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 Tomas Flanagan from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Tomas Flanagan

Occupational Therapist

St. Michael's House

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  Tomas Flanagan

I would advise anyone interested in Occupational Therapy to read up on the profession or else try to meet a qualified Occupational Therapist and talk to them about their work.

The internet can be a great resource in getting information. Also information from the universities might indicate if this is a course that is suited to you. A lot of the course work relies on you being a self-directed learner. This makes the course different to other more mainstream/academic courses as the onus is on the student to complete a lot of work independently.

As this is a caring profession an interest in working with people is a must. You also need to be a good communicator as you will be working closely with clients, families and other staff on an ongoing basis.

Organisational skills are essential to enable you to manage a caseload.

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Enterprising?
Enterprising 
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Career Interests
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Career Interests


What are your Career Interests?

Administrative?
Administrative 
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.


A Theory of Career Interests

The idea of career interests has been made famous by the work of John Holland, an American psychologist who has been researching this area for over 30 years. His theory is based on the following main ideas:

Bullet People can be generally described using six categories of interests and attitudes that capture the spirit of the individuals they profile.
Bullet People are best described using combinations of these categories. Most people can be best described using two or three categories.
Bullet The categories that represent an individuals interests are the result of many influences, including family, upbringing, cultural environment, educational opportunities, school and work experience and so on.
Bullet Occupations can also be described using the same six categories.
Bullet Work environments also have distinct characteristics, and can equally be classified using the same six categories
Bullet People who work in occupations and environments that have related characteristics are more likely to feel comfortable and motivated with their work and develop satisfying careers

We use a localised adaptation of Hollands categories to assist with categorising occupations and courses throughout this site. A summary of the types is presented below. Click on the category titles to get further information.

Interest Categories
Realist 
R 
Realistic occupations involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outdoors. 
Administrative 
A 
Administrative occupations involve working with data and details more than with ideas and people. These people like clear routines and instructions, and enjoy checking facts and figures. 
Enterprising 
E 
Enterprising occupations involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. 
Investigative 
I 
Investigative occupations involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. 
Social 
S 
Social occupations involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others. 
Creative 
C 
Creative occupations involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules. 
Linguistic 
L 
Linguistic types enjoy work involving the creation and exchange of information through writing, electronic media or the spoken word. These people prefer unstructured environments where there is time to use their imagination to compose their thoughts. 
Naturalist 
N 
Naturalists' like work that involves 'doing' something to 'organic things', i.e. plants, animals and their produce (e.g. food). Like Realists, Naturalists enjoy a hands-on approach, and like to see tangible results. 

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Veterinary Science for All Walks of Life 
  A veterinary careers information booklet that explains the many different career options available with a veterinary degree.
Career Interests

John Holland's theory has been used worldwide to help categorise workplaces and the occupations within them. The official test to measure your interests is the SDS - Self Directed Search, which can be taken online for a small fee.
[link is to a site outside of CareersPortal]