Talking About the Crisis (by AL)
In this Audiotext of Short Scenes you will be able to discover the vocabulary and typical expressions of a conversation between two university classmates who get together after a long time and begin to talk about the crisis…
Marta and Miguel were classmates in the university, and they have arranged to talk in a cafeteria, since they have kept up their friendship over the years…
Marta: Well, Miguel, how’s your work going? Since you left your old company, we have not seen each other in person… So tell me!
Miguel: Well, the truth is that after more than a year in this company, on balance it’s very positive. Well, you know that my main motivation for changing was the economy, since I now have a lot of family expenses: the children's schools, the mortgage on the new house, the new car…
Marta: But besides more money, they offered you a better position, didn’t they?
Miguel: Yes, yes… that was also one of the incentives, because in the old company I was simply a technician and now I am responsible for the department of international projects…
Marta: Wow! That sounds very good, but, is it really interesting?
Miguel explains to Marta in a little more detail what his current activity consists of… Let’s see how the scene develops…
Miguel: Well, look Marta… it’s true that it sounds very good, but then the position, there’s no need to make such a fuss! I really have two bosses over me, and so I don't have a lot of autonomy. I also spend the whole day stuck in meetings and I don't have a lot of time left to get the work done, so I’m quite overwhelmed…
Marta: Right! It’s typical that when you reach a management position, you have to forget some of the more technical work to dedicate more time to the administration of matters and of people!
Miguel: That’s true. I’m also in charge of a couple of difficult people who are giving me a lot of problems. And I have to devote a lot of time to them, because every time I turn around they are arguing and trying to “trip each other up," and that hinders the work of our department a great deal…
Marta: Well, I’m really sorry. Anyway, that’s what you get being the “boss." Since I continue giving my classes in the university, I don't have those problems… but then, I have others, since there’s no perfect job.
Miguel: That’s true, but from time to time it’s good to change, because otherwise you get bored and unproductive due to the routine…
Marta asks Miguel if the crisis is affecting his company. Let’s see what Miguel replies to her…
Marta: Say, Miguel, is the crisis affecting your company or are you not noticing it too much?
Miguel: Yes, yes,… in truth the company has a very bad atmosphere because… clearly… because of the crisis, now we have fewer projects to develop and so there are a lot of people who have nothing to do… which is not good. And also, the company has stated that it wants to eliminate 100 positions, and that generates a lot of uneasiness…
Marta: I can imagine, because what happens in these cases is that until they define how they will do the restructuring, the entire staff is afraid that their turn is next … and the uncertainty is very bad…
Miguel: Sure. For example in my unit we have to get rid of one person, and the Human Resources Department has already told me to be thinking about who is the “most appropriate” candidate to “get the boot.”...
Marta: And do your subordinates know it?
Miguel: I haven’t told them anything, but you know what happens in these cases… the rumors circulate and in the end people end up knowing that something is “cooking." So in practice all my employees are abuzz with their suspicions and not very disposed to work… since all of them are afraid that they will get a pink slip.
Miguel tells Marta more details about how the crisis is affecting his company…
Marta: Miguel, isn’t the company making spending cuts that affect you?
Miguel: Well, yes, that too… What is affecting us mainly is that they are putting more limits on expenses associated with travel. For example, the hotels they send us to now have fewer "stars" and the flights are the “low cost" type.
Marta: Well! For sure you feel less like traveling now…
Miguel: Yes, that’s true… but that’s not all. For example, last summer they only turned on the air conditioning in the mornings, so those who stayed in the afternoon were dying from the heat! It was hideous!
Marta: Right… in the university they are also cutting expenses, and for example, now they don't let us make photocopies in color, unless your superior expressly authorizes it … and also, the coffee was free before and now a coffee in the machine costs 30 cents.
