Business English | Companies and Careers

Audio Episode

What is this episode about?

Learn about career paths, company structure, in-house staff and freelancers and leaving a company in a new Business English episode abut Companies and Careers from English Plus Podcast.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today. It’s about business English and we will talk about companies and careers. We will talk about career paths, the company structure in staff or freelancers and leaving a company. So without further ado, let’s start right away and start talking about career paths.

[00:00:28] Now Ben and I will talk about different ideas that are related to companies and careers. Of course there is the vocabulary, but the more important thing is the ideas that we talk about. Of course, in addition to these words that you can use in your own business, English, writing and speaking. So Ben, let’s start talking about career paths.

[00:00:48] First of all, what do we mean by that? What is the meaning of career path? Well, many people used to work for the same organization until they reached retirement. The age at which people retire or end their working life, career paths were clear. You could work your way up the career ladder, get promotion to jobs that were more senior, and that means more important with greater responsibility.

[00:01:15] So is this what we mean by career path? Well, yes, the career path is the path or the road you take inside a company. Now, sometimes it doesn’t have to be the same company, but most probably when we are talking about a career path, we’re talking about the same type of work. We’re not talking about the career shifts.

[00:01:34] Some people shift their careers and they change and they work something different. For example, they might start as lawyers and then they continue as writers or as something else. And that is called a career shift. But if you work as a lawyer, let’s say you start as a junior lawyer, you work for the same company for a couple of years, and then you become an associate and then you may become a partner.

[00:01:58] So you get promoted, you work your way up the career ladder. That’s what we mean by work your way up the career ladder. You become more important, more responsibility. Of course, we’re talking about more money as well. And that is essentially what the career path is all about. So you talked about people getting promoted, but can people get demoted?

[00:02:20] Well, it happens on rare occasions unless you make a terrible mistake, you don’t get demoted. And to be honest, usually people don’t get demoted. They get fired, which we will talk about later. If you make this great mistake, usually you lose your job. You don’t just get demoted unless you’re talking about the military in the military, because it’s not easy to dismiss or it’s not straightforward to dismiss a person from the military or in police, for example.

[00:02:48] So we have demotions in the police force and the military more than we have it in regular companies or civilian companies. Okay. So now let’s talk about company structure. First of all, what do we mean by the company structure? Well, the company structure is the structure of the company, talking about the employees, their supervisors, then the managers, the directors, the CEO, et cetera.

[00:03:11] If you look at it in a diagram, you will see that there is a structure, the CEO on the top. And then under the CEO, we might have directors under the directors. We might have managers. Under those managers, we might have other managers or supervisors. And then we go down the line all the way until we get to the regular employees.

[00:03:31] Or I’m not saying the regular, but maybe the junior employees, the people who just started their jobs. So they’re not at a managerial position or even a supervising position. So if you look at this diagram, for example, that is what we mean by the company structure, our company structure fixed, or do they change over time?

[00:03:50] Of course they definitely change. Many companies restructure. They reorganize, they restructure sometimes because they want to become flatter or leaner. And usually the restructuring happens to make the company flatter and leaner. What do you mean by flatter and leaner? Well, flatter means. With fewer layers of management.

[00:04:10] So you don’t have an employee who reports to a supervisor and a supervisor who reports to another supervisor. And that supervisor reports to first manager. The first is a second, et cetera. So you have a very long path for any decision to be made in the company. Oh, that might be, I’m not going to say acceptable, but that might be expected in very big companies with thousands of employees, but even in big companies, they’re trying to make their structure flatter because that speeds up the decision making process.

[00:04:40] Imagine if you want to make a decision and you have to run this decision all the way in this chain of command all the way to the top, and then it goes all the way back down. So that might take a long time and that may lead to the Roxy. So to fight bureaucracy, some companies restructured themselves, they reorganize and they became free.

[00:05:00] So that is flat or what do we mean by leaner? Well, leaner means fewer employees, but more productive ones. So you choose the more productive employees in each unit or team. You keep those and the less productive employees you get rid of them. So you make the structure leaner fewer, but more productive employees.

