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!


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.
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My Life as a Female Butcher

"When I tell people what I do, their reactions differ. The men in the industry think it's a novelty that I'm a girl. They're just so proud that any young person still wants to learn the trade.", Amelia Watts, Apprentice Butcher 

One Saturday, after a long day breaking down animal carcasses, I changed into my street clothes and bundled into a cab, before the driver asked: “Been buying lamb?” I didn't like to tell him that smell was me.

The smell was clinging to my skin and hair, despite having spent the day covered up in overalls and a hat. That was a shock – it's safe to say I haven't gone out straight from work since.

I have always loved food, but being a chef seemed so anti-social, and I wanted to be more involved in where the food came from. I had a bit of experience of unusual meat from my other interest, historical re-enacting, so I knew the blood and guts didn't bother me. It's fascinating seeing where the different cuts of meat come from, like doing a big reverse jigsaw puzzle.

When I first became a female butcher, I underestimated how physical it was going to be. I have to handle huge pieces of meat, like an entire side of pig, which is kept at such a low temperature that your bones ache and your hands throb with the cold. It can make working with very sharp knives pretty dangerous.

Your shoulders also hurt from lifting and I've made so many sausages in a day it gave me a crick in my back. Having said that, I do enjoy it (!) – there aren't too many jobs where you find yourself physically exhausted at the end of each day.

As a result, the sleeves of my T-shirts are starting to feel tighter, particularly on the sausage-making side of my body. It makes me a bit self-conscious on a night out. I'm a girlie girl, so having one big bicep isn't ideal. But I never want to be as exhausted as I was in my first week, so I try to see my new strength as a good thing. I could beat most of the men I know in an arm wrestle.

When I tell people what I do, their reactions differ. The men in the industry think it's a novelty that I'm a girl. They're just so proud that any young person still wants to learn the trade. Other guys I've told think it's cool – especially my boyfriend. It's only really a minority of people who turn their noses up at the gore.

Not everyone would care for the uniform either – overalls, hair back, no nail polish or perfume thanks to environmental health. But I do wear some make-up to work – no one needs to see my bare face at 6am.

My biggest fear is getting something wrong and ruining someone's Christmas dinner. In this job, if you get it right and sell a perfect cut of meat, you could make a family's Christmas Day. That’s what it’s all about.

Amelia Watts speaking to Tory Frost ~ The Telegraph 

Article by: Tory Frost