miércoles, 9 de diciembre de 2015

Talking point: Risk

This week's talking point is risk. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

What different types of risks do you think people in each of these professions take?
Which do you think are the most/least risky?
firefighter - actor - politician - stock trader - small business owener
How much of a risk taker are you?
What risks, if any, do you take regularly?
What makes you stressed?
How good are you at coping with stress?
What strategies do you use to deal with stress?
When was the last time you dared to take a chance and do something new?
Were you afraid of failure?
How important is security to you?
Do children today have less freedom than in the past?
Are they exposed to less danger?

Have a look at the situations below and try to agree on the two which are the most risky/stressful and the two which are the least risky/stressful.
speak in front of a large audience
speak to a stranger
do a test at college
make a long journey on your own
manage with little money for a while
find a new place to live
take care of little children for a day
complain about bad service in a restaurant

To illustrate the point you can watch the New York Times video on Brent Weingard, who has battled dirt and grime high above New York City for as far as he can remember.

You know, I get up in the morning sometimes, and I get out there on the ledge. I just have to say, God! I love the smell of ammonia in the morning.
We are window cleaners. You know, some people will refer to us as window washers and I know they are either not that knowledgeable of this business or they are trying to put us down.
I’ve been working for thirty-five years, primarily here in New York City. I think heights… we never want to take our equipment for granted or our ability to work safely at great heights, so a certain amount of respect for the height and fear can… is healthy.
We take advantage of this door frame, and it’s a very, very good anchor. So if I were to lose my balance, free fall, one foot, this would certainly stop me, out of luck.
In pre-war buildings and buildings that have been properly renovated they have anchors outside of the windows that we can clip on with our window cleaning belt. First time I used the window cleaning belt I remember going out and just hugging the window as much as I would not lean back on that and trust those anchors enough.
For washing, the universal solvent is water. Added to the water we prefer mostly ammonia and just a squirt of Joy for lubrication. I was visiting my grandmother and I was about ready to clean her windows and she said ‘before you put anything in the water I’ve got the best thing for you’ and she pulled out a bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid and I said, ‘grandmother, that’s what the professionals in New York use’ and she says, ‘that’s right, it’s the best stuff’.
I can think of five occasions, were things we dropped, either a pole or squeegee and it is one of my biggest fears, our care not to drop equipment. We sometimes hold that equipment very tightly, tighter than necessary, kind of a dead grip.
I remember when one of my earliest realizations was my hands cramping at night, feeling very sore but I would say the more wear-and-tear for a window cleaner is in the knees. I’ll be ready for knee replacement.
When I was younger, guys, used to say to me or the super ‘you missed a spot’.  I guess that’s the oldest joke in the window cleaning industry, but I always took them very seriously and I would always try to find that spot and fix it.
Voila! Looks good, eh?