A perfect job
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There is a speaking club lesson based on this podcast! Join the club to practise using some of the language from this episode.
Hello and welcome to Learn English Vocabulary. My name is Jack and I’m making this podcast for you to learn or revise English vocabulary. You can find a transcript of this podcast on LearnEnglishVocabulary.co.uk. There’s a page for this podcast with the transcript, an activity and a task for you to do in the comments section.
Today, I want to continue with some more vocabulary from B2 to C1 related to work. I want to talk about the perfect job. What’s your perfect job?
My son told me that he wants to be a zoo keeper. I wanted to be a zoo keeper when I was a child, but there was no zoo in my home town when I left school and by then, it didn’t seem like a good choice.
So I said to my son, if you want to be a zoo keeper, you will not earn a lot of money, but if you enjoy your work, you will probably be happier than if you have a job that pays well that you don’t enjoy.
So that made me think about this podcast and what would be the perfect job, for me, or for you guys. What’s the most important thing, salary, holiday or doing something that you love. So in this podcast, I thought I would explore the topic with five questions about work. I’m going to try to answer these questions and I’ll use lots of work and job related vocabulary as I go. I will try to explain the most important words.
Later, you can have a go at answering these questions in the speaking club. This is a new part of the Learn English Vocabulary website that you have to sign up for to join in. If you sign up, you’ll be able to complete a speaking lesson based on the podcasts that I publish each week.
OK let’s get started.
Question 1: What industry would you like to work in?
OK – so what industry would I like to work in. Another way of saying this is what job sector would you like to work in. I work in education and also in the media I guess with this podcast. I used to work in the leisure industry and also in hospitality when I worked in a social club. For a while, I worked in construction, though that was only for a few weekends when I was at school. IT and internet development pays well. If you have programming skills in the UK, you can earn a good salary, but the work can be quite boring. I don’t think I could work in healthcare. I have lots of respect for people who do, but I think I would find it too stressful. I don’t know – I would enjoy working for an environmental company, especially if it meant I got to travel and survey natural attractions. I’m really not sure. I think I’ll stick to education.
There are lots of special words we use to talk about industries or job-sectors. I’m going to put an activity on the page for this website with some job titles that you will have to select the right industry for.
Right now, I want to look at three that are the most common. The hospitality industry is a really broad sector that includes hotels, restaurants, theme parks, pubs, bars and events planning. It’s an interesting word because it has the word hospital in it. In the past, hospitals were like hotels today and not really for sick people which is why we say hospitality.
If you work in the manufacturing industry, you work for any business that makes things. Well, not buildings or cars as they have their own industries, but anything else. Or food – not food and drink, but anything else.
One of the fastest growing industries is Information technology or IT. This sector normally includes jobs that create software and support internet services. If you help people with their computers then you also work in IT.
In the speaking lesson, the first task will be for you to decide between specific industries.
Question 2: Would you be prepared to move to a new city or country for a job?
Well, for 10 years, I moved around the world teaching English and it was amazing. I was so lucky to be able to live and work in different countries. But I wasn’t really relocating for the jobs. I was relocating to see new places. Would I move to a new city now? Well, that would depend on the city and the job. If I was offered a job in Japan or perhaps in San Francisco or Madrid, I would consider it. However, I have two kids and the rest of my family to think about.
I know one person who moved to Kuwait for a job because the pay was really good. I know another person who moved to Dubai because the job was a great career move and she was going to get some really valuable work experience.
Me, now… I don’t know. This question is too difficult.
You probably noticed I used the verb relocate. This means move to a new place for a job. I don’t think we talk about relocating much apart from when it’s for a job. So you could say ‘my company wants me to relocate’. It does just mean move, but it’s slightly more formal so we use it for work.
Another piece of related vocabulary is the verb commute. If you have to travel a long way to work every day, you can say you commute to work. This is normally used for people who live in a different city to where they work. When I was a child, I lived in a small town and my mother used to commute into London every day.
The last thing I want to focus on is the question form: Would you be prepared to move? This is a 2nd conditional question form which is quite formal and polite. The interesting vocabulary is to be prepared to do something. Normally, the adjective prepared means to have all the things you need to do something. So if you want to bake a cake, you can prepare by getting all the ingredients. Then you would be prepared to bake a cake. However, if you hear this in a job interview, it just means would you do something. Would it be OK for you? Would you be prepared to … it’s usually used for things that are not very appealing. Would you be prepared to accept a pay cut?
In the speaking lesson, you’ll see three jobs in three different countries. I’d like you to read the job descriptions and discuss whether you would like to relocate for those jobs.
Question 3: Would you rather have a job you didn’t like but you only had to work 4 days a week and had really long holidays, or a job you loved for 5 long days a week with really short holidays?
OK – so this is a question about job satisfaction and work-life balance. Some jobs are really motivating and the people who do these jobs enjoy them or at least, get a lot of satisfaction from doing them. Other jobs, well, let’s just say people do them for the money. Even if the work isn’t great, sometimes you can have a good time at work if you work with people you like. If you get on well with your colleagues, almost any job can be fun.
