Working at an English-speaking company is easier than you think!


November 19, 2012

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to work in a company where everyone spoke English? Do you imagine that you'd need to reach a really high level of English fluency to do that?

The truth is, you're probably closer than you think!

This week, I was talking with a friend who started a new job. She's not a native English speaker, but all of her new coworkers are. Naturally my friend was concerned about what her new coworkers think of her English ability. Although she's been living in the U.S. for years, she was still worried about whether her English was "good enough".

My friend's English is totally "good enough". And yours might be too.

Native English speakers, especially ones in big cities, are used to speaking with foreigners. In every job I've ever had, there have been several non-native English speakers. I've worked with foreign teachers, IT analysts, accountants, salespeople, designers, office managers, and even writers.

They have accents, and sometimes their spelling isn't perfect. But no one pays much attention to those things. We just treat non-English-native colleagues the same way as everyone else. If there are communcation problems, we may get annoyed but we'll get over it quickly. Never have I heard of someone getting fired because their English ability wasn't high enough.

You'll also be surprised to find out how much of the language at work is specific to the job. Most jobs really have a language of their own (which we call "jargon"). This is something that native English speakers have to learn just like you do. The amount of jargon you have to learn is usually small. Once you learn it, you'll probably be able to talk about 90% of your job with just as much fluency as anyone else.

So if you're interested in working for an American, British, or other English-based company, I say go for it! Don't wait. Make sure that your resumé is well-written and practice a lot for your interview. But don't screen yourself out because you're worried about your English ability.

Have you ever worked in an English-speaking environment? Would you like to? Leave your comments below!


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