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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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:
|Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.|
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|Blackrock Further Education Institute|
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|►||The Changing World of Work|
|►||Career Stories from around Ireland|
|►||Types of Employment|
|►||Changing Career Direction|
|►||Starting Your Own Business|
Lisa Berry, Restaurant Manager
Lisa Berry is a Restaurant Manager with McDonalds Ireland having started as a Trainee Manager in 2000. She is responsible for all aspects of running the restaurant and enjoys the variety, challenge and responsibility that this gives her. She is currently completing a HETAC Level 6 qualification in conjunction with McDonalds and National College Ireland in First-Line Management.
The main function is ensuring the customer expectations are met and even exceeded.
My main tasks are to make sure that my team of managers and staff understand what is expected of them and how they can achieve what is required of them.
I am responsible for a multi million euro business and profitability is of course part of my job. I am required to manage controllable costs such as labour, maintenance and repair, utilities etc on a daily basis to achieve the budget forecasts for my store.
I have a responsibility to ensure my store is at all times legally compliant in areas such as employment law and food safety.
I am also responsible for the development and training of my managers and staff, a role I particularly enjoy as you get to see people reach potential and develop.
One of the things I like the most about my job is that very rarely are any two days exactly the same.
Any one day involves providing leadership and goals for your team. Interacting with both customers and staff. Ensuring the highest levels of customer expectations are met are the main objectives.
This could be anything from quality checks, working front line on customer service and of course cleanliness of the restaurant.
The job can be a highly pressured one with a lot of set objectives to realise and sometimes things do go wrong.
I feel most challenged by the fact that I can't do everything by myself to achieve these results, I have to achieve my results through others.
I am challenged in that I am also always learning and have the opportunity to up date my skills for example I completed a situational leadership course which challenged my views on how managers react to situations and that there are different approaches available.
The specific skills I think I have are good communication, people person, self motivated, hard working, leadership and the ability to adapt in a challenging environment.
I believe I enjoy my job because I enjoy interaction with people, I need to be challenged, I am results orientated and I like to develop and teach others. I also enjoy variety.
Whats cool - I enjoy the responsibility I have. I believe that even in the current climate that my job is secure.
The rewards and recognition I receive when I do well such as bonuses, trips abroad and evenings out.
It is cool to have the opportunity to further my education - I am currently completing a course through The National College of Ireland that recognises my work experience in management. Oh yes and my company car!
How some members of the public treat us and our staff.
Sometimes you have to get 'hands on' such as when a toilet may get blocked !!
Some very early mornings and some really late nights, working on weekends and Public holidays!
The perception of my job versus the reality of my job!
A good friend of mine Amy had just gone back to working for McDonald's and suggested I apply.
I completed an OJE over a 3 day period - (On Job Evaluation) which gave me the opportunity to see what the company was about and for the company to see if I was suitable.
I started in McDonald's as a Trainee manager in 2000 and remember being told if I was willing to put in the effort and hard work I would reap the reward.
In 2001 I had completed all my management development courses up to Store Manager Level and was promoted to Store Manager.
It was only with the responsibility and challenges and daily interaction of the staff and customers that I realized I had found my career.
I was never really sure what I wanted to do after school. I had I wide range of fanciful ideas like maybe a helicopter pilot though!
I matriculated (Leaving Cert) in 1994 in South Africa and committing to a university or college course would have been a huge financial commitment as third level education in South Africa requires long term student loans or very wealthy parents!
However, I was already working as a waitress part time with a large restaurant group and was offered a management position when I left school. I really enjoyed the work although it was long hours I did learn a lot about myself but only realized this later in my career.
After the birth of my daughter I couldn't maintain the long hours and did a variety of other jobs such as receptionist, internal computer sales and a corporate computer hardware sales rep.
The last computer company I worked for was a small business from which I was made redundant.
After this I was genuinely looking for a large company that would be able to offer me job security and benefits. This is how I came to work for McDonald's over 10 years ago.
I think I realised after a bit of job hopping that I needed some of the following things to ensure I was happy with my career choice: Variety, changing/challenging environment, interaction with people, learning, development and opportunity and recognition.
My daily interaction with many of my previous bosses and work colleagues all helped me to see what kind of a career direction I wanted to follow.
My best friend Amy ,who is a field services consultant for McDonald's, has been a big influence on my career path, as she encouraged me to apply for the job and has been a sounding board throughout my McDonald's career.
McDonald's at first most definitely covered my initial requirements of job security in addition the benefits such as health care and pension were very important to me as a parent.
My job has allowed me over time to progress and learn. I have travelled to Australia, England and Spain and of course it allowed me to come to Ireland were I am now settled.
The job affords flexibility in that I currently enjoy club netball twice a week and am studying part time through the National College of Ireland.
It also allows me time with my family.
Honestly, I was not all that school focused, I didn't really know what I wanted to do after I finished school.
I completed school in 1994 and most of my courses have been management development courses through the various companies I have worked for.
In hindsight I would have applied myself more in school and once I had realised that I enjoyed management and working with people I should have studied in this field.
I am lucky in that I have the opportunity now to have my work based experience recognised with the course I am doing through McDonald's and NCI that will result in a degree for me in the future.
After joining McDonald's in 2000 I was awarded Store Manager of The Year in 2002.
In 2004 I was recognised as a significant contributor at the Global McDonald's conference held in Australia attended by over 3500 store managers world wide.
This award recognised the top 1% of restaurant managers. I was very proud of this achievement. I am always very proud of any managers/staff that I have mentored or trained and developed when they are promoted and achieve recognition.
I think I am a people person, I can relate well to people. I am ambitious and so I am driven and hard working. I enjoy challenges and recognition. I am open to change and like a variety of tasks rather than a prescribed day!
On the negative side I am probably quite hard on myself and have high expectations of others.
Strong interpersonal skills
A good work ethic
Ability to be flexible and accept change as an inevitability.
My advice would be it is definitely a job where if you work hard and maintain your ambition you can have a satisfying career.
I think the biggest misconception is that McDonald's is only a job and stop gap to something else.
You will need patience, drive and commitment and be able to adapt to change. The skills you will learn with this job will be lifelong skills.
Interaction with the public. Any service based industry. Any fast paced environment
Team orientated work. Understanding customer expectations, probably most jobs within the retail/hospitality/services industries