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This week in our MHC Life series, we speak to Tax partner, Niamh Caffrey. Niamh talks us through some of her early jobs, her love of travel and taking up sea swimming.

What was your first job?

My first jobs were in hospitality, starting out as a lounge girl delivering drinks to customers and progressing to waitressing. I really enjoyed my temporary student jobs- it was an easy way to make money while having a laugh with your colleagues, enjoying the banter with customers and the kitchen (when the chefs weren't ticking you off about something!). So much so that during my last two college summers, I worked during the day in the control department of an investment bank and worked in the evenings at a nearby pub, pulling pints for the fun of it- it beat the day job every time!

Greatest benefits and challenges of WFH?

For me, a great benefit of WFH in terms of communicating is that video conferencing has replaced conference calls. It helps me easily distinguish who is saying what, at any given time, when you are new to a project. I still miss in person meetings and all the benefits of being in the office - you can't beat it for getting a proper sense of where things are at. For the moment though virtual platforms are working pretty well. It's also very beneficial that almost everyone in the firm has experienced WFH at the same time. A collective understanding of what works and doesn't work and why, is hugely positive.

On the downside, I would say that WFH can very easily become "living at work". The disappearance of the usual departure routine means it's all too easy to stay rooted to your desk, day and into the evening. So bringing a better discipline around this is important. On a positive note, I have taken up swimming in the forty foot during COVID (along with the masses!) so maybe a lunchtime swim in the winter would sort this problem out.

I have been binge watching a series called "The Bridge" during COVID. It's a Danish crime series that is sub-titled and quirky. Series 3 is currently being aired on BBC 4, Series 1& 2 were aired in the last few months. It's a compelling drama, great storylines and acting and is available to buy on DVD. Just try Series 1 and you could be addicted too!

What are you looking forward to most when normality returns?

Non-essential travel. For me a real break starts with getting on a plane and travelling to somewhere unfamiliar, ideally moving location at least once. I like planning where we will explore, must see and do things, local food and wine, all with a good guidebook.

I also love the feeling of disorientation for a few seconds as I walk through my house again and retrieve unopened post. This used to be a large pile of cards and letters but sadly, is now reduced to a smattering of statements and bills- but either way you know you are back home in the moment.

This year our holiday was different and although still very enjoyable like many I looking forward "getaways" and the return of the old order of airport chaos soonest.

Read about Niamh's recent appointment here.

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