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Did you know that best-selling crime author John Grisham was once a lawyer?

He wrote The Rainmaker between meetings and court hearings, and then The Firm, A Time to Kill and a whole host of other law-related crime books which became Hollywood blockbusters.

It makes sense that he wrote about what he knew, what fascinated him, what he cared about. And yet, his extreme success did not come from his legal training or even his ability to fight for justice for his clients. It came from his capacity to weave a narrative and to write so articulately - the law simply fuelled his inspiration.

Choosing a career can be tough and terrifying work. The pressure to get it right, to discover your gifts, to judge the jobs-market, to make money, to do what you enjoy; even Grisham would struggle to tie all these plot lines together.

The tools we used to choose careers 30 years ago, before constant technological innovation, offshoring, global dependencies, mass migration, remote working and a whole host of other features of the modern world existed, cannot be applied to today.

As a career coach, I would argue that there is no “safe” job anymore and there is no “perfect” career for anyone. Yet there is a direction that may suit a person more than another, a field that might allow for someone to play to their gifts, to make the best contribution they can make. That direction does not have an end-point, and the journey of career exploration is a constant state of learning, course correcting and acquiring different experiences and skills that allow for a unique offering to the world.

I work together with my clients to help them find this direction, to discern whether Due West would be more compatible with who they are than North, not to help them know whether they’ll hit America or the Spice Islands – the adventure is their own. The tools we use to orient the process are coaching and psychometrics; they tell us about the Strengths, Higher purpose, Interests, Non-negotiables and Environmental needs of a person – about their SHINE.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, had studied to become an engineer. He used engineering principles and thought processes to create the Kindle and the Amazon platform. In 2009 he gave a talk to engineering students at Princeton and he told them to try to figure out what they were interested in, not what they thought would make them money. “It’s very difficult to chase after a wave,” he said. "What’s better is to place yourself in the middle of something you genuinely love and wait for the wave to come find you."

If you or someone you know is at school or has recently finished and is trying to navigate their career journey, I am a chartered work and organisational psychologist and have been working with career seekers for over a decade. I’m based locally in Killarney so please reach out for a confidential chat

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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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