Professional retraining: a sometimes perilous exercise
We interviewed Emilie Gauvry, microbiological safety researcher, who returned to her original sector after a 2-year professional retraining period.
Why did you choose to change paths?
Following my doctorate and my short-term contracts in microbiology (industry of origin), no opportunity presented itself to me following these contracts, in the region of Rennes where my spouse and I lived. Given the geographical constraint, I decided to change path (IT) to find a job.
Why did you decide to return to your 1st sector rather than another?
The opportunity presented itself to me (in Vendôme) and this time, my spouse was able to follow me to change region, allowing me to return to my first area of expertise which fascinates me (2 years after having ” quits “). If the opportunity had not arisen, I would certainly still be in IT at Rennes.
I would also like to mention that the opportunity presented itself thanks to the services of Leaderia and that the prospect of support during the first months (telephone appointment to find out how the start of the activity is going, the integration into the company , etc…) were very reassuring.
What do you remember from this experience?
Retraining is very formative, both from a professional and personal point of view. I particularly gained confidence in myself, to trust in my abilities, to open up to other fields of expertise, to adapt, to learn quickly and “on the job”, to work in a different environment, in a team, customer orientation, etc. This experience is very beneficial to me for my current position.
I would also like to highlight the IT hosting company (Sopra Steria, not to mention it) which has really been a great experience in hosting and training junior profiles in retraining, who knows how to support them and offer the opportunity to flourish in a new field. I think it’s a good example that demonstrates that despite a candidate’s lack of experience in a field, trusting their skills, their interpersonal skills and their learning abilities is a good bet for the company.
Was returning to your first sector more difficult after this “pause” time?
No, during the 2 years of “break” in microbiology, I always kept one foot in the field (reading/writing publications, help and contacts with former colleagues on certain topics). The new position in microbiology is exactly the same as my skillset, so getting back to business was simple, just needed to “re-grease the wheels” at start-up and I was up and running very quickly. This adaptation stage was also greatly facilitated by my manager and the team with which I work; they gave me their trust and support.
What should be considered before taking the step?
From my experience of professional retraining, I think that you have to accept the possibility of definitively “mourning” your first favorite sector in the event that a job opportunity does not/no longer arise. This was my case, I did not look for a job in microbiology during my experience in computer science, it was really the opportunity (contacted by Flore Givelet) that made me come back to microbiology. You also have to be attentive to the new sector in which you are entering, to find out about the position, the daily life, the missions, what you can learn there, the possibilities of development in this sector, and above all, the way which we will be accompanied, supported to learn the new missions. I would invite people making a professional retraining to collect testimonials from people who have experienced retraining in the targeted company.
Beware of false good ideas!
It is tempting to leave your company and change careers to implement the idea you have been thinking about for so long. But you don’t necessarily turn a passion into a job…
The lack of knowledge of what the reality of managing a new activity represents is a source of great difficulty and many failures. It is therefore imperative to identify the right reasons for the change, without masking the reality: having a good salary? Or have a passion job? The two criteria are rarely compatible. Sometimes the retraining is “suffered” for lack of opportunities.
Changing everything, reversing everything, is not necessarily the right solution. The radical improvement of one’s work environment does not necessarily require an equally radical career change. Slight adjustments – in management, job content, sector, etc. – can also initiate a lasting professional renewal.
A methodical approach
Successful retraining, large or small, requires rigorous preparation often combined with the mobilization of external resources. A methodical approach must be followed to make the right choices, training and the use of support for change can be useful.
Retraining also means training and being supported by companies! Going for a retraining without training can quickly turn out to be frustrating or even block the possibility of continuing through loss of motivation.
Patience is required because the process takes time: you don’t change your professional life in just three months! It even happens that after a retraining, you return to your original sector, like the boomerang employees.