This question though, is about the choice between the two. Would I choose a job with long hours that I love or a job I didn’t like with short hours. A four day working week would be great.
I think 10 years ago, I would have chosen a job that I loved and would have been happy to work the long hours. But now, I’m a parent and so I would love to spend more time with my family. When people talk about finding a job with a good work life balance, this is important if you have a fulfilling life outside work. I would have to go for the shorter working week for now.
I spoke about fulfillment, job satisfaction and work-life balance.
Fulfilment comes from the verb to fulfil. Fulfil is usually collocated with promise or obligation or contract or agreement. It means to do something that you wanted or expected to do. So at work, you will have duties and responsibilities and when you do your job, you are fulfilling your duties and responsibilities. The noun fulfilment is often used to talk about requirements or needs. So if your job gives you everything you need, you can say that your job is fulfilling. If you get fulfilment from your job, it means you are happy because your job gives you money and purpose or motivation.
Job satisfaction is very similar. If you feel satisfied, you have what you want or need, especially if you didn’t have everything you want until recently. So, if you want a new car and you have wanted a new car for a really long time, when you finally get a new car, you will feel really satisfied. If you have a good job, you leave work everyday feeling that you did a good job and that your work is important. You feel a mixture of happy and proud. That is job satisfaction.
Work-life balance is the idea that you work enough to be satisfied, but you don’t work so much that you don’t have a positive life outside of work. Usually, when people have a problem with their work-life balance, it is because they have children and they don’t have enough free time to spend. Good employers care about their employees’ work-life balance and support their staff by giving them time off and flexible working hours.
Question 4: Would you work for a company or organisation that you disagreed with morally or politically if they paid you lots of money?
OK – this is an easy question if I am being honest … I think. There are lots of companies that I don’t like; that I disagree with in principle . I think that car companies that make really big gas guzzling SUVs and pick up trucks are morally wrong. There’s a Range Rover garage that sells massive four wheel drive vehicles near me. If they offered me a lot of money to work for them, I’m afraid I would sell out and work for them. It would have to be a lot of money and once I had paid off my mortgage, I might reconsider. But right now, I have too many responsibilities so I would take the money and feel bad about it.
There are other companies that are worse. Perhaps weapons companies or chemical companies that knowingly pollute the environment. Would I take their money? I don’t know. I’m sure there are some companies that I would refuse to work for. Even if they offered me a million pounds … I don’t know. I hope I’d say no.
A principle is a basic rule that explains how things work. You can have scientific principles and moral or political principles. If you agree or disagree with something in principle, you agree or disagree based on the ideas. Sometimes the reality is different. In principle, I think anarchy is the best form of political system. However in reality, I don’t trust people so we need rules.
To sell out is an interesting phrasal verb. Normally, it means to sell all of a stock of something. So the supermarket might sell out of toilet paper because people are crazy and buying lots. But it has another meaning which is less common. It can mean to abandon your principles for money. In America, if you sell out, you might be called a phoney – that is, you are not real or don’t have any integrity or honour. So I think it is irresponsible to drive a range rover or massive vehicle as we are facing a climate crisis. It’s probably irresponsible to drive a private vehicle at all, but massive vehicles are specially bad. However, if a company that sold these vehicles offered me a lot of money, I might sell out and work for them.
In the speaking lesson, there are three jobs that I want you to discuss. Each of them would involve working for a company that does horrible things. Would you work for them?
Let’s move on.
Question 5: Would you prefer a job that challenged you and you found difficult, or a job where you were a master and everything was easy?
This is an interesting question. It’s nice to feel like an expert – to be the master. People treat you with respect everyday and you can help people when they get stuck. But after a while, you might get bored or feel unfulfilled. I get great satisfaction out of learning something new and building on my professional expertise or developing my skill set. I worked for a school in Italy with a really good manager. She was really tough and I think all the new teachers felt like they were going to be sacked for at least the first three months. That was a challenging time, but it taught me a lot. By the end of the year there, I felt like I had earned my place, though still had a lot to learn. If I could find a job like that again I’d be very happy.
If you are challenged by a job or a situation, you find it difficult. However, we normally describe positive situations as challenging. I mean, they might be difficult, but a challenge is a problem that you enjoy or at least feel positive about. A challenging job is difficult, but in a positive way, usually because you learn a lot when doing it or because it’s satisfying morally.
Your expertise is all the skills and knowledge that you have related to your job. You can have expertise in a topic or sector.
Your skill set is very similar, only it’s a bit broader than expertise. Your skill set includes all the professional skills you have learnt throughout your career. Some jobs require a very specific skill set and others are more general.
OK – so there you have five questions based on the idea of the perfect job. There will be five speaking activities for you to complete as part of the speaking club based around these questions.
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Thanks for listening.