[00:05:22] So as I said, many companies reorganize or restructure to become flatter and lean. And the number of management levels in the company hierarchy is reduced. And by doing that, many managers might lose their jobs. Because a lot of companies have figured out that they don’t need more managers. They need more good people to do the job.

[00:05:41] Not more managers. Of course, there is a fine balance. You have to keep, you’re still going to need managers, but too many managers, too many layers is usually not that good for companies. What about or downsizing? We hear that a lot. Is that related as well to restructuring? Yes, of course. When you restructure, especially when you make the layers of management cleaner, even when you make it flatter, when you make it flatter, that means some managers will lose their jobs and here some companies to reduce costs and cut the payroll they downsize, and the layer D layer, as we said earlier, it’s the same thing.

[00:06:17] Like making the structure flatter, you get rid of some layers of management. You don’t need all these layers. So that’s what we call delayering. Downsizing is reducing the costs by cutting the payroll. That means letting some employees go and companies usually do that. They downsize, they layer the restructure in general, as we said, because these things are necessary to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and profits.

[00:06:46] So to recap for our listeners, the company structure, the management levels, the company hierarchy can be restructured and reorganized. It can become flatter with fewer layers of management or leaner with fewer and more productive employees. Companies can downsize in D layer to reduce the costs and increase efficiency and profits.

[00:07:07] Now we will talk about in-house staff or freelancers, but before we do that, let me remind you that you can find exercises that will take your English to the next level. And of course, more importantly, we’ll help you remember the things you’re learning here in India. Plus podcast, you will find all that on our website, English plus and you will find a link to it.

[00:07:27] In the description of the episode, the link is not going to take you to our website in general. It will take you to the custom posts we created for this specific episode. And we do that for every single episode we make, we create a custom post. We add to it, interactive activities, PDF downloadable, worksheet, the show notes, anything that is necessary to help you improve your English and practice the things you’re learning here.

[00:07:52] So that is one thing. You will find the link in the description, as I said, and there’s also another link you will find in the description, and that will take you to our Patreon page. If you like the content we’re creating and you would like to help us create more of this content and reach more people, become our patron on Patreon, support us and help us grow more, reach more people and create more of the content you love.

[00:08:13] And now let’s get back to what we were talking about and talk about in-house staff or freelancers. Ben. Well, it is kind of related to downsizing because companies that downsize often outsource many jobs previously done by in-house personnel. Now, for example, outside companies clean the offices, transport goods, and collect money from customers.

[00:08:36] This allows the companies to concentrate on their main business activities. Downside companies use more freelancers. And when we talk about freelancers, we’re talking about independent people who work for several different companies, or they may ask contractors to work for short periods on temporary contracts.

[00:08:55] So here we’re talking about in-house personnel and we talk about outsourcing. We talked about. Freelancers and contractors, I don’t want our listeners to get confused. First of all, let’s talk about in-house personnel. When we talk about in-house personnel, what do we mean by that? These are the people who work for the company in the company’s offices.

[00:09:16] That’s what we call in-house personnel. When you want your in-house personnel to do something. So you simply use your own employees, the employees who come to your company everyday, that’s the in-house personnel. If you don’t want them to do that, and you want them to focus on more important things and you want to leave some other tasks to other companies that you can make a contract with to do those things.

[00:09:39] Like we said, cleaning the offices, transporting goods, or collecting money from customers. That’s what we call outsourcing. Outsourcing giving some jobs that your in-house personnel used to do to other companies. You give those companies a certain amount of money and they take care of everything. You don’t have to worry about that anymore.

[00:09:59] And your in-house employees don’t have to worry about that anymore. And freelances are a little bit different because these can be just people. These can be individuals who are experts. It can be graphic. Design can be writers, can be a audio engineers, whatever they can do from their own offices or even their own homes.

[00:10:19] These people do not work for one company. They work for several companies and they don’t have a long-term commitment with the companies except for the project they’re working on. Now if there is a contract and you want some people to work for you for just short periods, to just finish certain projects, you call these contractors.

[00:10:39] These people might come to your office. They might work from your offices, but they’re just going to be there for a short time or on a temporary basis. Okay. So that’s continued. So we talked about contractors and freelancers, and they often expect flexibility with people moving to different jobs when necessary.

