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 Fergus O'Connell from BioPharmachem Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

Fergus O'Connell

Quality Officer

BioPharmachem Ireland

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Fergus O'Connell
A broad science background is very important. An ability to recognise small inconsistencies is equally important. For example do you recognise small discrepancies between different camera shots of the same scene in films and TV series?

An ability to question everything and think laterally is important. Also the ability to say 'no' (not everyone is comfortable doing this). Working in quality is not about being popular and definitely not about being a tyrant but one needs to be approachable, consistent and have good interpersonal skills.

Not all of your decisions are going to be popular but they need to be based on a sound rationale and you need to be able to support them. One also needs to be acutely aware of the fact that your opinion won't always be right.

One must always be open to being convinced of an alternative argument.
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Realist?
Realist
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Career Interests
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Career Interests


What are your Career Interests?

Realist?
Realist 
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


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. 

Online Resources
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.
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