Ex-Google, Amazon employee quits 6-figure job to make pastries: ‘I’m happier’ | Trending - Hindustan Times
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Ex-Google, Amazon employee quits 6-figure job to make pastries: ‘I’m happier’

Jun 14, 2024 05:04 PM IST

Ex-Google employee finds joy in pastry career in France, despite big pay cut

An American techie who quit her six-figure job to make pastries in France for a fraction of the salary says she has never been happier. Valerie Valcourt spent her career in the USA working for some of the world’s leading tech companies like Google and Amazon.

An American techie quit her 6-figure job to train as a pastry chef in France (Representational image)
An American techie quit her 6-figure job to train as a pastry chef in France (Representational image)

In 2022, however, she quit her job and moved to France to train as a pastry chef. Valcourt’s move from big tech to pastry worker came with a big pay cut, but here is why she does not regret the decision.

Worth the pay cut

“I’m happier here than in the US It’s been lovely,” Valcourt told CNBC Make It.

The former Google employee explained that she had been feeling burnt out in her corporate job. While she was making upwards of $100,000 a year ( 83 lakh approximately), it came at the cost of her mental health.

“The paycheck wasn’t worth the detriment to my mental health,” she said.

Valcourt decided to make a big career change when she was in her 30s. She applied to a pastry school in France and got accepted. In late 2022, she quit her job and moved to France to pursue her passion full time.

Today, Valcourt, 34, works as a pastry assistant at a restaurant called Maison Chabran in the French village of Tournon-sur-Rhone. She earns about $30,000 a year in this role ( 25 lakhs approximately) and gets five weeks of paid vacation a year.

(Also read: Ex-Google employee's ordeal after working for 10 years at tech giant: ‘Cried my eyes out when…')

Valcourt says her salary comfortably covers her rent and other expenses. Since she spent all her savings on the move to France, she is currently working on building up her bank balance again.

While she loves her job, she also loves the French work culture that is markedly different from America’s.

“The French culture is like, when it’s time to rest, it’s time to rest, and also have a glass of wine every now and then,” she explained. Unlike the US, her French colleagues also discourage her from working overtime. Valcourt works around 40 hours per week. In the free time she now has, she has been teaching herself new skills and picking up hobbies like yoga, playing the ukulele, skateboarding, crochet etc.

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