“After six years at Airbnb, I became a teacher in the priority zone”

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« Je souhaite que la deuxième partie de ma vie professionnelle ne soit plus consacrée à moi mais aux autres. »

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Posted on Jul 8, 2021 at 7:00 AM

“Graduated from HEC school in 2006, after obtaining a master’s degree in law, I continued quietly on the clear route that was mine, without asking myself many questions.

To try to put a little more meaning in my life, at a time when my comrades could not resist the sirens of finance and marketing, I chose to join the Palace of Versailles, in the patronage service. Fundraising for acquisitions, restorations, exhibitions, this job halfway between culture and skills acquired in business school seemed to me enough to fill a lifetime.

And then, I wanted to get some fresh air, to go and see elsewhere if I was there. Direction Tokyo and the starred restaurant La Tour d’Argent, which had its branch opened in 1984. In 2008, therefore, I am the general manager’s right-hand man. Two new worlds that were unknown to me until then, Japan and catering. Everything has to be learned again and it suits me perfectly.

Leave the Airbnb “ogre” and change your life

Two years later, back in London, I joined a young company that many promised me that it would never work. What do I have to lose? Here I am a member of the Airbnb team which is launching in London. I left the golden ceilings of Versailles and the silverware of the Tour d’Argent for an environment in which I had wanted to evolve for a long time, a start-up.

Attracted by the atmosphere, the easy relationships, the agility but also the intelligence of my employers, I try myself – start-up obliges – in a lot of positions: quality service, customer service, community, sales team, manager from region, responsible for launching the new product “Experiences”… These six years spent at Airbnb delight me, stimulate me, and the feeling of being part of a success story makes me exhilarate.

And then, with the arrival of my first child who changes my outlook on the world, I want something else. Less “online”, less “bling” and more things that bind us together. Weariness having set in over the months and because the little thumb has become an ogre, certainly a handsome ogre but an ogre all the same, I decide to leave Airbnb and change my life.

Agree to lower your salary

After a few minutes of reflection with a coach, the obvious appears. In fact, I have always dreamed of being a teacher. Fascinated by some of my teachers when I was young, I realized the importance of transmitting, passing, raising young people, opening up prospects for them, giving them what I received, that is to say a lot.

I hope that the second part of my professional life is no longer devoted to me but to others. This decision is liberating and resolves many of my questions. The first mental obstacle to overcome is money. It quickly becomes apparent that my salary at Airbnb is much higher than what I could ever claim by becoming a teacher.

And this is where my wife comes in, also converted from marketing to performing arts, and which reassures me. Obviously we will lose a lot of purchasing power but what we will gain will largely compensate. This reconversion is therefore done in pairs in a way and that reassures me. And indeed the gain greatly exceeds the loss. Because feeling useful, in its place, observing every day, every hour, the impact that one has on future adults is the only thing really valid in my eyes.

Arrival in “teachers’ room”

Looking for an establishment that I could join, I discovered Espérance Banlieues, a network of schools that already seemed to meet my expectations. The network’s mission is to respond to the educational and integrative emergency in certain priority areas. I decide to write to them and find myself in the school of Asnières, the course Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in observation.

Sitting quietly at the back of the class, I feel from the first minutes that it is in a classroom, in front of the students, that the rest of my life will be played out. Rediscovering the attitudes and reflections of the students amuses me. In the teachers’ room, I also feel an excitement and a desire to do well, to be there for others who remind me – and even exceed – what I felt at the beginning of Airbnb.

The good choice

I therefore commit myself as an English teacher. I participate in the training of teachers delivered by Espérance banlieues and spend the summer digesting the programs of the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd grades. Excitement the day before the start of the school year and at the same time, total assurance that the choice is the right one.

What strikes me the most during the first weeks is the incredible and unsuspected energy that this job requires. Nevertheless, I am convinced that what I provide to my students, my students give to me too. As Paul McCartney sang “In the end, the love you receive is equal to the love you give”.

Today I am finishing my third year of teaching and intend to continue because I know that I am in my place. Knowing that we have, with varying degrees of success, contributed to the development, openness and balance of the men and women of tomorrow has become essential to me. “


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