Job: They wanted to become chefs before they gave up, they say why

Discomfort among managers? According to a LiveCareer survey (2023), 87% of French employees suffer from job-related fears. The first of them: decision-making and management responsibility. It is difficult to find volunteers to lead the team in these conditions. There are, of course, those who have no appetite for work.

There is no need to insist: a good specialist is better than a mediocre manager. There are also those famous “downshifters” (from downshifting, “degradation”), who want to “work less to live better”: there is no question of having to deal with the responsibility of the team. But there are also those managers – and there are many – who tried before throwing in the towel, defeated by the lack of support from their superiors and the feeling of loneliness inherent in the role of a leader. Stories.

“Worst experience in my life!”

Bérangère Gonzalez, founder of Happy Content Factory, 37 years old

Bérangère Gonzalez, founder of Happy Content Factory. DR

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“A manager's job? Worst experience in my professional life! The confession was all the more painful for me because I had idealized the role, the royal road to my career. I have held operational recruitment roles at two digital services companies. Another promoted me to team leader. “You will learn on the job,” I was told when I was hoping for support. Without any baggage, I reproduced the management style I knew around me: authoritarian. Disaster! It just wasn't me. Relationships with colleagues changed: I suddenly became the boss. I felt very lonely. And then my workload became too much between the field missions I was holding, reporting to management and supporting the teams.

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Why accept (or reject) a new professional project?

In difficult decisions, I did not feel supported by my superiors. I lasted a year before I asked to return to my previous position. But it's hard to downgrade in your company, in terms of colleagues or salary level. So, I returned to my previous employer: it was easier to integrate, to propose ideas, without being under the pressure of a buffer role between management and employees.

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In 2020, after serious health problems, I became independent. I help recruiters write posts on LinkedIn and advise them on their communication strategy on this network. I am free now. About my time, the choice of projects and people I want to work with, as well as the advice I give completely transparently. By leaving the political game, I reduced the psychological burden.”

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“I should never have taken this job”

“I see myself more in a balanced life than in professional ambitions”

Aglaé Ribon, consultant at Quaternaire, 25 years old

Aglé Ribon, consultant at Quaternaire. William JEZEQUEL

“I am the youngest skipper of the Mini Transat La Boulangère which started from Sables d'Olonne in September and ended in December in Saint-François in Guadeloupe. My boat is sponsored by my company Quaternary. I was employed two years ago as a consultant in the branch of this consulting and training company in Nantes. But the original deal was to allow me to reconcile my work and my passion for sailing. As soon as the job offer arrived, I shared my project at Mini Transat, which I would have to dedicate six months a year for two years to be qualified. The employer gave me a false answer and offered me an unpaid leave package.

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Retraining: how they managed to turn their passion into a profession

A challenge for my manager? Schedule my missions during my presence. Since I only work part-time, my career progress is slower than my colleagues and it is difficult for me to set a development goal. But for now I want to keep learning. I see myself more in a balanced life than in professional ambition. It is a very motivating choice, because I am enthusiastic every time I return to work and equally enthusiastic when I return to the sea. At the end of the Mini Transat, I do not rule out negotiating a new arrangement to prepare for other races or to support my brother who will embark on Mini Transat 2025. We both reached an agreement: when one sails, the other takes care of their fixed daily expenses.”

“It's very difficult to lead a team you didn't choose”

Benoît de Montessus, founder of SBS, 40 years.

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Benoît de Montessus, founding president of SBS. DR

“In sixteen years of commercial career and general management of clothing companies in different markets, French and foreign, I had to manage teams. But the function is not innate. We learn on the field from our mistakes and the mistakes of our own managers. I've known all kinds: the tormentor, the imaginative, the infantilizing, the self-centered, the visionary too. In them I discovered everything that I did not want to reproduce. However, I found it difficult to come up with a strategy when I didn't follow it myself, or to supervise collaborators I didn't choose. I remember this saleswoman, 30 years in the business, who looked down on me, her new boss. Unmanageable! I also had to deal with young people who were difficult to integrate.

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Before accepting a promotion, prepare yourself!

Strangely, we don't expect a manager to be a close leader of his teams, but to have good results. The means are not important. Until the day of suffering in this or that teammate. And then HR lets you go! It all made me very frustrated. Hence the decision two years ago to found my own company SBS, which deals with import-export for mass distribution and pharmaceutical products.

I apply my ideas and my values ​​to that. I am an empathetic person who allows my teams a lot of autonomy – that's my self-taught side – and who encourages collaboration. I chose my teammates, of whom there are currently 12, accordingly. People who want to advance at work. I also know my limits. So I left the management of sellers who need a lot of support to a person who does it better than me. I am planning to buy a company with 60 employees and my biggest fear is that I will be managing so many people with different profiles. We won't do it again!”

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“I don't make money for money's sake”: Ryann, 18, business manager… 2 years

In practice: four tips on how to convince them!

  1. Offer training. A manager is not born, it is made. To avoid a gap between how you work and how you make decisions, plan for ad hoc training, with additional injections if necessary.
  2. Pay them correctly. “Most executives promoted to managers receive very little or no salary,” complains Jean-Marc Gandy, founder of training company Novasun. Why take responsibility for the team and do extra work under these conditions? Increase the salary of your future manager.
  3. Offer long-term coaching. Provide support to the future leader, detailing the specific actions of such support. For example, offer to reduce administrative tasks (less workload) or weekly discussions with colleagues (less isolation).
  4. Think about feedback. Suggest meetings at regular intervals to express polite feedback. And don't hesitate to take the opportunity to thank your new manager for a job well done!

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