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0092 Types of Work

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 92 – Types of Work.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 92. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Today's podcast is about types of work. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

I got a call yesterday from Amy, a co-worker from the office. She and I work in the same department. We've had lunch at work a few times, but I really didn't know her that well. I was really glad she called.

Kevin: Hello.

Amy: Hi. Could I speak to Kevin?

Kevin: This is Kevin.

Amy: Oh, hi. It's Amy, from work.

Kevin: Oh, hey, how's it going? I didn't recognize your voice.

Amy: Not bad. Listen, the reason I'm calling is that I'm having a dinner party a week from Saturday at my place around seven thirty. I wanted to see if you could make it.

Kevin: So, it's not this Saturday but the Saturday after that. That would be the 17th.

Amy: Yeah, that's right, the following Saturday – the 17th.

Kevin: Let me just check my calendar. Yeah, I think I can make it. Are you inviting anyone else from work?

Amy: Yeah, I am. Jennifer from marketing already RSVP’d, so she'll be there for sure, and I'm waiting to hear back from James in accounting. I've also invited a few other friends.

Kevin: Just out of curiosity, are they in finance, too?

Amy: No. My friend Janis is in the medical field. She's an orthopedic surgeon. She's bringing her boyfriend, Tim, and I think he's an engineer in the automobile industry. Then there's Megan. She works part-time in retail and moonlights as a tour guide on the weekends. She's been wanting to get into the hospitality industry for a long time.

Kevin: Wow, that sounds like a great group of people. I'm looking forward to it. Can I bring anything?

Amy: No, that's okay. Just come and bring your appetite.

Kevin: Sounds great. Thanks for the invitation.

Amy: No problem. I'm glad you can make it. See you in the office tomorrow.

Kevin: See you then. Bye.

[end of dialogue]

We just listened to a telephone conversation between two people who work at the same office, Kevin and Amy. Amy calls up Kevin, and Kevin answers the phone by saying “Hello,” which is how we answer the phone in English: “Hello.” “Hi. Could I speak to Kevin?” When you're calling someone on the phone, and you don't know if you got the right person, you can ask, “May I speak to Kevin?” or “Could I speak to Jeff?” or whomever you are trying to reach.

Kevin identifies himself by saying, “This is Kevin,” meaning “I am Kevin.” We would not actually say, “I am Kevin,” though. We say, “This is Kevin.” Amy says, “Oh, hi. It's Amy from work,” and Kevin replies, “Oh, hey, how's it going?” We sometimes use the word “hey” to mean something similar to “hi” or “hello.” It's very informal, but you will hear that very often. Kevin says he didn't “recognize” (recognize) Amy's voice, meaning he didn't know that it was her. Amy invites Kevin to a dinner party. A “dinner party” is a dinner, but a little more formal dinner – usually a dinner with several people.

The party is going to be “a week from Saturday.” “A week from Saturday” means the Saturday that comes seven days from the closest Saturday in the future. So for example, if today is Friday, and you tell someone you're going to have a party “a week from Saturday,” you mean not tomorrow, but seven days from tomorrow. “The following Saturday” is another way we could say that. Amy says the dinner party is going to be “at my place.” The word “place” (place) here means where I live – my apartment or my house. We often refer to where we live as “my place.” “Where is your place?” Well, my place is in Los Angeles, on the west side.

Kevin says, “Let me just check my calendar.” A “calendar” (calendar) is a list of days of the month or the days of the week. So, “to check your calendar” means to make sure you have a certain day, or date, available. Kevin says that he does. He then asks Amy who else will be at the dinner party, and she says that “Jennifer from marketing already RSVP’d.” “Marketing (marketing) is the part of a company that lets other people know about their product or service. That's part of marketing.

“To RSVP” means to write or to call someone back to tell them whether or not you are going to be at a party. When you have a special party or some sort of formal event, you will often ask people to RSVP. “RSVP” is a French expression. It stands for “Répondez s'il vous plaît.” My French is not very good. I apologize to all of our French speaking listeners. But in English, we just say “RSVP,” which we use as a verb. For example, “I RSVP’d to his invitation” means I responded to his invitation and let him know if I would be at his party.

Amy also says she's “waiting to hear back from James in accounting.” “To wait to hear back” means to wait for someone to call you back. James works in accounting. “Accounting” (accounting) is the part of a company that takes care of the money, for the most part. The accounting department takes care of all the different types of records, taxes, and so forth. The different parts of a big company are called “departments.” James works in accounting, or in the accounting department.