Miguel: Yes, that’s true, it also serves to make people drink less coffee and to increase production in the work…
Marta: Yeah… it has diminished the time lost but, on the other hand, people are more discontent…
Miguel and Marta comment now how the crisis is affecting to the totality of society…
Marta: Well Miguel, the reality is that with this crisis, the media doesn't talk about anything else: turn on the TV at any time and there are debates on the topic, news, etc., … the truth is that the situation isn’t good at all…
Miguel: Right, the truth is that we all know people who have become unemployed and who aren’t doing well… in fact, yesterday the official data on the number of unemployed was published and it apparently had increased by 3% with respect to the previous trimester.
Marta: Yes, the offices of the INEM “can’t cope with it"… in fact, they have had to reinforce the shifts and to open up for more hours. The lines of people are tremendous. Also, if it goes on like this, the government won't be able to continue with the unemployment payments for much longer… and all those people will have a harder time.
Miguel: Yeah, and the worst thing is that the companies are more and more afraid to start new projects and so their activity has also been restricted, mainly in the construction sector …
Marta: Yes, and we also know how important the construction and tourism sectors are in Spain,… in fact, the latter is also receding because the crisis has a global reach, and most European countries from which tourists come are also affected.
Miguel: Well, let’s hope the situation improves because, if not, we all will be affected “to a greater or lesser extent!"
clase - classmate
Ponerse a hacer algo– to start doing something
Quedar con alguien– to arrange to meet someone
Balance – balance, outcome
Guau – woof, wow
No es para tanto– it’s not all that bad; there is no need to make such a fuss
Por encima de– over, above, beyond
Por (lo) tanto– therefore
Estar/andar metido en– to be involved in
Agobiado – overwhelmed, burdened
Acceder– to accede, reach, come to, obtain
Cada dos por tres– every five minutes, every time you turn around
Poner la zancadilla a alguien– to trip somebody up [una zancadilla es unatrampa con la que se intenta perjudicar a una persona]
Entorpecer– to hinder, obstruct, impede; to numb
Rendimiento – fatigue, exhaustion; efficiency, performance, yield
Suprimir – to abolish, delete, axe, get rid of, eliminate
Le toca a él– it’s his turn
Estar con/tener la mosca detrás de la oreja– to be suspicious/distrustful
Despido– dismissal, firing, sacking
Comunicación de despido– notice of termination of employment, pink slip
Recorte– cutback, trimming
Gastos – expenditures
Horroroso– awful, horrible, hideous
Conjunto– set, collection; whole, totality, aggregate
Estar en paro– to be unemployed/out of work
INEM– Instituto Nacional de Empleo – National Institute of Employement
No dar abasto con... - to be unable to cope with...
No dar abasto para hace… - to be unable to cope with doing…
Turno (de trabajo)– shift
Éste ultimo– the latter
Retroceder– to go down, retreat, move back, recede
Using ‘lo’ + adjective + ‘que’ to express how/how much/as much as:
In the Audiotext Marta says: “Sí, y además ya sabemos lo importante que es el sector….” – Yes, and we also know how important the sector is.... Other examples of this use of the grammatical structure – ‘lo’ + adjective + ‘que’ – drawn from the Internet include:
Test para saber lo bueno que eres– Test to see how good you are (from http://www.genciencia.com/antropologia/test-para-saber-lo-bueno-que-eres)
¿Lo guapo que sea un luchador, no importa, lo que importa es su forma de pelear y su habilidad, verdad?– It doesn’t matter how good-looking a fighter is, what matters is his style of fighting and his ability, right? (from http://es.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100415193342AAUkkPM)
En ANAFACE te analizan lo guapo que eres, subes una foto tuya y se fijan en rasgos como la simetria entre las dos partes de la cara, el tamaño de la nariz con respecto a la cabeza, las orejas, etc..., curiosa información. – In ANAFACE they analyze how good-looking you are, ... (from http://lascosasgratis.blogspot.com/2010/03/anaface-web-que-analiza-lo-guapo-que.html)
La vida es todo lo agradable que se lo permitas – Life is as pleasant as you allow it to be (from http://www.fotolog.com/cambalacheado/67427960)