What I learned while searching for my dream job for almost a year

My name is Marie-Aline and I am 31.

I just found a job I really like.

Right now I am very happy, but this has been quite a long and adventurous process.

Here is my story and what I learned during my professional transition.


The failure of the dream job quest

Let’s go back 1 year, back to Septembre 2016.

I am coming back from holidays. Just spent 2 great weeks in Spain at my grandparent’s house near Valencia.  I am a bit nervous about going back to work. A bit nervous is a nice way to reflect how I literally cried half a day long just thinking how much I don’t want to go back to work.

It’s weird because I am supposed to love my job. It’s a job I started a few months ago. I am the Revenue Manager for a nursing firm. Actually, the French leader for private nurseries. They’ve hired me to make sure their 13 000 nurseries have full. Very challenging and interesting. I have to implement a new subscription process in 300 of the nurseries. I work with 7 regional directors and the support team in the headquarters. The purpose is great, I help families to find a nice place for their baby to stay at. The paycheck is good. So why am I crying?

Because this was supposed to be my dream job and it’s not.


After 7 years in the hotel industry, I wanted to switch before I became too specialized. I had the opportunity to transfer my revenue management skills into another industry. I thought my transition would just be smooth and easy: leave the hotel industry, join the nursery company, learn a new way of doing business and stay there for another 7 years. Transition done!

But that’s not what happened. What I imagined to be the end of the process, was in fact just the beginning.

It took me some time to accept that the job at the nursery company was not matching my expectations. It took me even longer to accept that it was not entirely my fault.


Why did I want to change? What was I really looking for? What was my purpose? What did I want to accomplish?

Many questions that I did not ask myself. No wonder it did not work out!

Transition is a process. Quite long, quite difficult, that cannot be summed up as getting a new job. I did not know it then, but before changing my outside - my job - I needed to change my inside first. My state of mind, my mindset.

Transition is a force, driving you, from the inside to the outside.


The importance of knowing yourself

Breaking this nursery job contract was long and painful but when it happened I felt so relieved! I understood I was on the right path. Because of the joy I felt! I was so happy. Unemployed but really happy!  If I could be that happy AND have a job, then my transition would have been a success.

From then I started paying attention to my feelings. Which I had not done that much while I was working. Little by little, I took note and wrote down what I found exciting and what was boring to me. I wrote everything down in a journal. And I joined a support group for people in professional transition to get support.

I had always wanted to create my own company so I read a lot about it, watched hours of online videos, went to events, met people, and tried. I looked for a business associate, signed up for entrepreneurship contests -even won and joined a startup incubator. Things started to happen.

The most important thing here is not really what happened. But how it magically happened when I managed to connect with my inner feelings. Joy, sadness, excitement, fear. Emotions were not always easy to accept. Sometimes, I wished they were different, less overwhelming, less obvious, and pushing me in an easiest direction. Like that time when my guts told me NOT to create my company with my former boss, who was extremely gifted and well connected. It was far from easy to tell him I did not want to work with him anymore. But I never regretted.


The importance of surrounding yourself

The transition group, the incubator experts and all the people who surrounded me were absolutely essential through the whole process.

First of all because they were of great support. Never judging, always supportive. They gave me energy and I really want to thank them for that. I was actually surprised how people encourage you when they feel you are truly following something that matters to you.

Secondly, they were essential because sometimes you try to lie to yourself. You do so because it’s easier, because some decisions are hard to make. They helped me identify what was important to me, what I missed, what I should keep and what I should change in my project.


Final transition thoughts

I just found a new job. I think I will really like that one. And even if I don’t, I am not anxious anymore. Transition is never finished, it’s an ongoing project. It requires time, commitment and teamwork. Like any other project if you think about it.

The new job is not the project. Transition IS the project. It’s about knowing yourself better and finding a match between your dreams, and reality.

Cecile Pompei