Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!

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Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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Career Advice Work Life Balance

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Work Life Balance

Work-life balance day is March 1st. Employers and organisations are encouraged to engage in activities in that are aimed at highlighting work-life balance practices and the benefits that alternative working arrangements can provide to busineses and employees.

It can be challenging for some people to create a healthy balance between work and enjoying life, however, it is possible. To do this we need to have the right attitude and take responsibility for looking after not just our physical health but our mental health and wellbeing. 

For most people striking a healthy work life balance means ensuring their home life gets as much time, attention and energy as their work lives. People can find themselves "juggling" all their commitments including work, study, family and friends and leisure. Statistics indicate that one in four people will have experience of a mental health difficulty and high levels of stress can be a contributory factor.

So work life balance is about being clear about what is important to you in each area of your life and prioritising daily decisions to achieve what you want. For example: you may need to put more time into study just before an exam or family if you have a sick child or relative. 

Some Tips for achieving the balance:

  • Learn to say No - by understanding what your needs and priorities are you are more likely to be clear about the things you don't need to take on in your life.
  • Create more Space for yourself - you can always create more time by dropping the things you don't need. For example: how much time do you spend on social media sites or watching soaps? This time could be better spent on doing an activity that helps to de-stress and energise you like reading, taking up an activity with family, friends and relaxation.

  • Evaluate your relationship with work - with the economic downturn more and more people are working harder and longer hours it can be tempting to clock up the hourse with increased workloads or by trying to earn a promotion. However, are you married to your work? The knockon effect of working too much can lead to fatigue, stress, losing time with family and friends and increased expectations about your role in work. However, there are ways of ensuring work does not take ove your life including:

Leave work at work: with the ever increasing technology it can be tempting to be available. Create a boundry around your work/home time.

Find out about the many work options: you may have more flexibility around your working week than you you realise. Discuss these with your employer. To view these options: click here

Have a good support system: tune into your supports at work this could be a co-worker, supervisor or mentor. Having good relationships at work ease stressful situations and are important for job satisfaction.       

For more information on work-life balance:

www.equality.ie

www.mentalhealthireland.ie