[Chapter 5] Walkin’ with Joaquin: Coffee and (French) Conversation with Eloise Racine

This conversation had me both anxious and excited. I met this week’s guest through the Bumble Bizz app – Bumble’s new feature for networking with professionals. I “swiped right” to this week’s guest because I learned through her profile that she recently moved to Waterloo from Quebec City to pursue career opportunities. If you know me personally, I’m a big language learner. This could be great practice – having a conversation with a native speaker.

I am beyond excited to introduce to you my guest, Eloise Racine! I touched base on her decision to move to a new province, her chosen career path, and some words of wisdom in between!

Eloise obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Consumer Sciences at Universite Laval. I had to admit to her that I haven’t heard of this major from any other university. I mentioned to her that I had a degree in Psychology so she explained to me in similar terms. She chose this degree because of her interest and fascination with human behavior, particularly in our consumption of media. This explains spending her early career doing an internship in Social Media and Communication and working in Marketing at a cycling company in Quebec. She also expressed her interests in working in the startup community. In fact, she had a meeting prior to this interview with a representative of a big startup in the e-commerce industry.

“We put ourselves in a box when we study for a certain degree. Once we graduate, the challenge lies in getting out of the box,” she said.

I took advantage of this conversation to demonstrate my French proficiency. I did not grow up in a Francophone household so my French practice skills were limited to applications and Internet resources. My biggest weakness is understanding the words of a native speaker. That is why whenever Eloise begins speaking in French, I can’t help but smile for fear of getting lost in translation. “Do not be afraid to make mistakes,” Racine advised. “The only way to get over the barrier is through actual conversations with native speakers”.

How do I practice speaking in French? In reality, Eloise is not always available given her commitments and our distance. “Do you know of organizations and meetups within your area?” Racine asked. “That’s a great place to start”.

Montreal or Quebec City? “If you would like to experience a little bit of Paris, then definitely go to Quebec City. If you prefer something like Toronto, then Montreal is for you.”
How she started with networking apps like Bumble Bizz or Shapr. “Having recently moved to Ontario, I wanted to meet new people and expand my network. My friends encouraged me to try out these apps. I’ve met great people ever since!”

“There should be no rush in finding the so-called ‘perfect job”, Racine said. “It’s a long, yet rewarding process”. I had to think for a bit about this. How does she define a “perfect job”? How does she know that, once she acquires that job, that it is perfect? She had concrete answers for these questions. “Ask questions to yourself,” Racine advised. This is a great exercise for narrowing down someone’s strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes.

At some point in our conversation, I shared to Eloise about my food business and other entrepreneurial projects. When I ended, she responded with a timely advice that translates well to someone’s personal and professional life. “It is okay to cross the line to find what you are looking for,” Eloise said.

On this positive note, I raise my coffee and end with my favorite French expression:

On y va!

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