Unit 2. Your job and career I work for a medium-sized, family-owned business. We offer specialized services to the construction industry. I personally specialize in lighting installations inside buildings – my background is in electrical engineering. I'm responsible for the initial contact with the client - I visit them at their offices and discuss their needs. My role is to talk to the architects and the developers, to try to persuade them of the importance of modern lighting design inside a building.
I show them how it can create a good working atmosphere and add to a company's image. I explain our track record in this field and show them a portfolio of other lighting installations that we've done.
Once the initial contact has been made and the client is ready for a detailed proposal, I take a back seat for a while. Somebody else looks at the detailed specifications for the installation and then another colleague researches the cost of the labour and materials. Those two people work under me, and I supervise their work quite closely. Finally our legal department draws up the proposal. I oversee the whole process and sign off the proposal before it's sent to the client.
There are a number of other people that I liaise with on a day-to-day basis. We have an Office Manager who handles incoming calls, organizes my schedule and keeps on top of the filing and administration. And then outside the company I have close contact with the architects and with the project management team responsible for the whole construction.
I report to the Head of Business Development, and she reports directly to the CEO, so there are not many layers in the company and it's not at all bureaucratic.
My work is challenging, of course, because it involves both a sales function and a technical function - and every project is different. But the atmosphere in the office is great. It's very informal and I'm on first-name terms with everyone, even the CEO.
So that's me. Now about my wife. Well, she works for a large, multinational bank with its head office in Switzerland. It's a back-office function - she works in the loans department. Her job involves checking the credit history of companies who want to borrow money, and then assessing the risk of the loan. She deals with both small and medium enterprises. She's doing well - she was promoted last year.
Now she's in charge of a small team of four people, so there's a management dimension to her job as well; it's not simply number-crunching.