My 35th Anniversary in Travel

Cathy Burke

I was having a clear out at home recently and I came across the letter confirming my employment at my first ever job in the travel industry. To say this discovery has made me feel a little old is an understatement.


The job was at Noel Martin Travel on Abbey Street in Dublin, where Abbey Travel now is. The letter which was date 12th June 1978, confirmed my appointment as a shorthand/typist for the princely sum of £25 per week. I have to admit that I will never forget the pride and joy I felt on my first day.


Finding the letter reminded me how, imminently, I will be celebrating 35 years working in this very special business of ours. I could write many columns about the intervening years, my experiencesand how things have changed; ah... the good old days! And yes, I know, many of you weren't even born when I started my career in travel.


The biggest change I've experienced has got to be technology. I won't even begin to describe my excitement at using my first Golfball electric typewriter or how years later I told the technician from Galileo who came to install our new computer systems, "those mice will never take off"!


I literally grew up in travel and the best advice I can give to anyone who loves travel, is passionate about selling and customer service is "you can be whatever you want to be". Don't let anything or anyone hold you back from what you feel you can achieve.


Over the years, I've been asked if there is a 'glass ceiling' for women in the travel indsutry. While I don't think there are more opportunities for men, I believe that for women who may be juggling work with home and family life, those opportunities are often harder to pursue. That's why it's heartening to see so many women choosing life in the travel industry and loving it and why I believe that the importance of coaching and mentoring women should be recognised by more in the industry. I'd like to share a tip for success this month; that is to "think positively and to spend time with winners"!


Listening to the news and depressing talk shows can sometimes drag you down; instead I tune out of those TC and radio channels and I seek out good news and positive people, and it has a big impact on my mood and productivity.


Does anyone remember the nightclub in North Dublin that always played Monty Python's 'always look on the bright side of life' at the end of the night instead of the national anthem? Answers on a postcard please!


I'll be celebrating 35 years in travel in the same way that I have celebrated most things in my life - by booking a holiday abroad. So later this year we'll be off to the west coast of USA - let the planning commence.


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