I give a presentation to my coworkers every Tuesday. This means that my Monday afternoon is usually spent preparing for it. This morning I interviewed the project manager from the Höegh team for our quarterly magazine. They are building LNG FSRUs here, so he will be here until at least 2015. Watch the video to see what we were talking about. I’ll provide some interviewing tips in a later post.
The rest of the morning was spent moving things into the company gym for the annual Charity Bazaar. The company has a few mothers/wives groups that run these kinds of events; HHI Mothers’ Group, Hyundai Mipo Wives’ Group, etc. Every year my office collects items that expats donate to sell to raise money for Ulsan Orphanage. Half the money goes to the orphanage, the other half toward our annual kimchi making event.
There are usually two presentations. The first is given by one of my coworkers about their team. So the investor relations guy talks about investor relations and the market analysis guy talks about one of the markets we are in. The manager of the foreign school we operate talks about the foreign school, but he is more likely to talk about some random business-related book he is reading. Last month one of the general managers gave a presentation that was essentially his résumé in powerpoint format. We have 6 general managers in a department of 16 people; he is the only one not surnamed Kim. Previously, another coworker talked about her vacation to Taiwan (“the food is bad and the people are smelly”).
Protip 1: Don’t include your hobbies in your résumé, for your future employer will be paying you to work not to daydream about which hobby you will do on the weekend.
Protip 2: Being able to use Word is only one step above putting your pants on the right way. A small step.
My presentation is in two parts. The first is a broad look at economic news; bullet points for the US, Europe, and Asia. The other and bulk of the presentation looks at the articles my coworkers are assigned to read for English practice (talked about previously here). These are drawn from Time, The Economist, Newsweek or whatever that is called now, Bloomberg/Businessweek, and
billionaire celebrity magazine Forbes. Nothing too complicated here; I just go through some of the vocabulary and cultural references that might be there (The Economist loves the latter). I especially enjoy explaining the slang that pops up occasionally. The latest one was jerry-built. Time was using it to describe the way Russia’s government handles problems (either by fiat or with jerry-built solutions). It’s used to describe something that’s built poorly or with cheap materials or a project/organisation that was developed in a haphazard or unsubstantial way.
Fiat, by the way, is not the Italian car (that would be Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino which is literally Italian Automobile Factory Turin). It usually means an order or decree, usually by someone with absolute authority. Basically, Time is saying the only way things get done in Russia is if Putin comes down and orders them done. Of course, this is not the way things are done in America, with institutions and government bodies operating without, and sometimes despite, the influence of the president.
But why jerry? Well, jerry used to be slang for a chamber pot. What’s a chamber pot? Well, in the days before toilets and reliable sewage systems, if you needed to go to the toilet at night you could go outside and risk wolves having your privates as a midnight snack OR you could use a pot that you kept under the bed. In the morning you would then throw the contents out the window.
As the British do, the word Jerry (capital please, you’re in the presense of a construct) came to mean German person around the time of the Great War. See, it’s easier to bayonet someone and not feel too bad about it if you dehumanise them first.
In the Second World War, you had jerrycans. That is, fuel cans the Germans had. These were pretty high tech at the time since they didn’t need funnels or tools to use and the design allowed for expansion/contraction due to the weather. The different colours also told you what the contents of each can was.
I don’t get much of a reaction from my coworkers though. Most maintain decorum even though these presentations aren’t relevant to their job; ie, the guys working on exhibition design or the one in charhe of souvenirs. Though the ones that actually want to learn are always taking notes. Sometimes they’ll even ask questions, but usually about something they need clarification for rather than a challenge to the content.