Courage. Confidence. Discover yourself. Or rediscover yourself. Getting chances and grabbing them with both hands. On your own initiative or with a helping hand. We all have our own personal story. Like Isabelle, Luc and Kristin. People like you who were faced with a choice and took the plunge. Towards a new job or a new environment.

 
 
 
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Isabelle Contreras Guirado

 
 

I hope my story will put other people’s minds at rest. It really isn’t easy to take the step and switch to another sector. But I'm glad I did! Everything I learned during my time at the bank, I now use in the hospital. I feel much happier – you can just see the difference.

When I was told that my job would be disappearing, I was overwhelmed by a whole host of emotions. I was afraid of the future. But at the same time, I also saw opportunities. To spend more time with the kids. And to do a job that involved more social contact. I only had to apply for one job. My wonderful career at the bank and the coaching support certainly helped.

 
 
The customer used to be king. Now the patient is king.
— Isabelle
 

 
 
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Gwendoline Wienen

By making the switch later on in life, I think I’m approaching my new job in education in a more mature way. And now I have the chance to help children discover the world... That gives me a lot of energy.

It came as a real shock to hear that the majority of our work would be done by external parties within a few years. But even though there was initially a lot of uncertainty, I didn’t just give up. I was able to combine my job with retraining to become a teacher. There was an enormous amount of flexibility on both sides. I'm glad I got that chance and took it.

 
 
For every door that closes, a new one opens. That’s so true.
— Gwendoline
 
 

 
 
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Leen Schepers

 
 

Throughout my entire career at the bank I focussed on car leasing. That's where I discovered my talent for the commercial side of things. I loved life on the road. When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for the next 20 years, it didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to make my dream a reality: I wanted to open my own lounge bar.

I was open about that from the start and my bosses at the bank were really understanding. They were almost as excited as I was. As such, I was able to enjoy my job for another year and to prepare for the transition in the meantime. Now I have my own business. Even if it doesn’t work out, I'm very glad I at least gave it a go.

 
 
If you have an idea, you have to have the courage to just go for it!
— Leen
 
 

 
 
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Luc Mombaerts

 
 

33 years at the bank... I had a great time. But over the years, I was less able to cope with the stress that came with the job. Then I read about Experience@Work on our website. And that, as they say, was that! I worked as a handyman for Studio 100 and still got paid by the bank. That gave me both satisfaction and security.

My colleagues were shocked when I told them. They didn't even know I was handy! A number of colleagues are now also considering a switch. I was the first one here to do it and I would certainly recommend it. I'm much less stressed and do up to 16,000 steps a day. And everyone tells me how good I look.

 
 
I hope I’ll be able to do this until I retire.
— Luc
 

 
 
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Kristin Van Dooren

 
 

I have spent my entire career at the bank and in the last few years, I even had a great managerial position. But all that time I was looking for something with a bit more meaning. In 2017, I said goodbye to the bank to start a new chapter in my life as a social worker.

No one was surprised that I chose the healthcare sector. I've always been interested in people’s stories. It was time to give something back to society. The residential care centre where I work now is a great place to do that. If I hadn’t taken that step, I would probably have been sat at home with a burnout by now. Now when I go home in the evening, I can leave my work at work.

 
 
I’m still the same old Kristin. I haven’t changed... but I am happier.
— Kristin
 
 

 
 
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Annelies Wybo

 
 

I'm extremely grateful to the bank for the many wonderful years I’ve worked there. I really got a lot out of it. I always had the chance to discover new things. And I embarked upon new adventures with confidence. First at the bank, now on my own.

No, my story's not about having to leave. I could have stayed, but I thought it was time for something new. Especially to have more of a direct impact. I have that now as a freelancer at Kessels & Smit. I'm more in touch with myself. And I didn't have to lose out financially either. So don't let that stop you.

 
 
You have to have the courage to do what’s best for you and who you really are.
— Annelies
 

 
 

I'm grateful for everything I've learned at the bank. And for the chances I've been given. When I told them I wanted to start my own business, they were open to it.

I used to have a great job. Now I have a passion.
— Laurence Meeùs
 

 

People often think: ‘I've worked at the bank my whole life, I can't do anything else.’ But we underestimate ourselves. There's still a very big world out there waiting for us. Dare to take that step!

The key aspect throughout my career? People. Both at the bank and at the Red Cross.
— Michaël Dierckx
 
 

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