Exercise 1

A. Listen to a presentation by a corporate executive about two generations of employees. What audience is the presentation addressed to? What is the purpose?

B. Listen again. Write the attitudes Generation Y has regarding each area in the chart. Then write what the company is planning to do to address each attitude.


Generation Y’s attitude


1   work and free time



2   relationship to boss



3   community involvement





The presentation is addressed to managers in a company. Most of them are Generation X-ers.

The purpose is to discuss how the company is planning to focus on the needs of their Generation Y employees.


1   work and free time:

Generation V’s attitude: They are more flexible and tolerant when balancing work and private life.

Plan: Create a corporate social networking website.

2   relationship to boss:

Generation Y’s attitude: They want to share opinions and ideas with their managers and want work-related comments and advice from them.

Plan: Managers will make themselves available one hour a week to speak with staff informally.

3   community involvement:

Generation Y’s attitude: They are volunteer-minded and want to help others.

Plan: Employees will be given up to 14 hours a year of paid time off to volunteer in the community.


Speaker:   Welcome, everyone. I really appreciate you all taking time out of your busy day to attend this presentation.

As stated in the invitation, the topic is “Accommodating Generation Y in the Workplace.” Let me begin with a little background information. You may be familiar with the term “Generation X.” For my purposes, Generation X means the group of people born starting in the late 1960s up until about 1980. I think most of the managers in this room fall in that category, right?

I thought so . . . So, what about Generation Y? Well, roughly speaking, Generation Y covers all people born between around 1980 and 2000. Most of our staff is now Generation Y, and this will, of course, be true for some time.

However, our management style has been slow in catching up with this trend. We’re still basically a Generation X style management team – and we’ve got to change to focus on the needs of Generation Y employees. To assist you in transitioning your departments, upper management has developed a three-point plan.

First, you’ve all become accustomed to managing Gen X-ers, who like a clear dividing line between private life and work life. Generation Y-ers, on the other hand, are often more flexible and tolerant when balancing work and private life. Therefore, we’re introducing a new corporate social networking website for corporate communications of all kinds – available 24/7 – to give employees more flexibility. Information on how to create an account and suggestions on how to make the best use of this system will be sent to everyone shortly.

Our second point may directly affect your management style. The Gen X-ers you’ve come to know so well often want to be left alone to do their work. They’re often happiest with a hands-off type of boss – and that’s fine. Now, the expectations that Gen Y-ers have of a boss and colleagues are a little different. They want to regularly share their opinions and ideas with their managers and supervisors, and they want and value work-related comments and advice from them. To meet this need and open lines of communication between staff and management, we will be asking all managers to make themselves available one hour per week to speak with staff informally – listening to employees’ concerns and offering advice and feedback.

Lastly, our Generation X employees have always been focused on their own job security and financial security, and that’s a responsible thing to do. Generation Y, however, is more volunteer-minded and known for wanting to help others. And that’s not a bad thing, either. We want to encourage this spirit of volunteerism, and that’s why we’re beginning a community outreach program. Any employee who wants to volunteer in the community for a worthwhile local cause will get up to 14 hours a year of paid time off to do just that. Our Gen Y staffers should be excited about this opportunity, and we hope others will get involved, too.

One final note: While we’re instituting these changes to better meet the needs of our Generation Y employees, please don’t be inconsiderate of the feelings of your Generation X staff. Reassure them that none of the new programs will require any extra time or work from them, but welcome them to take part if they want to.

Well, that concludes my presentation. Now I’d like to open it up to questions . . .

Exercise 2

A. Now listen to the conversation. Which of these things is Jody concerned about? Choose the correct answers.


culture shock


job skills

making friends

visiting home

B. Listen again. Write the three ways that Jody is hoping to benefit from the program.

1   ______________________

2   ______________________

3   ______________________



airfare, food, job skills


1   help her get a good job in the future

2   gain confidence in herself

3   get a broader and more global world view


Mr. Turner:   Yes?

Jody:   Uh, hello. Mr. Turner? I’m Jody.

Mr. Turner:   Oh, hi, Jody. I’ve been expecting you. Come on in and have a seat.

Jody:   Thanks.

Mr. Turner:   Well, then . . . you’re interested in volunteering for Houses for All?

