Chloé made several professional changes: a first retraining at 26, then she launched her box last year, at 28. Having grown up 20 years in Paris, she follows the same studies as her parents, by doing a business school. She obtains a school in Toulouse and despite her hesitations to retry the competition for a TOP 5 school, she goes there. It was “the best decision I made,” she said. The decisions she has made each time she has gone through crises, which are for her engines to undertake change. Today, it is “the porridge of her various professional experiences”, to use her words, which has allowed her to build a job that she loves.
Where did you go after business school?
I did a Masters in marketing & communication then a Masters 2 in consulting/strategy. On my personal time, I did volunteer work. I wanted to do a Master in CSR but there was none in my school, so I took the advice because it was the best way to enter the job market. Then I returned to Paris to work in a consulting firm. Professionally, I learned a lot of things but I was not stimulated, happy to get up in the morning. I was even distanced from my values and I felt that I sometimes had a negative impact through what I was doing, by working with certain companies.
When did you change lanes?
In practice, I had a client with whom I had a lot of extra-professional time. So I wondered what I could do. I tried to apply for a sustainable development consulting firm and finally I went into self-employment. In addition to what I was doing in a consulting firm, I accompanied freelancers, impact companies, associations, until this activity motivated me more than my job in the firm. I hesitated for a long time and then, I finally negotiated a mutual agreement. It was tough. Fortunately, I was supported by people in the box and relatives.
And then ?
Then I went to Australia with my partner. There, I co-developed a circular economy incubator. I also read a book: Reinventing your professional life... when you have just started it, by Marion de La Forest Divonne, which gave me a lot of boost. It made me want to hire a professional coach. What I have done. It upset me emotionally, challenged me, and gave me confidence and helped me know what I wanted to work on. It's a budget, but I recommend to anyone who wants to retrain to do so.
At the time of the Covid, all the funds stopped and we returned to France in November 2020. There, I worked for an impact fair on a permanent contract. I had the impression that I had the freedom to do a lot of things but in fact not that much and there was a very business side that did not particularly suit me. So I again asked for a conventional break, after 6 months. And then I said to myself that I finally had plenty of strings to my bow: in consulting, in the circular economy, I loved entrepreneurship, I had been very interested in Third Places. So at the end of 2021, I said to myself go. I set up an association, Les Halles de La Transition, to accelerate the ecological and solidarity transition with people and organizations. Then I met my partner with whom I developed a first Third Place in Toulouse and an agency where I work as a consultant in CSR and circular economy. It's a great accomplishment because I branched off everything I had learned into a job that suits me better.
It is the dream of many people to "create their job", how did you get there?
I think seizures help. Do you see the super unpleasant moments, where you feel that the job is not for you and that it gets to you? I don't know if these moments are depressions, existential crises... I call them moments of crises, where there are things that burst in you, that reach your body and that are very beneficial. You go through a difficult side to then rebuild everything and do it your way. For example, I don't regret having taken on this mission on a permanent contract when I returned to France. Even if I hit a wall, it allowed me to say to myself “Chloé, you no longer have a choice, now you have to create your box.”
“I live rather big crises and then I get up in warrior mode”
What did you not expect in your new professional life?
I didn't think that was possible. It's as if you enter a world where you realize that you have achieved what you wanted to do, you have your box, your customers and then new ambitions. It makes you believe in yourself even more. I did not think it would be so possible and concrete.
What is your advice for those who wish to develop their profession or are thinking of career changes?
To know how to manage the moments when things are not going well, when you have the impression that you will not get out of it and that you are not moving forward. I live rather big crises and then I get up in warrior mode saying to myself “you have no choice, you only have one life, you have to go.” I do not know if this operation is the best, but for me, it is what allows me to move forward. For example, sometimes we stay in a professional situation in which we feel like we're in between, telling ourselves that we're not at the bottom of the hole but we complain, we don't necessarily like our work, we doesn't make sense of it. And finally, time passes. I wonder if it's not better to make a decision, to act, even if it means hitting a wall, getting up, learning lots of lessons and moving forward.