Sunday 4 December 2016

Change Your Job, Change your Life

Pat Fitzpatrick

Published 29/06/2015 | 02:30

Primary school teaching - you'll only get two months off during the summer
Primary school teaching - you'll only get two months off during the summer

Feel like your career needs a change in direction? Don't worry, there has never been a better time to storm into your boss's office and say 'I'm out of here'. The rise of new technologies, obesity, hipsters and property prices all mean that the time is right for you to break free from the grim grip of your nine-to-five. Here's a look at 10 of the most popular options out there for anyone planning to change their life with a new job

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Primary School Teaching

First things first. You don't want to become a secondary school teacher. That involves skills other than colouring-in and counting to 25. No, primary school is the way to go. Most of the kids aren't on drugs and they go home at lunchtime. It's not all positive. You will be expected to take part in some after-hours work and you mightn't get home until three o'clock. Worse again, you only get two months off over the summer to complain about it to anyone who will listen.

It can be tough when you first walk into that room full of snotty, restless gobshites, addled from too much sugar and television. But don't worry, you'll soon get the hang of parent-teacher meetings.

You should be aware that things have changed on the teacher front. The main one is that you will not be entitled to the same starting salary as older teachers, because you are an NQT. This stands for Newly Qualified Teacher, although it can also mean Ha Ha, You Are About Five Years Too Late. That's because your older colleagues allowed the Government to introduce inferior conditions for NQTs. Make sure to thank them when you meet in the staff room. That is, if they let you into the staff room.

By the way, there is a good chance that your union will organise a march to protest against this inequality, even though they negotiated the deal in the first place. Try not to think about this too much. It's very difficult to cope with a room full of kids goofed up on sugar when you've only had half an hour's sleep.

Life Coach

Looking for a lucrative, unregulated industry that doesn't seem to require any qualifications? Life coaching is your best option, now that the Germans are keeping an eye on the banks.

Life coaching can be defined as nodding intently at a disorganised person for an hour and then saying, "How would you like to pay?" There are some excellent, professional life coaches out there. The good news is, you don't have to be one of them. There are more than enough scatterbrained clients to go around.

The first step is some kind of qualification. We've done some research, and there are some basics you will need to get a Life Coaching Certificate. The main ones are a printer and an internet connection. A credit card will probably help, too.

There are a few things you should know before you set up shop. The first is that a lot of your clients are seeking help because they need a professional to sort out their chaotic lives. So be prepared for someone turning up three hours late in odd shoes, with a 45-minute excuse that can be boiled down to 'I locked myself out of the house'.

Secondly, you don't want to miss out on our obesity crisis. Or, as it's known in the coaching world, Kerching! The trick here is to describe yourself as a Life and Wellness Coach. You don't really need any extra qualifications. Just buy a tracksuit and a whistle so you look the part.

Finally, the most lucrative gigs are coaching senior executives. There is huge demand right now from the banking sector. You should develop a special module for this market called 'How To Say Sorry In Front Of A Dail Committee While Blaming Someone Else'.

Estate Agent

They never went away, you know. Well, loads of them did, to Australia. But they are back now to help us build a sustainable housing market going forward, says no one with any sense.

Five years ago, an estate agent's main challenge was to avoid wetting herself with laughter when a client said what he expected for his house. "400 grand?!! Whoops. I need to use your superb master bathroom, recently decorated to the highest standard." Now it's back to the glory years. That means the same old rules apply. Under no circumstances should you ever phone anyone back. And arriving on time for a viewing is a sign of weakness.

You can't just set up shop and declare yourself an estate agent. Come on, what do you think this is? 2005? The new regulations mean you'll need certain qualifications. It turns out that there is a three-year degree course, because it takes time to train people to say, "Now, if you'll follow me upstairs, I'll show you the rooms up there." A key module on your course is Applied Hyperbole. This is where you describe anything with a back garden as "a dead-ringer for the house in Gone with the Wind".

We recommend you focus on the Dublin rental market. The key skill here is the ability to say, "OK, this is the kitchen. It's also the bedroom and the jacks. It's on the market at four grand a month. Actually, make that five." Practise saying that into a megaphone. It can be hard to make yourself heard over a queue of 500 people saying, "That's pretty cheap for Mulhuddart".

A word of caution here. We're not for a moment suggesting that the booming property market is a bubble. But any wannabe estate agent might want to make plans to start their own cupcake business by 2020. In Australia. Just saying.

Working from Home

You'll have seen the signs around town. "I earn €800 an hour working from home. So can you." You won't see a bigger piece of bullshit up a lamppost, except maybe at election time. But that doesn't make it entirely wrong. A lot of people are making money from home these days. And some of them aren't even working in the sex industry.

There are obvious upsides to working from home. The main one for Irish people is that you don't have to face your workmates after the Christmas party. So no more skulking up the fire exit in an attempt to avoid hot Anika at reception. (You think she'd have mentioned that mooning is not, in fact, considered hilarious in Lithuania.)

