495 Job Description

Steve talks about his job and what he does.

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Andy: Alright, Steve, can I ask you a few questions about your job?

Steve: You certainly may.

Andy: OK, what exactly do you do?

Steve: Well, I work for a publishing company named Longman and I'm one of the sales reps that is based in your Osaka office. (OK) Each of the sales reps have a given territory so I cover the Western Japan region for Longman.

Andy: That's a pretty big region.

Steve: It is indeed. It is. It is Andy, yeah.

Andy: Do you get a lot of travelling for that?

Steve: We do indeed, yeah. Basically, my main job is to go around to the universities, to some extent the high schools and the private language schools and to see what their needs are, see what kind of books they are using. We are also increasing, we're promoting CD-ROMS and e-learning as well as the tradional textbooks.

Andy: Very nice. Very nice. What kind of schools are buying your books?

Steve: Well, again the university is a huge part of it because in Japan the first year students and to some extent the second year students have compulsory English education. There's a lot of teachers who have big classes, large enough classes that it makes it very much worth our while to visit those universities and make sure that those teachers are using as many of our books as possible.

Andy: You mentioned e-learning, like CALL, computer based (Yes, indeed, yeah) English. Is that growing?

Steve: It is. It is. I mean, it's growing quite slowly because it takes a lot of time for the decision making process, to say for example, a Japanese university to kick in and to invest in our CD_ROM's.

Andy: Yeah, sure, plus first they need to have a computer room.

Steve: They do indeed, yeah, yeah.

Andy: That's a big investment.

Steve: But they already made a huge investment in the hardware, and it's actually not a huge leap of faith to persuade them to invest a little bit in the software as well, and the people we have using our software, they're really getting a lot of enjoyment out of it, they're enjoying interacting, not only with the teachers but with the computers as well, and getting immediate feedback with what we're doing.

Andy: Um, so you have stuff for windows and the mac, or are they platform based?

Steve: That's a little bit of a problem actually, Andy. Most of our software is only supporting the windows platform, but a few things because we noticed that a lot of the university teachers in Japan prefer the Mac platform, we are moving somewhat slowly in that area but we are producing more software to support the Mac platform.

Andy: Ah very nice.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

sales rep or cover

I work for a publishing company as a sales rep and I cover the Western Japan region.

'Sales rep' is short for 'sales representative,' and it is a person who travels around and tries to find new buyers of specific products.  The area that he sells in is the area that he 'covers.' Notice the following:

  1. She has been a cosmetic sales rep for nearly ten years.
  2. He covers the eastern part of Canada.

to some extent

My main job is to go around to the universities and, to some extent, the high schools.

'To some extent' means 'partly.' The example is saying that part of the responsibility is to go to high schools. Notice the following:

  1. I think, to some extent, it's easier to get around if you live in a city.
  2. To some extent, I understand what he is saying.


In Japan, first and second year students have compulsory English education.

Something that is 'compulsory' is necessary or an obligation. Notice the following:

  1. We have a compulsory meeting for all employees on Friday.
  2. This class is compulsory for all new students.

worth our while

Those large classes makes it very much worth our while to visit those universities.

Something that is 'worth your while' is worth the effort that you put into it. Notice the following:

  1. I don't know if it will be worth our while to go all the way there if we are only going to be there for a little while.
  2. Now I'm beginning to wonder if all that extra school was really worth my while.

kick in

It takes a lot of time for the decision making process to kick in and for them to invest in our CD-ROMs.

Something 'kicks in' when it starts working. Notice the following:

  1. All of these policies will kick in next year.
  2. I'm waiting for my medicine to kick in, so I can feel better.

huge leap of faith

It's actually not a huge leap of faith to persuade them to invest a little bit.

When you take a 'leap of faith,' you trust what someone is tell you, and you take a risk. Notice the following:

  1. Many people took a huge leap of faith by voting for him.
  2. Investing that much money in a new company was a huge leap of faith.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
sales • covered • extent
compulsory • worth • faith • kicking
  1. My company really took a leap of when they hired me.
  2. It is that all students wear uniforms to school.
  3. I think he is trying, to some, to understand why she is reacting this way.
  4. We will have many additional promotions in next week.
  5. Did you feel like the experience was your while?
  6. Many reps get a bonus for high sales.
  7. He has the same sales region for almost 20 years.