I had a great meeting with my boss last week. It started off a little awkward, with him asking point blank what I wanted from him and me not knowing at all how to answer him, but we finally eased into the conversation.
The bad news first: I had hoped to get a little bit of financial assistance to take classes from my mentor who lived very close, but that won't be possible, as official funding can only go towards accredited schools. But -
Mr Boss has no objection to my looking into the accredited classes accessible to adults in Paris. (!!!) What would happen is that I would change my current contract (average of 14 hours a week in CDI - permanent contract) to a Contract d'Apprentissage (an apprentice contract, and yes, it's available for adults in certain conditions), in which I would work full time, 35 hours a week, with my classes included in the 35 hours, and I'll be paid a percentage of minimum wage (53% I think?), but will still make more than I'm earning right now. My time at work would be divided up in doing what I do right now with the least amount of shuffling as possible, so as not to mess up the schedules of my colleagues, and the whatever time is left in the bookbinding workshop. Whatever money I make in addition to what I'm making now should cover all the traveling between here and Paris. After I receive my diploma, we would revert back to my present contract and I can continue to work there while I'm building up my bookbinding business.
Clearly, this is much, much better than what I hoped for! I never imagined he'd be up for this, I very nearly floated out of his office! Of course, it's up to me to follow up and get as much info as I can with the goal of presenting a financial breakdown to my boss in the next couple of months so I can start this Fall. I've just now got off the phone with the school in Paris and there will be an Open House at the end of March, which I will certainly be attending!
There we go, I feel like I've gotten through the hardest part, for me, anyway - talking on the freaking phone in French! I've always hated the telephone (except for talking with friends, obviously!) and I really have to force myself, or else I put it off for weeks. I feel like we're making good progress! While I'm waiting for the end of March, I hope to get access to the bookbinding materials at work very soon so I can start working on new projects in the meantime!