Don't worry that you'll regret leaving the social side of the workplace, unless you think you're going to miss looking at Facebook all day in a room full of virtual strangers.

Working from home isn't all positive. Joining a five-hour conference call to discuss the finer points of product quality isn't easier just because you are in your pyjamas. And there isn't a lot to be said for watching The Jeremy Kyle Show just because you can. Unless you enjoy watching a slow lad called Lee taking a lie-detector test, while you eat breakfast. How many kids can one man have with different women? ("15," says Lee, making eyes at a girl in row three of the studio.)

Doing the job from home is no joke on the money front, unless you are the kind of person who enjoys chipping in to pay your boss's electricity bill. In which case, why not join our new start-up? You can be Junior Vice President for licking our boots.

Finally, there's the lack of a commute. Working from home means I can spend more time with my family, said no one who actually has kids. Sitting in rush-hour traffic is like a weekend spa break, compared to dinnertime with your chisellers. At least you can turn off George Hook.

Write your Novel

We'll start with the bad news. There was a time when writers were taken seriously in Ireland. They would often be consulted on matters of national importance, as if they knew something other than how to operate a typewriter after drinking a bottle of wine. Those days are gone. The only thing we ask writers for these days is a Big Mac with fries. Let's just say it's no way to make a living.

Or at least it's no way to make a living if you produce a classic Irish novel. That's where you wrote a book that involved a miserable person escaping small-town Ireland and finding a slightly better life abroad. Successive governments handed out grants for this kind of shite in the hope of getting people to emigrate. Anyway, that game is up. You'll need to write something with commercial appeal if you want to avoid the night-shift at McDonald's.

First things first. Porn is over. In fact, we expect a backlash. And we don't mean a bit of gentle flogging on the back because you are a Very Naughty Boy. Sorry if that's a disappointment.

Young-adult novels are one area where you can make a living these days. It would appear that the genre is basically Harry Potter with loads of rubbish sex. Hopefully you will make a lot of money writing soft porn for teenagers. Because you'll need some compensation for people thinking you're a bit of a creep.

Alternatively, you can take a look at the two best-selling novels in recent times - Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. Spot anything there? (If your answer is the title should start with a G, stick with the day job.) You need a book with a female narrator and the word 'girl' in the title. Better still would be a book where the word 'girl' appears twice. No problem. Set the thing in Cork and call it I'm a Girl, Girl.

Back to College

There is a notion in the States now that third-level education is, in fact, a bubble. Basically, there are too many people spending a fortune investing in their future, and most of them will just end up with massive debts. Obviously that does not apply to you, because you live in a country where we're programmed to ignore anyone who warns about a bubble. So let's all go back to college! What could possibly go wrong?!

Obviously, you are facing some difficult choices. The main one being, what does a mature student wear these days? You will feel the temptation to spend hours figuring out how to strike a balance between 'trying too hard' and "did you get your clothes from Ryan Tubridy?" Don't waste your time worrying about this. The other students are going to laugh at you anyway. You might as well just wear a tracksuit. At least that way they'll suspect you have ready-access to drugs and invite you to all the best parties.

It's hard to know what to study. You might need a good excuse to explain why you're still unemployed two years after graduating. We hear arts is still a great option on that front. Try journalism if you want to stretch that excuse out to five years.

Our personal recommendation is that you go back and do law. It's sexy because of The Good Wife syndrome. This TV show would have the world believe that lawyers are gorgeous, conscientious, funny people, despite all the evidence to the contrary. You will score quite often because of this syndrome. The other big advantage is you are lucky enough to live in a dodgy country that hates upsetting anyone in a suit. The result is a never-ending flow of tribunals. Or as they are known in the legal profession, early retirement. Go on, you're worth it.

The Restaurant

Fancy yourself as a chef? Be careful. The boom in new cafes and restaurants here is linked to the fact that over 60pc of the population is now chemically addicted to prosecco. Here is how that works. You serve spag bol to a dinner party of people off their tits on fizzy white wine. They say, "That is amazing, babes, you should totes open a restaurant". You take that on board and ignore the fact that, five minutes later, every single one of them is face-planted on the table. Bye, bye, all your money.

Some say the safest bet these days is to open an Asian Street Food restaurant. In case you don't know, Asian Street Food is the answer to the question, 'How do I get people to pay 15 quid for a plate of noodles (other than saying it's for charity)?' We reckon you are too late to catch the Asian Street Food madness. Our guess is that it will go faster than a Bangkok curry through a backpacker from Ballina.

The hot new trend in the States right now is toast. Seriously, it is. We're not talking about the white triangles that are delivered to your table in a B&B by a cheerful woman saying, "Now!". No, this is artisan toast. Which means that it is lovingly created in small batches by passionate local producers. Or someone with a nice redundancy package who said, "Jesus, what could be so difficult about toast?"