Kevin then asks “just out of curiosity” if Amy's other guests are also in finance. “Curiosity” (curiosity) is your interest in knowing more about something, and the expression “just out of curiosity” is something we say when we are asking a question that doesn't directly relate to the topic we've been talking about. So, we could be talking about baseball, and you might say, “Yeah, my uncle recently went to a baseball game,” and I might say, “Just out of curiosity, is he your uncle who lives in San Francisco?” My question isn’t exactly related to what we were talking about, but I just want to know. I am curious to know.

Amy is in finance. “Finance” (finance) is the part of a company or a type of company that deals with money. But it's a little different from accounting. “Finance” deals with getting money or with loaning money to a company. That would be the job of someone in finance. Another of Amy's friends is in the medical field. The word “field” (field) here just means a type of work. You can talk about the education field, or the accounting field, or the medical field. All of those just mean a particular area or type of work. Someone who works in the “medical field” would be someone who works in a hospital or in a clinic, for example.

Amy's friend Janis is an “orthopedic surgeon.” A “surgeon” (surgeon) is a doctor who cuts you open to work on you in an operating room. That is a room in the hospital where, for example, if you had a heart attack and needed to have your heart fixed, the surgeon would open up your chest and operate on your heart. That kind of doctor is called a “surgeon,” and an “orthopedic (orthopedic) surgeon” is a surgeon who works on your bones. So, if you broke your leg and you needed surgery to fix it, you would go to an orthopedic surgeon.

Amy says that Janis is bringing her boyfriend, Tim, to the dinner party, and that Tim is “an engineer in the automobile industry.” An “engineer” (engineer) is a general term for someone who works in a technical field, often involving math and science. The “automobile industry” is the car industry. And “industry” (industry) here means the same as field. It's an area of work, a type of work.

Another of Amy's friends, Megan, “works part-time in retail but moonlights as a tour guide on the weekends.” The word “retail” (retail) has to do with selling things. So when you say, “I work in retail,” it usually means that you work in a store that sells things to the general public, like a grocery store or a department store. A “department store” is a store that sells many different things, like clothing and electronics and kitchenware.

Megan works in retail, but “moonlights as a tour guide.” “To moonlight” (moonlight) – all one word – means to work at another job in addition to your main job. So, I have my regular job working as a teacher, for example, but I want to make some more money, because teachers often don't get paid very much money, so I might moonlight as a waiter at a restaurant. That's not my regular job. It's an additional job. I guess we use the term “moonlight” because it is often a job you do at night when the moon is up.

A “tour (tour) guide (guide)” – two words – is someone who works showing visitors a particular place. It could be in a single building. For example, a museum has tour guides who take people around and tell them what all the things are in the museum. This is especially useful when you go to a modern art museum, because you can't figure out what it means without them. A tour guide can also be someone who drives you around an entire city. So, if you come to Los Angeles, you can take a tour, and the tour guide will be the person who will be telling you everything about the city.

Finally, Kevin says that he's “looking forward to it.” “To look forward to” something means to want it to happen. He asksif he can bring anything to the dinner party, and Amy tells him to “just come and bring your appetite.” When someone says, “Just come and bring your appetite,” it means they don't want you to bring anything to the party, but they want you to arrive hungry and ready to eat. It's a polite way of saying you don't have to do anything but come and enjoy.

Now let's listen to the dialogue again, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

I got a call yesterday from Amy, a co-worker from the office. She and I work in the same department. We've had lunch at work a few times, but I really didn't know her that well. I was really glad she called.

Kevin: Hello.

Amy: Hi. Could I speak to Kevin?

Kevin: This is Kevin.

Amy: Oh, hi. It's Amy, from work.

Kevin: Oh, hey, how's it going? I didn't recognize your voice.

Amy: Not bad. Listen, the reason I'm calling is that I'm having a dinner party a week from Saturday at my place around seven thirty. I wanted to see if you could make it.

Kevin: So, it's not this Saturday but the Saturday after that. That would be the 17th.

Amy: Yeah, that's right, the following Saturday – the 17th.

Kevin: Let me just check my calendar. Yeah, I think I can make it. Are you inviting anyone else from work?

Amy: Yeah, I am. Jennifer from marketing already RSVP’d, so she'll be there for sure, and I'm waiting to hear back from James in accounting. I've also invited a few other friends.

Kevin: Just out of curiosity, are they in finance, too?

Amy: No. My friend Janis is in the medical field. She's an orthopedic surgeon. She's bringing her boyfriend, Tim, and I think he's an engineer in the automobile industry. Then there's Megan. She works part-time in retail and moonlights as a tour guide on the weekends. She's been wanting to get into the hospitality industry for a long time.

