Published on Nov 14, 2023 at 5:47 p.m.Updated Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:52 a.m.
“In 2015, I began my work-study program in a large cosmetics group in London. I am a management controller in this company which has attracted me for a long time. My career is on the right track. Before that, I followed a marked and flawless route. Bac S, a bachelor's degree at the Catholic University of Lille in economics and finance then a master's degree at Skema Business School. I don't do too badly with numbers, I choose finance as my specialization.
After a gap year in an IT consulting firm in management control, I chose to do this work-study program in the beauty sector for my final year. But I quickly become disillusioned, the experience that I idealized is far from meeting my expectations. Every morning I drag my feet. I ask myself: is this career really for me?
I want to work with children.
Convinced of the need to change course, I grope to find a new path. “I want to work with children”, I found this sentence in one of my notebooks which dates from 2011. It echoes all these activities linked to children that I like to do. In 2015, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a baby mother reception center for the Red Cross and every Sunday, I take care of the daycare (nursery) in my church. Little by little, I am starting to think about the possibility of retraining in the early childhood sector.
My work-study program ends and reality catches up with me, I have desires, but I don't have a plan. In the meantime, I need to find a job. I accepted a fixed-term contract in the IT company where I did my gap year. The salary is comfortable. 9 months is the duration of the fixed-term contract and the time I give myself to find a plan.
A friend who teaches young children will guide my research. She tells me that there is training to be an educator and work with children in daycare and that we integrate them by passing a competitive examination. I'm taking a day off to do the writing I'm doing. I have a second day to take the orals. Two months later, I was admitted for a 3-year training course at the Regional Institute of Social Work (IRTS), which trains social workers (educators of young children, specialized educators, social service assistants, etc.).
At the same time, my company offers me a permanent contract. The time for choices has arrived: continue on this path or make a radical choice and return to school, losing my salary and the comfort it provides. I hesitate, I doubt, I even feel guilty, but I take the plunge. I announce to my company that I refuse the permanent contract and I start classes at IRTS.
When I resign, I have no plan to finance this new stage of my life. I am optimistic by nature, I tell myself that I will find a solution. I turn to Pôle emploi to find out if they can support my retraining, but they let me know that I am not entitled to anything. The only financial aid I can get is from the regional council, which gives me a grant of 300 Pounds per month and finances 30% of my tuition fees.
In short, I have to relearn how to live with less. I manage to get by thanks to my savings, the regional council grant and occasional help from my family. My lifestyle is completely changing. I'm moving to reduce my expenses. The sacrifices made make me question this choice of reconversion. And the frustrations are numerous.
A successful reconversion
Fortunately, the training lived up to my expectations and that's what keeps me going. I'm learning a job that I love. The lessons are fascinating and for once, I'm happy to go to school! Psychology, courses around young child development… I discovered another world very far from that of finance. My first internship in a nursery confirms my choice of retraining.
One month after the end of my training in 2021, I was recruited for a position as an educator in a private nursery in Hauts-de-Seine. On a daily basis, this job is demanding, sometimes trying. The first months are complicated, I have to adapt. The pace is intense. My nursery welcomes 23 children from 3 months to 3 years old and I am mainly responsible for supporting the children in early learning activities.
During my studies, I did not ask myself the question of salary. Three years ago, I was without income. I am happy to earn a salary even if it is low, barely more than minimum wage. I lost 40% compared to my salary in the company but at least I do work with which I am aligned. In 2022, I was offered the opportunity to take over the management of the nursery in which I work. A year later, I was entrusted with the management of a second nursery. My background in business school and my professional experiences serve me in this new role.
Today, I no longer drag my feet to go to work in the mornings. My reconversion was not easy, it required a lot of sacrifices, but the end result suits me. I can say that I have succeeded in my reconversion. »
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