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 Brian Cadigan from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:
Don't just go into teaching because you are looking for long holidays. To teach everyday you need to like children, be very patient and understanding. However I feel it is one of the most rewarding jobs out there.
What are your interests?
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.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
In school I took English, Irish, Maths, French, Biology, Economics and Business. The fact that I enjoyed economics in school led me to the choice of my degree.
Luckily by taking what started out as a general degree I was able to figure out that what I liked about economics was being able to pose questions and look for solutions; the critical thinking component, rather than the content was actually the part that appealed most to me.
Through exposure to a variety of subjects in my first year in college I was in a much better position to chose the subjects that I wanted to specialise in.
Choosing to specialise in business and sociology worked well for me; the business component gave me a marketable knowledge base and skill set, while the sociology component encouraged me to think critically and introduced me to research skills.
I wouldn't do anything differently. It was great to be in a course where the classes got smaller as I progressed through, so I got a lot of guidance as I stumbled forward!
Choosing a specialised degree wouldn't have been a good choice for me at the time - I'm still amazed when I think of my friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do as they left school.
The biggest thing I learnt through my degree was that I had developed a skill set that I could use in a variety of ways. Having a degree in a specific area doesn't limit you to that for life!