What is your full name?
My name is [first name] [second/middle name] [family name/surname].
Can I see your ID please?
Yes, sure, here you are.
Where are you from?
I’m from [city] in [country].
Do you work or study?
I’m working; I have been for a few years now since I graduated.
What is your job?
I work in distribution management; supply chain logistics principally. I’m in charge of the supply chain for several major products which my company imports to sell here. It’s a multinational company so the supply chain covers various different countries.
What responsibilities do you have at work?
Well, primarily, I’m responsible for ensuring that the production plant has all the necessary raw materials to produce the range of products which we manufacture here. There are about 150 different products in total so there are hundreds of individual elements or ‘ingredients’ for each product and we source them from all over the world. I’m responsible for making sure that they all arrive in time so that the production team can actually follow their schedule for producing the products.
Do you think you will do the same kind of work in the future?
It’s possible, I’ve learned a lot in the years I’ve been there, but I’ve been thinking recently that I could do more – either in the same field or maybe try something similar but a little different – I don’t have a firm plan at the moment, it’s just something I’m mulling over regarding my future.
Is there another type of work you would consider doing if the opportunity arose?
Yes, I would consider something related to project management or maybe even general business management. Those are two specific areas I’ve been researching to see how easy it would be to transition from what I’m doing at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job, but I’d still like to explore other opportunities in the future.
Tell me about a local artist that you admire, and why you admire him/her.
Okay, so there’s a local woman who paints the most amazing pictures – they’re full of vivid colors and some of the things she depicts are truly awesome, they take your breath away. Now, I’m no art expert, I just know what I like, and she has a certain style, a way of bringing even the most humble object to life with her technique and use of color.
I actually have one of her paintings at home, which I bought a couple of years ago. One of the things I admire about her is that you can actually go and see her paint sometimes. She sits in a quiet area of one of the parks here in the city and sketches and paints sometimes. I saw her there a few weekends ago working on a new painting and I watched her work for about half an hour or so, it was mesmerizing.
Are local artists popular in your country? Why? Why not?
Generally I would say yes. There are a few really well known local artists, like the woman I told you about, and then many others who are also talented. One of the problems though is that many local artists just copy other popular artworks rather than coming up with something truly original – but those who are well known and actually make a living from selling their original work are really popular because they all have their own unique styles.
Have you ever traveled by a boat on water? Why did you travel by boat and where did you go?
Yes, I have. A few years ago I was on vacation with some friends near the coast and we decided to take a trip out to a popular island just off the coast. The only way to get there is by boat, so we sat in a long narrow motor launch for about 45 minutes and bounced around all over the place because the ocean was quite rough that day.
It was a fun trip and the island was beautiful, but I was glad to get out of the boat by the end of the journey because the water was just a little too rough for my liking.
Do you think it is important for all people to learn to swim? Why? Why not?
Yes, because you never know when you might need to swim. Okay, you can choose whether you swim for fun or not, but suppose you were in a boat and it capsized – what would you do if you couldn’t swim? You would need somebody else to help you. At least if you can swim you won’t endanger anyone else – in fact you might even be able to help others, maybe older people or children if there is ever a boat accident or even a flash flood. Swimming isn’t difficult, and once you’ve learned you never forget, so yes it’s a good idea for everyone to learn to swim. You never know when it might come in handy.
I’d like to go and work in Thailand. Mainly because it’s a completely different culture from my own part of the world and I’d like to experience it for a time. I also love Thai food so that’s another reason to go, and see if it’s actually even better there in the actual country.
As for the work – I guess I would like to do something like a volunteer, maybe working with children or in a school or hospital, something like that. I’m not sure; I mean I can’t speak Thai so it would have to be some kind of work where the language barrier wouldn’t be a problem.
Maybe working for a foreign NGO or something similar; I would be open to any opportunity within reason. I’m a very organized and hard working person and generally good with people – but I’m not sure what kind of temporary work is available there for people like me – a foreigner. I’m just guessing that it would be some type of volunteer position.
The last time I did volunteer work was when I was still a student, and I spent some time in Africa and it was such an amazing experience. Again I couldn’t speak the local language but I was assigned to an organization responsible for aid relief and so I was mainly working with other foreigners and English was the common language we all used to communicate with each other.
But while I was there I picked up some of the local language and met some amazing local people and the whole experience made me a better person. I learned to be more resilient and resourceful and deal with many unexpected situations, which was challenging but that trip really helped me grow as an individual.
So I think that if I went to Thailand it would be pretty similar, I would meet some great people and get to know and understand more about their culture and life and what’s important to them and how things are done over there.
In your opinion, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working abroad?
For one, it broadens your horizons. Every country is a little different, and some are a lot different. So you always learn something interesting about how things get done or different ways of doing things from back home.
It’s also fascinating to see how different priorities can be between different places. Whether it’s safety, education or the importance of family within a culture – there’s always something you can learn from spending time working abroad.
As for the disadvantages, I suppose you can suffer from homesickness, being away from your family and friends for an extended period of time. A lot depends on how long you work abroad, and if you’re really happy doing it.
I met an older guy once who had spent more than 10 years working abroad, and he actually felt that he would never go back to his own country because he wouldn’t be able to assimilate into his old culture again, because he preferred living abroad.
What do you think about working for an international company? Are there any benefits which you don’t get working for a local company?
Probably the main benefit is the opportunities which it can offer. Such large companies have a presence in many countries typically, and also plenty of resources, so it’s an ideal environment in which to develop your professional career and seek advancement. The career ladder is well defined in most international companies and overseas postings are quite common if you want them.
They also generally pay more than many local companies, but then they also demand more from their employees, so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
Many local companies don’t have the resources or scale to offer the same level of benefits or opportunities, but on the other hand it can be good to be an important part of a smaller team rather than a smaller member of a global organization.
What are some restrictions which might apply when working abroad?
The ones I know of would be regarding obtaining a work visa, the type of work you can do in a foreign country, and I suppose the length of time you would be allowed to spend there.
I guess if it’s only for a few years then there might be other things, but from what I understand if you stay in most places for more than 5 years you can actually apply for residency and then you’re almost treated the same as a national of that country in terms of what you can do.
In your opinion, what are some of the consequences of working in the informal labor market? Why do you think so many people choose to do such work?
Probably the most obvious one is that when you work in the black market economy you have very little job security or rights as an employee. It all tends to be cash in hand work and it may not even be reliable work, it could be seasonal or just according to demand.
Also, there might be problems associated with obtaining healthcare or other social security benefits if you are part of the informal workforce as most of it is unregulated and unsupervised.
I know some people who have done it for a while, but it’s those who can’t get out of it for whatever reason and end up working informally for many years who usually suffer the most. There’s a big difference between working for a summer as a waitress or something like that, on a casual basis, and working for years without any paid vacation or other employee benefits.
Lots of people spend some time working informally because it’s convenient sometimes; they need to work and there is work available. Like I said I know some people who worked for maybe 6 months or a year doing various causal jobs simply because they couldn’t find anything more permanent at that time, but they’ve all move on to better jobs since then. I guess if that kind of work is all you can find at the time, then you choose whether or not you need to do it depending on your own personal circumstances.
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