One Ballinrobe man "let go his fear and practices what he preaches"

Photo:A Barton bus much used by western students etc!

A Barton bus much used by western students etc!


Photo:Brings back memories!

Brings back memories!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'One Ballinrobe man
Photo:Is that the Western People?

Is that the Western People?

By Mark Jenkins - urban street art.

Photo:The "man himself"

The "man himself"

Action speaks "louder than any words" particularly for this Ballinrobe man!

Taken from:

I’m back in college after 26 years – and I’m not alone

TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO, when I first went to college – proper college, straight-from-Leaving-Cert – I travelled ‘up’ to Dublin on Barton’s Bus.

It was three-to-a-room in our basement flat on Leinster Road, Rathmines, a figure that swelled to four when a Carlow friend decided to bunk over, as he did two or three nights a week. Though he never paid rent for the privilege of sleeping on cushions at the end of the three single beds, he did supply us with eggs from the farm where he worked at the weekends.

For communications with the outside world, we relied on a coin-phone housed in a hatch: the people in the next flat also had a hatch at their end leading to the same phone. We never got to know them bar the occasional clash of hands as we reached for the phone at the same time.

I studied journalism at the College of Commerce down the road. In the main room where we did our work, we used typewriters to bang out our stellar prose.

Our class produced Rocket News, which meant that one morning a week you had to rise at an unfeasibly early hour, repair to college to scour the newspapers for stories, reduce them to digestible snippets on the typewriters, and carefully Pritt-stick them onto the master page which would, in turn, be copied so that breakfast visitors to the canteen could get a free read of the news of the day.

At the end of first year, I bagged a job in the Western People newspaper and decided that a bird in the hand trumped any amount in the bush, and never returned for second year.

All of this came back to me recently as I found myself back in college for the first time in 25 years.

There are times when you saunter through life, not really taking much notice of the changing scenery and the background music: and there are times when events promote deep reflection and introspection.

The journey back to college – in my own car; are Barton’s even running these days? – was one such occasion.

How did I arrive here? Age 43, back in college, albeit on a part-time basis, but back in college nonetheless.

It got me thinking about how this is genuinely the era of change in Ireland. Through my work, running a career training company, I meet people in the vanguard of change, from stonemason to software programmer, shopkeeper to special needs assistant, salesperson to counsellor.

People who lose their jobs or businesses often encounter a state of shock

It is a stunningly dramatic re-ordering of what our people do. The survey I would like to see carried out is the employment (or, indeed, unemployment) changes people will have gone through between 2007 and 2017. Take 500 random people in 2007, and see where they are in 2017: I have little doubt but that the vast majority will have changed sectors at least once, and jobs or businesses even more regularly.

My view is that the pace of adaptation is crucial. People who lose their jobs, or see their business run out of puff, often encounter a state of shock. It’s like the ground has been blown out from under them: they experience embarrassment, anger, inadequacy, fear and many other emotions.

They struggle to even contemplate their next move. It looks as if all doors are closed in their face. Many lash out in various directions.

Some also start to believe the ageist commentary so prevalent in our public discussion: I’ve worked with people who ask me if they are too old. And they’re only 45!

When are you too old to start a new job, change sector, or go back to college? In my view, only when you believe you are. For some people, the admission that dramatic change is needed can be the most difficult step of all: but once they cross that rubicon, they flourish.

A client recently spoke about closing down the family business, after he had run it for 25 years. The business had been in the family for two previous generations. “I didn’t feel like I was letting the family down,” he said, “and, in fact, it was the best decision I made in recent times.

“It took pressure off me and gave me fresh air again. I have gone back to college. I have got myself physically fit again. I am optimistic about the future, exploring a few possible openings, and, out of the trauma of closing business, new opportunities have emerged.”

It’s an excellent attitude in this era of change. And, no, he hasn’t got bundles of cash in his back pocket either, but he’s making his way as best he can – and that’s all anyone can do when dealing with the kind of challenge so many are facing all over Ireland right now.

Ballinrobe man Liam Horan is a student on the Adult Guidance, Theory and Practice course at NUI Maynooth. He runs, a career training company providing CV preparation, interview training, mock interview and personal profiling services.


This page was added by Averil Staunton on 07/11/2011.