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It's been lovely but it's time to go ...

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Hey, you! 😊

Last Friday was officially my last day of work. Too many emotions were happening at the same time, which is why I decided I would wait a week before posting about it here. I had to go through a process of emotions first.


So why did I quit my job?

It's actually been long time coming. I've known for a while that I didn't want to do what I was doing anymore. I actually tried to leave last year. I cut down my hours, but it still didn't feel like it was enough. I felt like I had one foot in and another foot out. I had the feeling of being stuck. And so I woke up one day - right after that period where I was so sick in October and told myself, "F*ck it, I'm doing it. I'm leaving". And I finally did.

I have no regrets about this because the first thing I felt after that phone call with my "boss" was relief. I could finally focus on what I wanted to do. Not that I didn't like what I was doing because I .... did. As a language trainer, I've had the opportunity to meet wonderful people. Visit amazing places. Learn so much. Work on important projects. I could probably write a book about all the experiences I've had through the years - good and bad! But I found myself yearning for something else. Not that I know what that something else is exactly, but that's another story for another day. 😅


How did I become a language trainer in France?

When I arrived in France 12 years ago, I quickly realized that my nursing diploma would be of no use here. If I wanted to be a nurse, I would have to go back to school. Another 3 years for a career that wasn't really suited for me. But I needed to find something because I needed to support my family. I finally found something and I went through the whole hiring process. It was a government job, but unfortunately it was cancelled at the last minute after a series of protests happened in the country. Coincidentally, it was on November 22, 2013 - that's 10 years ago. And that's also one day before my father passed away. I did tell you that this period of the year is a shitty one for me, right??

So I found myself without a job and without a dad in that same week. Thankfully, my family was there. My sister, her family, my great uncle and aunt, new friends (who were supposed to be my new colleagues). We had so much support that it brings me to tears just thinking about it every time. From there, The Husband had a job interview and was able to have his first job in France. And then it was my turn.

And so I asked myself, "What can I do?"


I decided to try out applying at language training centers because I had had a few language trainings for months for that government job and realized that I could do this. I could be a language trainer (even if I had no proper training lol). So I had my first interview. I don't remember if I was nervous or not, but I think I was. It was a mother-and-son duo and they took their turn asking me questions and by the end of the interview, I was hired! Oh my gosh! They told me I would start with a few hours at first and that I would have to shadow another trainer, which was fine.

My first teaching day was on February 14, 2014. I had a duo, who were working for a company in the region. We had fun and in hindsight, they were the best students to start with. There was no pressure and we just went with the flow.

As much as I lacked in experience, I was determined to do good and so I really put in a lot of hours preparing the lessons. Something that I've actually stopped doing these past recent years.

My bosses at the time encouraged me to get a teaching diploma which I did. I wasn't working a lot of hours, so a few months later, I decided to work with other language training centers and accumulate my hours to have a full-time job. This meant that I had be good with time management and organization, which I was. In a short time, I was working long hours. I would have my first training at 8am then I would finish at 5pm. Two days in a week, I had evening classes and even Saturday morning classes. It was a lot, but I was motivated. I loved what I was doing even if it meant working a lot at work, but also preparing my lessons at home. The Husband would come home from work and he was basically done. The moment he stepped out from his workplace, he was done. It wasn't that way for me. I would come home at 10pm and prepare until midnight or 1am. Saturday afternoons were also busy with work. But I didn't mind, just as I didn't mind driving from one place to another since I would be going to different schools and companies all day every day. My "colleagues" thought I was crazy and working so much, but I was happy then.


One of the best memories I have is of a 30+ year old trainee I had in one of my first evening classes. I remember him telling me how after several years of taking lessons, he felt like he was finally progressing with me. When our lessons finished, I learned that he was a colleague of a good friend of mine. One day, she told me that she had a message for me from him thanking me for teaching and helping him. Turns out that his girlfriend was living and working in another city and he needed a certain language level to apply for a job there. Year after year, he applied for a job there and failed each time. They had probably been long distance dating for 5 years I think. But after our training, he felt confident and applied again and wouldn't you know it, he finally had the language level and he was hired. He was finally leaving his job and moving away to be with his girlfriend and his dream job and on his goodbye party, he insisted that my friend tell me how thankful he was. I remember crying on the way home. That I, as broken as I was at the time, had helped someone achieve his dreams. I haven't had any news from him since then, but I like to imagine him happily married with kids and enjoying his work. It was then that I knew that I wanted to do this.

I've helped directors sign huge contracts, sometimes saving their companies from financial destruction. I attended and participated in international meetings for world causes. I helped engineering students pass the TOEIC test. In France, it is mandatory to have a minimum B2 level to have their engineering diploma. For some students, it was an easy feat, for others not so much. We sometimes worked for four years in a row and that included winter and summer break. And I don't mean to brag or anything, but every student that has worked with me achieved their goal and I take a lot of pride in that. I took a lot of pride in my work and what I gave to my trainees.


After the initial phase of feeling relieved, I felt sad. At the end, I was working actively for two companies - one, that had given me my first chance although it was under a new management now, and two a company that I started working with 4 years ago. I sent the second company a mail telling them about my plans of leaving and the director insisted that we talked on the phone, which we did. She had only the nicest words to say to me and we ended the conversation with her telling me that no matter what, "I always had a place at the table if I ever wanted to come back". I was deeply touched, even if I knew that I wouldn't want to come back to the table.

But my strongest feelings were with the first company. The one that gave me my first chance 10 years ago. On my last day, I got nothing from them. Through the years, I've only had good reviews. I was liked by my trainees. Some insisted, almost pleaded to continue working with me, heck one didn't want our lessons to end during the whole covid period and so we found a way to make it work for everyone. I had given them my best years. The years where I wasn't struggling with my health. The years where I felt young and dynamic. The years where I gave it my all. And on my last day? I got nothing from them.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not asking for a medal, or a red carpet, or money, or whatever. I know that I've been paid for the work I did. But all I truly wanted was a simple thank you. Thank you for the years of hardwork and for only wanting the best for the company. Was that wishful thinking?

So aside from being sad, I'm angry, which I didn't want to be. I didn't want it to end like this for me. For my part, I tried to find a solution so that replacing me wouldn't be too complicated. In return, I received several mails asking me to confirm over and over again my last day. They also tried taking away my last week knowing perfectly that in my case, hours not worked are hours not paid. I'm not gonna start making a list of my grievances here. I know my truth and I'm truly upset.

I know that the company can go on without me, with no problem I'm sure, and I wish them all the best for the future filled with success. But in the end, I just wanted a simple thank you for the years. Perhaps it was a price too high to pay. Too bad for me. 😔

When did you know it was time to leave?

xoxo Elodie

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