Struggling to find employment or even land an interview and find yourself or your friends blaming racist attitudes by New Zealand employers? I urge you to think again. Blaming racism relinquishes self-accountability and changing the attitudes of the people around you can be a nigh on impossible task that could leave you suffering a lifetime of frustrations. A simpler and much more effective solution is in knowing yourself and understanding your environment.
Kong, Y. (n.d.). Young, Asian and Unemployed? Know thyself. Jolt Challenge. Retrieved May 14, 2012, from http://www.joltchallenge.com/blog/young-asian-and-unemployed-know-thyself-1/
Lion dancers surrounded by onlookers at the Auckland lantern festival. A child peers inside one lion’s costume. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I highly recommend Yin Kong’s article to my students and colleagues. I endorse in particular the importance of both networking, and understanding one’s interpersonal talents - to ‘know thyself’.
Let me also share a personal anecdote that might help readers understand why they might be pigeon-holed into back-office technical jobs, rather than positioned in higher-earning front-line jobs.
An Asian student of mine was undertaking a work placement in a financial services company. During the placement, the student’s manager remarked that if the student’s formal English writing and speaking met a New Zealand business English standard, then the student could be placed and trusted in a front-line position. The consequence would be a doubling in salary from, say $40,000 to $80,000. The company would then no longer need to double-check his work and writing.
To his credit, the next time I met the student he had enrolled in a Toastmasters programme, presenting a speech on his first night’s attendance. I note that the student’s manager was ethnic Chinese, Malaysian born, and had worked in New Zealand for about 15 years. I also note that the student had filled his entire three-year qualification in accounting and business studies with technical subjects. Only at the very end of his qualification did he receive the foregoing advice that he would have better invested his study taking a selection of courses to develop explicitly his formal English Language writing and spoken performance.
As an aside, any student of mine who fails to meet a professional business English standard is required to rewrite until they meet the standard. They receive no grade credit until they meet the standard. About 35 to 45 per cent of my students fall into this category.
International English Institute Basketball Game (Photo credit: www.english.school.nz)
Learning business English
Global English - Improving business English communication skills of global companies. (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2010, from http://www.globalenglish.com/m/
McAlpine, R. (1997). Global English: A secret code. Global English for Global Business (pp. 5–15). Longman.
McAlpine, R. (n.d.). From Plain English to Global English. Quality Web Content. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://www.webpagecontent.com/arc_archive/139/5/
Mellalieu, P. J. (2007, June 3). Let’s all learn and teach Global English in our business schools! Peter Mellalieu - Teacher. Retrieved April 21, 2010, from http://web.me.com/petermellalieu/Teacher/Blog/Entries/2007/7/3_Let%E2%80%99s_all_learn_and_teach_Global_English_in_our_business_schools!.html
Mellalieu, P. J. (2009). Writing to learn argument and persuasion: A “Trojan Horse” for promoting the adoption of “Writing Across the Curriculum” (WAC) principles. Presented at the Unitec Teaching and Learning Symposium, Auckland, NZ: Unitec Institute of Technology. Retrieved from http://preview.tinyurl.com/wactrojan
Peter Mellalieu. (2010). Oh, why can’t the students learn to write. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYf3_eXoWJg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
- Ying Kong: Young, gifted and Asian? Take heart (nzherald.co.nz)
- Hello world! (financialfreedomtravel.wordpress.com)
- Endesa, One of the World’s Largest Power Companies, Launches Strategic Global Communications Plan and Selects GlobalEnglish to Help Establish One Language of Business Across the Enterprise (sys-con.com)
- PH: World’s best country in business English (newsph.org)
- When Global Enterprises Go English-Only (globalenglishblog.com)
- Why “Business English” and “English” Aren’t Synonymous (globalenglishblog.com)
- More support urged for Asian-born business graduates (radionz.co.nz)
- Social Collaboration in the Global Workplace (globalenglishblog.com)