Ask me your
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
My decision to move to Luxembourg after completing my undergraduate degree. My decision to move to Japan from Luxembourg. My decision to study for a Master's degree and my decision to study for a PhD. In short, the times when I have made a leap to travel to new countries and pursue further education have brought me to to where I am now.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
How did you go about getting your current job?
I finished my PhD and heard that a position was to become available at the university where I studied. I applied by filling in a very detailed application form (it took me several weeks to write my answers and be happy with them), I taught a sample lesson and made a presentation about my plans for the job if I were to be successful, I sat an interview with a selection panel, and got told by phone that evening that I got the job.
Describe a typical day?
During semester time, a typical day revolves around teaching. I teach a variety of subjects. Planning and preparation for lessons takes a lot of time and effort. Preparing assessments and exams require a lot of time and effort, too. In between lessons, I conduct research (gathering data, interviewing people, writing papers).
This involves a lot of deadline pressure, but it is a really interesting aspect of the job. It feels great when a piece of research that you have created is published and read by other people. Academics often travel a lot because research is usually carried out within large international networks and present their work at international conferences. I travel outside Ireland about once a month on average. Trips I have taken have been as short as one day or as long as three months, depending on the project.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
What are the main challenges?
Time management! There is a lot of work to do, especially if you want to keep up with all the developments in the topics that interest you. I am good at maintaining to-do lists, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what is important and what is urgent on these lists and managing my time accordingly.
The variety (two days are rarely the same) and the fact that I can control how my career develops. You are given a lot of freedom by the university to research what is most interesting to you, and this can change over time. I think the opportunities for international travel with a stable Irish base are great as well.
What's not so cool?
Time management! It is a busy job and I don't always have time to do as good a job as I want to on some tasks because other things are more important or urgent. For example, sometimes you want to spend more time working on a piece of research but you can't because you need to respect a deadline given to you by a publisher.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
Even after PhD level, there are still lots of opportunities to learn. We have lots of personal and professional development courses that are offered by the university to help us work better or be better (learn new teaching, research or administrative skills, take care of our mental health, work better with others, etc.) I take about one short course a year.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Education and Training?
Advice for Others?