What you do if you weren't doing your current job?

What you do if you weren’t doing your current job? While we all harbour dreams of running a magically profitable coffeeshop, working only 3 hours a day, what would you really do if you wanted a change of career?

If I wasn’t in IT , I’d be in Finance, on the basis of …

  • My original degree is in Business (with French). Somehow I got seduced into IT (you don’t hear that very often).
  • Both Finance and IT require their own set of knowledge and expertise. Once you’ve acquired that expertise, the work can be quite profitable, as not everybody can do it.
  • Both are quite strong employment areas within Ireland, with the IFSC being one of the easiest parts of Dublin to get to from Drogheda (think Trains).

Sadly (but very sanely), neither Finance nor IT is considered ‘sexy’. There again, you can’t have everything. They’re both quite hard to explain to your Mum – as far as she’s concerned , I work ‘in computers’. This is akin to lumping Salesmen , Mechanics, road sweepers and Michael Schumacher in a category ‘something to do with cars’.

However , this lead-in does explain the contents of the ‘what’s Paul Reading?’ list. All links are to Amazon. I’d recommend all the books with the exception of the last one – it was written by a newspaper journalist and the slightly jingoistic style reflects this.

  1. Economist : The City – a guide to London’s Global Financial Centre
  2. Freakonomics
  3. Java security
  4. How the City Really works


  1. Now listen up young man!

    So you think
    “Sadly (but very sanely), neither Finance nor IT is considered ’sexy’. There again, you can’t have everything. They’re both quite hard to explain to your Mum”….

    Remember this mum uses Skype – think Drogheda Train – I know all about computers. Sure they are just boxes with wires in and a plug you put in the wall! Easy peasy! 😉

  2. Me? I’d open a full multimedia facility heavily based around sound and film…. actually still likely to do that at some stage.

    That or I’d take up sending pranks in the post to people, you know the kind I’m on about?

  3. @Grannymar – I have the highest respect for my Mum’s IT skills – she teaches Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, a job that she only took up in her 50’s. But she still doesn’t know what I do. And she doesn’t blog, so you have one over on her there 🙂

    As part of an Enterprise Ireland backed startup scheme, we got training on how to present what we do (mainly IT/Technical). It’s taken me 4 years to condense it down to ‘we build the ugly bits of websites’.

    @Ken – If you’re not going to drink the can, You could always start a blogmeme with it. I’d recommend handing it over in person as An Post charges Eur 3.45 for sending a 330ml Guinness via normal delivery.

  4. Well I think IT is way sexier than finance. You yourself say you got seduced into IT? There must be more to that story…

    My mum knows nothing about IT but she is happy to now be able to tell everyone that I work for an Irish company (she is Irish). That changes the subject quickly onto how often do I get to go to Ireland, who have I visited, why haven’t I gone to see so and so …

  5. Deb,

    Sadly it was seduced by the money (although given that I more than a bit of a geek at heart , it wasn’t *that* much money).

    In a bizarre co-incidence , I have a post queued up involving your blog, Yahoo pipes , and a couple of other Iona heads. Just need a couple of spare minutes to get images working on MediaWiki to put it out there ….


  6. Aww that’s too bad (about the money that is)…

    That is a weird coincidence about the blog/IONA post but not a bad one at least :).


  7. “Sadly (but very sanely), neither Finance nor IT is considered ’sexy’. ”

    – I think most are cool with that, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Plenty of “IT” people dress and live very very well. And Paul is sexy ! Look at that sultry photo at the top right !

    Perhaps we need Ally McBeal type shows on TV, which show some XP development team, fully of quirky neurotic girls in short-ish skirts. Just an idea, good luck pitching it !

  8. Michael,

    Should I be happy about the kind words, or disturbed that you find geeks in suits sexy ? 🙂

    You’re right that IT is a ‘hidden secret’ – after that 2001 crash, all that mummies discouraged their kids from doing IT courses, and went into property development instead.

    I’ll give you writers credit when the Ally McBeal show is launched – means that you can avail of 0% tax here in Ireland.


  9. I had a good friend who worked at a high tech interactive media company in Sydney, where at least 50% of the geeks there, were gay – he himself is not, but he said it was one of the most up market offices he had ever worked in. The guys pretty much matched the stereotype very well groomed and dressed, with expensive tastes, living in expensive parts of the city, yet were still geeks.

    Its all about perception really. If people want to see me the stereotype way, it doesn’t bother me, in fact I kind of enjoy it because people are constantly suprised that you can speak publicly, clearly and eloquently.

    I would say many of the “alpha geeks” I know are well educated, with good tastes – I think without the steretype geeks like that would be intimidating to the “mainstream” – well paid, well spoken and well educated, so they get pigeon holed as nerds.

    I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as well dressed most of the time, but I do like the finer things in life.

    And, after all, it could be worse: “what do accountants use as contraceptives – their personality !” etc etc…

    peace !

  10. Sorry Paul, but the law changed for writers. Only your first quarter of a million a year is tax free.

    Of course if I had a quarter of a million a year (index linked of course) …

  11. I’m trying to balance my art career with my web marketing career. The art is the longer term goal though somehow I think the web marketing is gonna come in rather handy.

    Just about to start into a new art project in fact – And it’s going to be in the form of a blog!

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