Reconversion: they did not expect such a hassle

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Début 2021, un actif sur cinq était dans un processus de reconversion professionnelle et près de la moitié d'entre eux envisageait de sauter le pas.

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You must have heard of this former senior marketing executive, now happy as a goat breeder in Larzac. Less than those who, one year later, have only one desire: to pack their bags, bring their spouse and children back to urban areas, find their schedules, their salary, their computer … Many fantasize about so-called “radical retraining” “. But between the idea and the realization, the gap is sometimes enormous. And disillusionment at the rendezvous.

Xavier, who went through the famous “midlife crisis”, now easily recognizes it. The one who had always dreamed of becoming a butcher negotiated in 2018 a conventional break in a large company in the agri-food industry to throw himself headlong into the adventure. After the excitement of novelty, the young quadra disillusioned over his alternation in butchery.

With staggered work (getting up at dawn, end of the day at 8 p.m.) and busy weekends, “I had the impression of being alone, of losing my family and social life”, he confides. Another surprise: the job is getting boring. Every day, the same gestures, and “With this, Madam, Sir” which end up getting on his nerves.

New standard of success

Thanks to an ever-greater quest for meaning, conversions are in full swing. Evidenced by the plethora of books and articles that have flourished for several years now. “When they become a new standard of success and a new injunction, that's a problem. At the moment, we have the impression that if we don't change radically, we are a loser ”, estimates Clara Deletraz, founder of Switch Collective, a start-up specializing in skills assessments.

The health crisis has only accentuated the phenomenon, pushing many employees to introspection. The business manager observed a “Boom of 80% of requests” in recent months, with a traditional peak at the end of summer. As a result, at the start of 2021, one in five working people are in a professional retraining process, and nearly half of them plan to take the plunge, points out the latest barometer of training and employment from Center Inffo, an association under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor.

Still, for Xavier, the roasts are over. Except those of Sunday noon. Returned to his old business, a little “The tail between the legs” at first, and ultimately well received, he considers having converted for the wrong reason. That of the myth of manual labor. When he only needed “Take a step back” on his work. A bit like Claire, 41, for a moment tempted to become a bicycle repairer. After a one-month express training, she quickly became disillusioned with the technicality of the profession.

The “belly lump” in the morning

To avoid this kind of disappointment, the new Gustave school, specializing in the training of plumber and heating engineer, which has three quarters of the public in retraining, has set up safeguards. “All applicants take a personality test. The idea is to see if they are sufficiently creative, organized, capable of doing a field job and getting their hands dirty. We also do not forget to specify the hourly amplitude of the profession “, slips Marie Blaise, the director, who notes that the most qualified are driven by a desire “To be useful and in the concrete”.

Sometimes the reasons are more mercantile. Amandine, 32, was a salaried bookseller. a “Passionate profession, paid 1,100 Pounds per month, for 80-hour weeks”, laughs the young woman yellow. An abusive boss and burnout later, she quits it all, looking for a “CDI, well paid and with long-term opportunities”. So it will be IT development. But after a year of training and an internship, it's a cold shower. Lack of experience, sexism and health crisis: she struggles to get a contract.

When a famous fixed-term contract finally arrives, the disillusion is all the greater: colleagues not very talkative, boredom, pressure for results to the point of having the “Lump in the stomach” the morning. His salary has certainly doubled, but “What's the point in the end, if that doesn't make me happy?” “ she wonders, demotivated and providing the bare minimum in teleworking. A few days before the start of the school year, Amandine has just decided to go on a retraining tour: this time, it will be the job of web editor, the alliance of her two previous professions, culture and IT.

Vocational training, a promising market

In the meantime, she is counting on her unemployment. Like her, 29% of workers undergoing retraining finance their training through Pôle emploi, 37% with their personal training account (CPF), according to Center Inffo. In 2021, the “My training account” application, launched by the Ministry of Labor, identified nearly one million training courses financed for more than one billion Pounds.

In recent years, training of all kinds has multiplied. But they are unequal. Eliane, a 28-year-old former radiology technician, financed herself with the balance of her CPF. After a skills assessment, she joined a school to become a “media content manager” (in charge of a company's media content, in good English). “There hasn't really been any upgrading. The courses were mostly focused on communication and very little on content creation. Teachers kept postponing lessons ”, she regrets.

Not to mention the lack of support. Today graduated from a bachelor's degree and at the end of her work-study program, the young woman does not feel “Not competent”. “People do not realize everything we are going through, the headaches we have regularly during this retraining process which for me lasted a year, she slips. I told myself that I was never going to make it. “

The myth of the entrepreneur

Retraining aspirants often mistakenly think change is a snap.. “Psychologically, the path is difficult. Pressure from those around you, sometimes dubious about life choices, does not help either “, analysis Marina Bourgeois, founder of Dare to dream his career. The entrepreneur also notes some fashions: “Five years ago, it was the environment. Today, more coaching, spirituality and personal development. ” When it's not the craft.

This dream of change is often accompanied by the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. The latter is put “On a pedestal”, comments Xavier, the lightning butcher. The idea of ​​starting your own business, your business, being your own boss, is for many to find freedom. “A large number of people throw themselves into entrepreneurship because they can no longer support their boss”, remarks Marina Bourgeois.

But this is to omit a whole part of the reality of the profession: administration, knowing how to sell, managing logistics, customer relations, fluctuating revenues … According to the latest figures from INSEE, only 67% of companies are still active five years after their creation. A proportion which falls to 37% for micro-enterprises.

Switch Collective supports 1,500 people per year. More than half change jobs while remaining salaried. A third choose the freelance, when only 7% change jobs within their company.

Don't let it all go overnight

“Haste is very bad. Even more when the change of job involves a change of region and therefore of life for the whole family ”, adds the business manager. To cushion the disillusionment, it is necessary to properly assess the risks and provide safety nets: the possibility of returning to your old job, being able to take a food job, to have unemployment and / or savings, list the coaches.

When Xavier started, he made a business plan with his wife. “We looked at the pros and cons and calculated how much we were going to lose before we went”, he testifies. And to add: “I didn't invest any money or buy a business only to realize six months later that this was not the life I wanted. “

And it is an understatement to say that he did well. Clara Deletraz recommends the “small steps” method. In other words, do not give up everything overnight, but start to launch in parallel with his job, for example. And especially : “Test the job! Ask professionals, do internships, even for a few days ”, she insists.

For her part, Eliane, the future ex-media content manager, is now considering becoming a developer. The quest for this Ile-de-London to finally find her way continues and will be accompanied by a move. Objective: to see if the grass is, this time, greener in Brittany.


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