‘I cannot stress how important it is for you to join a union’
My Career Path: Fionn Rogan works with the Central Bank of Ireland
Fionn Rogan: What attracted me to the Central Bank of Ireland was ’Public Service’
What did you study and when did you graduate?
In 2016, I left Trinity with a BA in English Literature & History - so after four years I was fluent in English and had a few dodgy facts about soldiers from Kildare in WW1 in my back pocket.
This week, I’m heading back to college again - I’m incredibly lucky, the Central Bank is sending me to King’s Inn to pursue a Diploma in Legal Studies.
What attracted you to your current role?
What attracted me to the Central Bank of Ireland was “Public Service”. My clients, customers, patrons - whatever term you prefer - are the people of Ireland. While it’s rarely my work alone that makes the difference in their lives, I know each email I send, spreadsheet I update, presentation I give is undertaken in service of them - and as a result, each Friday, I get that warm satisfied feeling that my efforts this week contributed towards something worthwhile.
What did you find most challenging about the working world?
I started working when I was 15, and worked throughout college so initially I found the transition to the ‘working world’ from education was a relief because for the first time I was able to focus on doing just one thing. I got free time back.
One thing to be aware of though, for new grads coming out - the first few years after college can feel like a liminal space. Little is defined. Structures - lecture timetables, term dates, exams…etc. - are changed utterly. You may suddenly be surprised to realise that a year is 365 days long and you now have just 22 days annual leave to call your own.
You can’t really prepare for it but be aware that some temporal adjustment may be required. It does settle down though.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what is their value to you?
A few - in different spaces, and their value is immense. The mentors which emerge naturally are particularly important - borne of an easy rapport and mutual respect.
One mentor in the Central Bank has been a huge support over the last year - someone to bounce ideas off, trial observations, pick up the implicit rules of the group. They’ve ensured I’m included in projects, given chances to develop, and have even gone to bat to secure opportunities for me.
Most importantly, the relationship works both ways - and alongside being mentor and mentee they’re someone to chat to in the office, a colleague you trust.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned since you joined the workforce?
It’s never just work.
My Dad was fairly senior in the public service and used to take a lot of difficult phone calls - week-day and weekend - in the car as he was driving around the country. Often I’d be in the car with him, silent and privy.
What struck me about these conversations - if it was a ten minute call, five minutes would be given to discussing the topic at hand, and no doubt it could become heated or tense, but the final five minutes would have nothing to do with work - ‘how are you getting on otherwise - so and so’s father came out of the hospital last week, all grand …etc..’
My Dad showed me that work is never just work - through the course of your working life you will spend an inordinate amount of time with your colleagues, and life is just that little bit more pleasant if you can create a genuine connection with them.
It’s not difficult to put into practice.
What is one piece of advice you would offer new graduates?
Join a Union. The Central Bank of Ireland is an incredible place to work. It is one of the first times I’ve ever been happy in a job. I trust the people in the Central Bank of Ireland. A large part of that is down to an active Union that engages with management on behalf of its members.
If you’re joining the workforce, you’re joining an environment that has been shaped by the workers that have gone before you - the benefits you will enjoy have been secured through discussions between management and employee representatives.
I cannot stress how important it is for you to join a union as a new member of the workforce. The way has been paved for you, and you now have responsibility to take up the mantle.
How has Covid-19 affected you/your working life?
It is a mark of privilege and I recognise that - but I’ve had a very pleasant working experience through the pandemic. Early on, I was reclassified as Critical Bank Staff so since May have been working between the office and home. I’ve been involved in some really interesting projects involving the organisation’s response to Covid-19.
At home, I work from a Yoga mat in front of my house - despite the generous offer of a chair & monitor from the Central Bank - and am honestly delighted with my new set up.