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 Caroline Austin from Irish Tax Institute to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Caroline Austin

Associate Tax Lawyer

Irish Tax Institute

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  Caroline Austin
A common misconception about a career in tax is that it is just about numbers, however, tax law has a strong basis in legislation and case law. Therefore, it is really suitable for graduates from a legal background, or for qualified solicitors and barristers.
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Politician

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Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

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A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an engineer must complete four years of college and work for several years in engineering to be considered qualified.

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At a Glance... header image

Democratically elected by the public to represent the views, concerns and ideas of the members of a constituency.


The Work header image

Politicians work either independently or for a political party, representing the views, interests and concerns of their local population at local, national or European Union level. They may also contribute to forming and putting into practice party policy, for example, on social, economic, domestic and foreign policy issues. Local people in specified areas (constituencies) elect politicians.  
 
In a democracy, the people elect politicians to represent them in government, to act on their behalf and to protect their interests. People expect politicians to care deeply about the social, economic, domestic and foreign policy issues that affect them. Politicians may represent their local areas (constituencies) in the Dáil. Politicians also represent the interests of their constituencies in the European Parliament.  
 
Members of the Dáil (TDs) divide their time between helping people in their constituencies and taking part in central government.  
 
Politicians run open sessions (called surgeries) at set times, which are open to everyone who lives in their constituency. People can go to a surgery to discuss the issues that concern them. Some people may be very angry or upset by a particular issue, so the politician must listen carefully and ask the right questions to find out how best to help them. Sometimes politicians cannot solve a problem at the constituency. They may ask a political researcher to find out more about an individual's case, which may take a long time to resolve. The politician may even raise the case at a government meeting.  
 
To solve a problem, or to prevent it happening again, politicians may work closely with representatives from the local authority and the police. They may hold meetings to discuss the issues and see what they can do to help people.  
 
We are used to seeing televised sessions of the Dáil, where politicians get the chance to debate important issues and propose changes to the law. This exchange of views is very healthy in a democracy; it can also be very lively, with politicians from opposing parties attacking each other's policies and asking difficult questions. The media may interview some politicians, especially if they hold important positions in the Government or opposition parties. They also appear on the news or other television programmes to answer questions from the audience. &n 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Analyze and understand the local and national implications of proposed legislation.

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Appoint nominees to leadership posts, or approve such appointments.

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Confer with colleagues to formulate positions and strategies pertaining to pending issues.

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Debate the merits of proposals and bill amendments during floor sessions, following the appropriate rules of procedure.

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Develop expertise in subject matters related to committee assignments.

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Hear testimony from constituents, representatives of interest groups, board and commission members, and others with an interest in bills or issues under consideration.

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Keep abreast of the issues affecting constituents by making personal visits and phone calls, reading local newspapers, and viewing or listening to local broadcasts.

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Maintain knowledge of relevant national and international current events.

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Make decisions that balance the perspectives of private citizens, public officials, and party leaders.

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Negotiate with colleagues or members of other political parties in order to reconcile differing interests, and to create policies and agreements.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

To be a politician, you should be committed to helping people, and to representing the interests of the people who elected you. This means working hard to stay in touch with people's problems, needs and wishes in your constituency.  
 
You'll need very strong communication skills, to explain your ideas and your party or council's policies clearly and concisely to others. You should also have good listening skills, for example, to find out about people's problems during open (surgery) sessions in the constituency. You'll need lots of confidence and you must be assertive - some politicians speak to large crowds of people, or appear on television programmes to answer interview questions.  
 
Politicians must be quick thinkers, able to spot a weakness in their opponent's argument and exploit it with a difficult question or challenging remark. However, the flip side of this is that you must be resilient and able to cope with criticism yourself; sometimes you may have to deal with angry protests.  
 
As a politician, you will have a very responsible role in society; you'll be in a very powerful position. However, no matter how powerful you become, you must remember that it is the people who elect politicians and therefore allow them to have this power. As a result, people have strong expectations about the way that a politician should behave. You have to think carefully about your lifestyle, and be prepared for strong interest from the media.  
 
In contrast, you must also be able to make tough decisions - even ones that might not be popular with the public - if you believe that a policy is best in the long term.


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Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Public Appointments Service
  Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Civil & Public Service, Local Government, Politics & EU

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