Kevin: Wow, that sounds like a great group of people. I'm looking forward to it. Can I bring anything?

Amy: No, that's okay. Just come and bring your appetite.

Kevin: Sounds great. Thanks for the invitation.

Amy: No problem. I'm glad you can make it. See you in the office tomorrow.

Kevin: See you then. Bye.

[end of dialogue]

We’d like to thank our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse, for her wonderful script.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm just McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
department – a group of employees who do the same type of work within a company; a section of a business where all the employees do similar tasks and share the same goals

* After Myrna was moved to another department of the company, she started learning new things and working with completely different people.


to recognize – to be able to identify; to know who someone is by seeing or hearing that person

* The way Herbert looked changed so much in the past 10 years that his old friends barely recognized him.


dinner party – a party where guests gather and have dinner at one’s home; an evening event where guests eat a meal together and have the chance to talk, relax, and have fun

* Mrs. Casali’s dinner party starts at 7:00 PM, and she plans on providing plenty of delicious food for her guests.


calendar – a record of months and days; a record of days and the activities or events one must do on those days

* Tuan checked his calendar and saw that his son had a baseball game next Tuesday afternoon.


marketing – the section of a company with employees who look for new ways to sell products or services

* The marketing department’s new advertisements were very successful, and the company was selling many products because of it.


to RSVP – to answer an invitation; to tell someone who asked one to an event if one will or will not come to that event

* Many guests still need to RSVP so that Eva knows how many people plan on coming to her wedding.


to hear back from – to get an answer from; to get a reply from

* Bo left a message for his sister yesterday, but still has not heard back from her.


accounting – the section of a company with employees who organize and keep records on how money is spent in a company; the section of a company with employees who keep a record of how money is spent and earned in a company

* Kiera was always good with managing money, so no one was surprised when she got a job in accounting.

medical field – a group of jobs involved with medicine; a group of jobs involved in the treatment of people who have illnesses and injuries

* Fausto went into the medical field and became a doctor who treats patients with eye problems.


orthopedic surgeon – a doctor who treats people that have pain or weakness in their bones, muscles, or joints (the point where two bones meet inside the body)

* After Gretchen broke her leg, she met with an orthopedic surgeon to find out the best way to get the bones in her leg to heal.


engineer – someone who designs and builds machines and other complex systems

* The engineers who designed the new car were very happy with how well it ran once it was built.


automobile industry – a group of jobs that produce cars, trucks, vans, and other vehicles that drive on the road

* The automobile industry is trying to build cars that use less gasoline.


retail – stores or shops; any type of job where one sells products to customers in small amounts, such as in a store

* Alex worked in retail at a small store that sold garden supplies.


to moonlight – to work an extra job when one is not working at one’s main job

* When Janine is not working at her office job, she moonlights as a musician at a local bar.


tour guide – someone who leads tourists or visitors around an unfamiliar location; someone who shows visitors the best places to go to in a city

* The tour guide told Ms. Fremont and her family about the best restaurants to eat at without too many tourists.


hospitality industry – a group of jobs where employees serve and help guests; a group of jobs that focus on making travel customers happy and comfortable

* Nadine wanted to work in the hospitality industry, so she got a job at a hotel.


appetite – the desire to eat; wanting food

* After working all day, Wes developed a huge appetite and was eager to eat.

Culture Note
Flags Flown at Half-Staff

In the U.S., most government buildings have “flagpoles” (tall outdoor metal poles on which a flag is attached and shown) outside of the building. Each morning, a worker in the building will place the American “flag” (piece of cloth with a design that represents a country) on the flagpole and raise it up. Each evening, before “dusk” (time of day when the sun is nearly gone and little light remains), it is “taken down” (removed).

In the U.S., when an important person in government dies, flags are “flown” (displayed) at “half-mast” or “half-staff.” Both of these terms are commonly used and mean for a flag to be flown lower on the flagpole.

The President of the United States can issue an “executive order” (command of the President) for a flag to be flown at half-staff to show respect for the person who has died. When the President issues an executive order, all government buildings, including public schools, government offices, and “military bases” (where soldiers live and train) fly their flags at half-mast. A “governor” (highest level leader of a state) can also order that flags be flown at half-mast, but the order only affects his or her state.

The number of days a flag is flown at half-staff depends on the position the person held. For example, for a current or former president, that period is 30 days. For a vice president or a “chief justice” (leader of the highest court in the country), the period is 10 days. For “members of Congress” (officials representing the states), the flag is flown at half-staff on the day of the death and the “following” (next) day.