Not much, as long as you set up shop in the right area. You will need a ready supply of gullible hipsters (as if there's any other kind). The best way to check an area is the Hipster Drive-By Test. Drive down a street. Count the number of bearded men in grandfather shirts. Any more than three, and you're looking at a cafe called Toast. Better still, give it the Irish name, Tosta. That should be enough to get you a grant.

Social Media Consultant

You mean like someone who is on Facebook all the time? Yes, but keep it to yourself. There are loads of small businesses out there fretting because they don't have a presence on social media. Or, as it's also known, d'aul Twitter. Their ignorance is bliss. For you.

You'll need a load of Irish followers on Facebook and Twitter, to show your client base that you know how it's done. The trick here is to avoid posting sugary motivational quotations like, "Never forget that you are wonderful". That's grand for people in California, who are all on very strong medication. But these upbeat messages make most Irish people feel like crying. Stick to the negative side of things. Start with, "Things could be worse" and take it from there.

It's important that you talk the talk if you want to sound like a social-media expert. The key here is to use incredibly smug, lefty sentences that sound like they are coming from a teenager. They should start with the word 'so' and end with 'that's all'. Here is an example. "So, Barack Obama. That's all."

You should use the word 'viral' at least once every minute. That's catnip these days for anyone who likes free advertising. Obviously, there is no formula for a viral video, but it helps if you have a Chinese child singing a song from Frozen. How you make that relevant to a client selling garden furniture in Clonmel is up to you.

There is one big problem with social media. It doesn't work for a lot of small businesses. Unless their mission statement reads, "Our aim is to help Mark Zuckerberg buy a massive gold house". The key here is to tell the client that they've been using the wrong platform all along. Keep it nice and simple. "So, Instagram. That's all." Then hand them a bill while you're ahead. "So. Five grand. That's all." Look at you, forging a new career.

Happy Hairdresser

Yes, hairdresser. It regularly comes out on top in the City & Guilds Career Happiness Index.

The Happy Hairdresser thing makes sense for two reasons. The first one is job security. David McWilliams is forever telling us that most jobs are under threat from cheap services delivered over the internet. It's fair to say that hairdressing isn't one of them. There's a bit to go yet before they develop a set of robotic hands operated by a child in Bangladesh. Particularly one who can ask if you are going anywhere nice for your holidays and resist saying, "Jesus, not you as well" when the answer is Lanzarote.

The second advantage of being a hairdresser is demographics. Advances in modern medicine means that women will shortly need hairdos until the age of 120. Men won't have any hair left at that stage, but they'll still want to get away from their wives, who they will call "that crazy old bag" once they are safely in the door of the barber's. Think about the massive surge in demand.

On that point, it might be worth opening a barber shop for the lads. Gone are the days when the only thing an Irish man would say to his barber was, "Tidy it up a bit, I'm going out on the piss tonight". You only have to look at young role models like Niall Horan and Jack Grealish to realise that it's cool these days to have what's known as a hairstyle. You can charge extra for that.

That's not the only way that you will be in tune with the zeitgeist. There is a strong sense out there now that the hipsters might never go away.

Far from being a fad, hipsterism is actually a step in the evolution of mankind. That cartoon drawing showing the progress from ape, through Neanderthal to Homo sapiens will shortly have a new guy at the end, drinking a pale ale on his grandad's bicycle. Stop and think for a moment about the repeat revenue from all those beard trims. You won't just be calling your place The Golden Scissors. You'll be able to afford them.

Tour Guide

The euro is like Monopoly money these days compared to the dollar. If you think that is going to change any time soon, then you obviously think Greece is a musical. A weak euro can only mean one thing. Yanks. Loads of them.

There is a notion now that the modern American tourist has no interest in outdated Hollywood notions about the old country. "Too-rah loo", sings you at the front of the bus, not taking any chances when looking for tips. Make sure that they don't offload their worthless euros on you before getting back on the plane. A gentle threat that you're well in with the little people should do the trick. The Yanks are still a bit nervous on that front.

You should also tap into the Camino craze. If you think Camino is the nickname of a footballer with the surname Camin, you might want to look for a career outside tourism. It is, in fact, a vacation taken by people who believe the solution to their mid-life crisis is to abandon their family and go for a long walk in northern Spain.

Here is our three-step guide on how to cash in on the Camino.

1. Invent an 'ancient' route near your house. If you think a completely invented route could never catch on, you have obviously never been stuck in a traffic jam on the Wild Atlantic Way. 2. Give your route a spiritual dimension by calling it The Monk's Way. The golden rule of branding is 'Monk, Good; Priest, Bad'. 3. Put a lot of photos of hot young Scandinavian ladies in your brochure. Come on, you don't seriously think all those middle-aged men are trekking across Spain for the scenery?

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