Jody:   Well, I think I am. I guess that’s what I’m hoping to make a decision about after talking to you today. I’m looking for a positive change in my life, and I’m hoping Houses for All could be it.

Mr. Turner:   It may be, Jody. Let me give you a little background information about Houses for All. As you know, we’re a nonprofit organization that builds houses for families who need them. We’re funded by donations, and all of our builders are unpaid volunteers. We go to several countries around the world, and we ask that volunteers cover their own airfare back and forth to the country they are assigned to.

Jody:   Oh, OK. I’ll have to give that some thought. I wouldn’t want the price of a plane ticket to stand in my way, but I’m not sure if I can afford it.

Mr. Turner:   I can understand that.

Jody:   On the other hand, I do think that participating in your program will help me get a good job in the future. My friends say that employers really notice when people have Houses for All on their résumés.

Mr. Turner:   Yes, well, that’s certainly true. I think it’s because people who have experienced our program gain a new faith in themselves, a kind of confidence that sets them apart from the average job applicant.

Jody:   You know, a teacher once told me that a little more confidence would really help me. That would really be beneficial.

Mr. Turner:   Good. Now, are you aware that volunteers are required to give us a one-year commitment? That means a full year abroad, with no trips back, not even on holidays. Not everyone is ready for that.

Jody:   Actually, the length of the stay is no problem for me. I’d be fine with staying there for a full year. One of the things I hope to get out of the program is a broader and more global way of looking at things, and I know a change like that takes time.

Mr. Turner:   Well, that’s certainly an admirable goal. But keep in mind that culture shock has been an issue for many program participants.

Jody:   I’ve heard about it, but I can’t believe I would be affected. The only thing I really have to watch out for is what I eat. I have some allergies to nuts and other things that can be a real problem if I’m not careful.

Mr. Turner:   Hmm. I’m afraid it would be up to you to avoid anything you can’t eat. It’s not something we can really control.

Jody:   Sure, I understand. Now, you said volunteers are involved in building homes, but my experience in that area is pretty limited.

Mr. Turner:   Not to worry. That’s actually true of most of our new volunteers. We have a complete training program to give you all the skills you need.

Jody:   That’s a bit of a relief. I’m not very good with my hands, but I do like challenges and will do my best to learn the necessary skills.

Mr. Turner:   Well, Jody, it seems to me as if you have the kind of attitude that Houses for All looks for in its volunteers. If you decide to apply, please feel free to give me a call if you have any more questions.

Jody:   Thanks so much, Mr. Turner! I will.

Exercise 3

Listen to a news report. Then check (✓) the correct answers.

1   More people ________.

      a   are saving more and spending less

      b   are spending more and saving less

      c   are spending and saving equally

2   Consumers spent more than they earned ________.

      a   during the last eight months

      b   during the last eight years

      c   during the 1980s

3   Increased spending causes ________.

      a   a long-term boost to the economy

      b   a short-term drain on the economy

      c   a short-term boost to the economy

4   When people spend to their limit, they ________.

      a   stop spending to pay off their debt

      b   borrow money from their friends

      c   save money


1 b   2 a   3 c   4 a


Henry:   And now to our business desk with Maxine Wall. Maxine?

Maxine:   Thank you, Henry. Today’s money report is about how consumers are spending more money and saving less than ever before. This week’s news from the commerce department is bleak. Last month, as well as in the seven previous months, consumers spent more money than they earned. This means that the savings rate may turn out to be negative for the entire year. If this happens, it will be the first time since the Great Depression. Not good news, Henry.

Henry:   Hmm. What does this mean for the economy?

Maxine:   Good question. Now, in the short-term, this is good news for the economy because the more people spend, the bigger the boost to the nation’s growth in the goods and services sector. However, Henry, it’s a temporary improvement. When people have spent all their money and borrowed more on top of that, you’re going to see a slowing of the economy as those people stop spending in order to pay off their debt.

Henry:   Have we always been poor savers?

Maxine:   Well, this is the first time in a long time people have been irresponsible savers. The trend in the last thirty years seems to be a downturn in savings rates. Back in the 1980s, people were saving almost nine percent of their income. In the nineties, that turned into five percent. And now? As I said, it’s next to nothing.

Henry:   Sounds like it’s time to start saving again, folks. Thank you, Maxine.

Maxine:   Thank you, Henry.

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