[00:10:59] But for many employees, this means job insecurity. That feeling that they might not be in their job for long that here, we’re talking about contractors and freelancers. With contractors and freelancers, there is a lot of flexibility for both the company and the employees. I’m not going to call them employees.

[00:11:16] They are freelancers, but at the same time, there’s a certain level of job insecurity that comes with it. All right. So what about you, Ben? Would you prefer to be a part of the in-house staff or a freelancer? Definitely a freelancer because I have more freedom and more control on my own schedule. I can work more when I need to, and I can take vacations whenever I want, or I can focus on other personal projects when I want to.

[00:11:41] But you know, being a freelancer doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work every day. That’s a common misconception. If you want to be a favorable freelancer and you want companies to give you jobs, you have to be consistent. And you have to show up or not exactly show up, but you have to accept a certain amount of jobs.

[00:12:00] If you keep projecting jobs from companies, they’re not going to offer you these jobs anymore, no matter how good you are, because they need somebody, they can rely on. Even if you are a freelancer. But at the same time, under reasonable conditions, you can reject a couple of jobs because you have something else to do, or you just want to take it easy and relax for a month, or even to work on some personal project, just do nothing or whatever.

[00:12:26] You know, there is more freedom. There is more flexibility, but within reasonable bounds, you can not expect companies just to wait for you. Whenever you’re ready. You have to be ready when they need you. Even if you are a freelancer. All right. So we talked about career paths. We talked about company structure, in-house staff and freelancers.

[00:12:45] And now that leaves us with the very last point we want to focus on in today’s episode. And that is leaving a company. Well, when you leave a company, there are usually two ways. You leave a company because you want to leave the company or you leave a company because they make you leave. Can we just talk about the difference between these two specially about the words we use to describe both situations?

[00:13:06] Well, of course, to leave a company you can resign or hand in your notice, we say resign or hand in your notice. When you hand in your notice, you tell the company that you’re leaving, but you give them a notice because you have to stay for a month or two or three. Depends on how long you’ve been working for the company.

[00:13:23] You can just leave on the same day. You know what I mean? You have to train some other people who might want to come and take those responsibilities. So you hand in your notice, you’ll resign obviously is another word for it, but that is when you want to leave on your own accord. You want to leave, you decide to leave because of any reason, maybe you want to start your own business or you found a better job who knows, but that is when you decide to leave.

[00:13:47] But if you do something wrong and you are forced to leave the company, we don’t say that you’ll resign. You say you are dismissed, terminated, fired, or sacked, or even there is an expression you are given this app, you can be dismissed, terminated, fired, or sacked. That means you are forced to leave the company because usually you did something wrong.

[00:14:09] Well, it doesn’t mean that you did, but at least the company sees it this way. Maybe you are innocent. Who knows? Maybe you’re not. These are the words we use when we have the situation. But there’s even a third situation. If you’ve done nothing wrong and the companies still want to let you go, we use different words.

[00:14:25] We say you are laid off. You are made redundant, or you are offered early retirement. Maybe because as we said earlier, the company’s restructuring or they’re downsizing. Maybe they’re losing money and they can’t afford to pay all the staff. They have to let some people go. They’re downsizing the company.

[00:14:43] So here they’re letting you go. Not because you did anything wrong. But simply because they can’t afford you anymore or they have different plans. So here, if this is the situation we say, you are laid off, made redundant or offered early retirement. Thank you very much for being with us today, Ben, and for our listeners.

[00:15:04] Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast. Let me remind you that you can take your English to the next level and practice the things we’ve talked about here. If you take the link, you can find in description and go to our website, English plus You will find their exercises, a PDF downloadable worksheet with its answer key so that you can check everything you’ve done.

[00:15:26] Don’t assume that you can remember everything just by listening to them once, because usually we’ll start forgetting, starting from tomorrow. Don’t do that. Don’t miss this opportunity and take the link. And again, I want to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast.

[00:15:41] This is your host, Danny. I will see you next time.


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<a href="" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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