Business English Listening Practice

A Cry For Help - Transcript

A woman calls into a radio show and talks about her distressing workplace situation.

speaker icon

If the audio player above doesn't work, click here to download the audio file.

Dr. Ibsen: Now we have another caller. Sheila from Colorado, thank you for calling Dr. Ibsen's "A Problem Shared", what can I help you with today?

Sheila: Oh, good evening Dr. Ibsen. I'm so nervous about phoning a radio show like this.

Dr. Ibsen: Don't worry, Sheila. Many of our callers are first-time callers.

Sheila: Well, I feel a little embarrassed because I don't think I have a serious problem, not like some of the other callers I listened to. I have a happy marriage and two wonderful children, but I have a few problems at work and I can't find any solutions.

Dr. Ibsen: I think nearly half the calls we receive on this show are about some type of work problem. You must remember that our jobs take up a third of our lives, often more, and if you're not happy at work, then probably you won't be happy in your life. What type of work do you do, Sheila?

Sheila: I work for a large magazine and I'm responsible for selling advertising. It's a very competitive business. There's enormous pressure on me. There isn't anyone helping me. Plus, I'm all alone in a small office without any windows. The stress becomes so bad that I'm having problems sleeping enough every night.

Dr. Ibsen: That sounds terrible. No windows? How can anybody work like that?

Sheila: My boss says it helps everybody to concentrate.

Dr. Ibsen: Concentrate on going crazy, perhaps! How many people work for the magazine, Sheila?

Sheila: Oh, about fifty.

Dr. Ibsen: Do you speak to others about the pressure of work, about not sleeping very well?

Sheila: No, there's no feeling of team spirit in the company, it's just a collection of individuals. I think that's one of the biggest problems really.

Dr. Ibsen: Yes, many companies don't understand the importance of a good support structure in the workplace. Human Resources isn't only about selecting the correct applicant for the job, but also helping and supporting them once they've started working. Do you have any other problems apart from time pressure and the physical office that you have to work in?

Sheila: There are few chances for us to get help. The magazine started ten years ago and there were only six or seven of us then. It's grown so big so fast that I think it's grown too fast.

Dr. Ibsen: And even though there are fifty of you in the office, I think your company still acts and thinks like a start-up.

Sheila: Yes, that's exactly what I said to my husband a few months ago -- it's a puppy trying to be a big dog.

Dr. Ibsen: Okay, the first thing you need to do is speak honestly with your boss. Your boss is not a monster and would like the magazine to be as successful as possible. Having happy workers is an important part of that.

Sheila: Of course. She's a wonderful person.

Dr. Ibsen: Okay, so go and speak to her, explain what you've explained to me tonight. Do you feel nervous thinking about doing that?

Sheila: No, it was actually far more terrifying calling you tonight!

Dr. Ibsen: Right, so you've done the hard part! It's probably something your company, your boss, isn't aware of, this need to provide more support for all the employees. It's not enough for people to collect their pay slips at the end of the month, they need to feel supported, feel comfortable and, yes, feel a little loved.

Sheila: Thank you, Dr. Ibsen, I really do feel a lot better having spoken about it.

Dr. Ibsen: You're welcome, Sheila. Good luck and let us know what happens.

Sheila: I will, thank you. Have a good evening.

© 2001-2024