How Being Irish Can Help You in Your Career

Irish Career

Disclaimer: There is no mention of borders or any other controversial words beginning with ‘B’ in this blog post. 

The inspiration for this post came from an article I saw retweeted by Glamour US Editor-In-Chief, Samantha Barry. The article was documenting an event that was held with Samantha herself in Dublin where she spoke to a group of young female professionals giving advice and answering questions.

One of the topics she spoke about was how being Irish actually helped her in her career. This especially piqued my interest and I’m going to share some of her opinions as well as a few of my own. If you wish to read the original article, you can find it here.

If anything, I always thought being Irish in the working world (especially when not based in Ireland) would have me at a disadvantage. Especially with an accent from outside Belfast like mine. From the recent New York Times accent quiz, even after living in England for four years, my dialect hasn’t changed one bit.

I remember at the assessment centre for Coty, I was the only non-English in the room and most of them were from south of Bath. I immediately felt at a disadvantage as I didn’t quite have the posh-sounding tone of those around me. However, I thought to use it to my advantage as I was sure they would remember me as ‘the Irish one’ and at least I’d be memorable in some way.

So what is it about the Irish that make us stellar employees?

We’re natural storytellers

The Irish have the gift of the gab and we can basically worm our way out of any situation. Our storytelling skills come in useful for writing, making presentations or trying to buy ourselves time. If we have to think on our feet, we’ll usually pull something quite unique out of the bag.

When we’re good at telling stories, people tend to keep listening to us and hang on the end of our words – when they can understand us, of course. Our story-telling skills can compliment our writing skills and the two fit very much hand-in-hand. Irish folklore is a strong tradition in Ireland, as well as stories of Celtic history and of course political history. We’re told stories from a young age and it may be where we gain this skill.

Any awkward, dead air can usually be filled with an Irish person saying something like, “You’ll never believe what happened to John’s brother’s wife’s friend’s cattle the other day!”

We’re very level-headed

We’re not about making a fuss. You’ll find the Irish are very laid back, so won’t make brash decisions and can usually see things from both sides of an argument (not referring to the politicians of the north here). Most things are met with ‘it’ll be grand’ and they can usually persuade overly anxious people that things will be just fine and that we’re on top of everything.

I think we have a calming effect as most people seem to be at ease when they are around us. When you think of Irish celebrities like Cillian Murphy, Bob Geldof, Westlife, Bono – you could just imagine how at ease you would feel in their presence, right? Now imagine them in a crisis situation. They’d be a great asset to have as they wouldn’t immediately panic.

It’s the Irish charm I guess, but most of us have that Irish twinkle in our eyes. I’ve always said you can tell whether someone is Irish by their eyes and I haven’t been proven wrong yet! We’re also the nicest people you’ll ever come across and know just about everyone. The cliché that we have about one hundred cousins is actually true.

We get away with more than the average person

It’s the accent – you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if we cursed, would you? Adding in a ‘wee’ here and there or a ‘flipping’ just has a nicer ring to it than actual cursing, doesn’t it? It’s not as brash and a few ‘you wee flipping eejit’ doesn’t sound as offensive when it’s coming from an Irish person.

In my humble opinion, the southern Irish accent is the nicest on the ear. Roughly around the midlands of Ireland as Cork is quite hard to understand and Dublin is the Belfast of the south I would say. I’m not a fan of my own accent, and it took around two weeks before the other interns in London started to understand what I was saying, so I do think at times, it puts me at a disadvantage and in certain situations I stay quiet and don’t speak up, afraid that someone will ask me to repeat myself. Most of the time I’m fully prepared to repeat myself even before the person asks.

We like to be social

Everyone knows the Irish like their alcohol, so you can always expect us to be up for a few drinks after work, or on any occasion really. This also means that we can usually hold our drink better than the average person (not actually true) and won’t embarrass ourselves at the office party or important social events.

A lot of us are very outgoing, and usually when away from home, as soon as the ear picks up a fellow Irish accent in the vicinity, it’s instilled in us to shout ‘so, where ye from?’ and more often than not, we’ll have a mutual friend. It’s a very small place, Ireland. We all just seem to find each other and bond over our Irishness when not in Ireland.

An Irish person usually brings a lot of craic and fun to a team/business and you’ll notice they aren’t afraid to talk to new people or get stuck into anything social happening in or out of the office.

I’ve learnt to stop thinking about my Irish accent as being a disadvantage outside of Ireland and instead, use it to my advantage when I can. If anything, having a Lurgan accent like mine brightens up any office, especially when I’m repeating the same sentence over and over again as no one can understand me. Along with the occasional ‘Whaa?’ thrown in for good measure.

We’re bloody hard workers and proud to be Irish. Slainté. 

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