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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Life as an Administrative Officer in the Dept of An Taoiseach

"My work is certainly never boring!" Christine Reen, Administrative Officer - Department of An Taoiseach. 

I studied Business Studies in University of Limerick before completing my masters in University College Cork in 2010. I studied Economics and therefore wanted to pursue a career in this field, I joined the Civil Service in 2012 as an AO Economist in the Department of An Taoiseach.

Working in the Department of An Taoiseach means working at the heart of Government every day.

I work in the Economic, International and Northern Ireland Division which means I experience a wide range of tasks every day. One day I can be working on British – Irish relations and the next I could be developing Economic policy. I am centrally involved organising meetings and trips for the Taoiseach.

I find my role challenging and diverse. It also allows me to be exposed to high level meetings and gives me an insight to how Government really works.

In early September 2014 I applied for the position of Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs, meaning for the Irish Abroad. I felt that the experience I had gained as an Administrative Officer was a good basis for being a Private Secretary. I also wanted to gain more experience on the political side of working in the Civil Service.

Since taking up this position I have gained an insight into the daily parliamentary duties and diary commitments of a Minister.

Daily Duties 

My daily duties are usually extremely varied depending on what is scheduled in the Minister’s diary each day, whether it is speaking at an event, partaking in Dáil debates, hosting various high level meetings or travelling overseas. There is a lot of preparation to ensure the smooth execution of the Minister’s day.

I have been given a range of opportunities to travel on official Ministerial visits and gain an insight into how Government Policy and connecting with our Diaspora are entwined. Our next trip is around the St Patrick’s Day period , where the Minister is travelling to Chicago and Milwaukee.

There are also busy and exciting times ahead; the Minister is due to publish the ‘Diaspora Policy’ shortly and, once published, the implementation of this Policy both in Ireland and across the globe will commence. This will bring new projects and challenges our way but it’s sure to be an exciting few months – my work is certainly never boring!

gradpublicjobs.ie 


Article by: Christine Reen