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

Read more

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!

Close

Social?
Social
The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Close
Study Skills
Other
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Featured Article

logo imagelogo image

Return to List



Jenny Hanafin: Earth Observation and Modelling Manager

Jenny Hanafin talks to Smart Futures about her job as Earth Observation and Modelling Manager at TechWorks Marine.

What were the main ‘career decision’ milestones in your life so far?

I wanted to study marine science as soon as I could. Then deciding to move to the US to do my PhD, where I had an amazing time was another milestone. I then moved from research to a commercial job, based on my research experience.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

My PhD advisor and various colleagues over the years have been the biggest influencers on career to date.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Yes! My salary is pretty good, I have opportunities to travel, and even though it’s a private company there are opportunities to keep up with research.

How did you go about getting your current job?

It’s a very specialised field and I knew this company was expanding into the field so I approached them initially at a conference and then followed up when I was ready.

Describe a typical day?

I spend most of my day on my computer, analysing data, writing reports and keeping up to date with my projects. There are regular progress meetings with my team and my boss as well. Occasionally I go to meetings or conferences in Ireland or abroad.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

I manage projects, so keeping people and work on track for deadlines is important. I also spend time looking for new business or funding opportunities and I then write proposals for these grants.

What are the main challenges?

Planning! Research is very different to business. When you start researching a topic, you know it could lead you anywhere and even though you have an idea of how long it will take, you need to plan in case it takes longer than expected. In business you need to have a much better handle of timelines and workloads in order to plan.

What aspects of the job do you enjoy?

I love what I do! I have a great interest in what I am doing and this makes work very enjoyable.

What are the challenges facing your profession?

I would have preferred to stay in research or academia, but those jobs are pretty scarce.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

The main skills I bring are a mix of good technical skills, a wide range of experience and the ability to work with others.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

For my Leaving Cert I took all three science subjects physics, chemistry, biology as well as higher maths.

What is your education to date?

I have a bachelor of science in Marine Science from NUI Galway and a PhD in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography from the University of Miami. Both of these degrees have been very important in my career to date.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

During my PhD I had lots of opportunities to travel, to meet new people and to find the topic I wanted to follow for my career.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I have taken many training courses in writing scientific papers, public speaking and managing teams. I’m always open to learn a better ways of doing things.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Getting my proposals funded has been the most rewarding thing to happen in my career to date.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

The personal qualities that help the most in my career are focus, determination and self-motivation.

What is your dream job?

Jacques Cousteau’s job would be my dream job!

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

A PhD is more than a qualification, who you choose as an advisor and where you choose to do it is very important, as your experience depends a great deal on them. I spent a lot of time researching universities, research groups and potential advisors before deciding and it really paid off. Once you are on your way, just keep networking! It’s as important in science as any other career.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Being able to learn and keep on learning, being able to work alone as well as in a team and not being afraid to take on something new.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Scientific data analysis and placement at environmental companies would both provide good experience for this type of position.

Article by: Smart Futures