual boredom, sometimes I didn’t have enough work, so I tried to create new ones. New tools, organizing events, endless coffee breaks. But to this boredom, I added the deep boredom, this feeling of using my mind at only 40% of its capacities.
I had the feeling that my neurons were starting to die out little by little, overpowered by habit and ease.
It was time to change.
Change, yes, but for what?
Here comes the tricky question. Okay, you want to change, but why not just change companies, you’d earn more money and find new challenges?
Ouch, that’s where it gets tricky. I want a real change. A real break, and then the textile, fashion, is a sector that tends to disappear. In any case, the ecological footprint was such that I could no longer see myself participating in it.
So, to change, to retrain, but for what?
And here, I can tell you that ideas are coming in. Fireman, police detective, teacher, sexologist, animator in a holiday resort, wedding planner, actress, writer… I didn’t think of astronaut, but it wasn’t far.
To see things more clearly, I went to the other side of the world. To take a step back from all these crazier desires, one after the other.
Knowing what you don’t want to do
Here I am again, and the height only made me aware of what I don’t want to do.
One, I don’t want to work for crappy companies that treat their employees like pawns, that don’t capitalize on the most important asset: people.
Two, I don’t want to work for an industry that goes against the current world, against the fight against global warming.
Three, I don’t want a job that doesn’t make sense.
Well, okay, but that still leaves you a lot of options.
Oh, and one last thing from Australia, I don’t want a job where I’m stuck behind a desk all the time. I want to move, I want to travel, I want to meet people. I don’t want to spend my life behind a screen.
Wanting is good, but being able is better.
Before leaving, I had done a coaching with Chance, a company specialized in professional reconversion… The joke.
Oh yes, they managed to come up with two or three attractive jobs on paper. But then, what? I apply just like that? With no experience? With no credibility, with the feeling that I’m simply an imposter.
So yes, wanting to be a veterinarian, an architect or an astronaut is fine. But at thirty, are you ready to go back to school for five or ten years? To take out another loan to finance yourself? To put our social life on hold for a dream that we are not sure we will achieve or appreciate once it is realized.
So, we eliminate anything we don’t have some skills for, anything that requires too much investment, if we are not ready to do it.
And… we’re not left with much. Okay, we may have to do a course or two.
Choosing is giving up.
This summer, I decided to become a web developer, or rather to start my own web design company. Great idea, rather in the wind. Creative. Speaks to my desire for independence.
Online training rather easy. Long, tedious, but accessible. In a few months, I should be able to acquire the necessary skills.
So here I go. I don’t ask myself any more questions. I spend hours learning the code, tapping on my keyboard, scrolling through html codes. It’s long, I’d like to go faster. But the speed of reading at 1.75 is already enough.
Like a fury, I threw myself into it, without asking myself essential questions. Does this path answer all my desires?
After two months of staring at my screen, I was disappointed. It’s an overdose. I’m not sure I want to do this anymore.
Choosing this path means giving up social contact, giving up my desire to move, to not work behind a desk, giving up my soul as an organizer, negotiator, and especially my thirst for human contact.
I close the computer and start thinking.
Wouldn’t the first idea be the right one?
When I started looking for a career change, I immediately thought of Happiness Manager. These new jobs that consist in bringing well-being and joy to the workplace. Event organization, human management of offices, communication tools, yes I dreamed of becoming this smile fairy in an office.
But how? The few ads, and the trap of some fake happiness managers who are nothing but well named receptionists have scalded me a little.
But today, I’m back at it. Pumped up, I answer the few ads, boasting all my skills in a colorful cover letter. We’ll see.
To retrain? Or reinvent myself?
Sometimes I wonder if retraining isn’t more like reinvention. Maybe it’s time to simply reinvent yourself.
To look for meaning and value in our extra-professional activities? Or reinventing our search?
Today, finally provided with this wonderful unemployment fund, I’m being picky. I look twice at the ads before answering them. I only send a cover letter when I am literally motivated.
In short, my reconversion is far from over. It will undoubtedly be made up of a thousand and one ideas, and as many disillusions. But too bad, if I have to go through that to finally feel fulfilled in my little life…