新视野大学英语综合教程3课文及课文翻译

1 It is not surprising that modern children tend to look blank and dispirited when informed that they will someday have to "go to work and make a living". The problem is that they cannot visualize what work is in corporate America.

2 Not so long ago, when a parent said he was off to work, the child knew very well what was about to happen. His parent was going to make something or fix something. The parent could take his offspring to his place of business and let him watch while he repaired a buggy or built a table.

3 When a child asked, "What kind of work do you do, Daddy?" his father could answer in terms that a child could come to grips with, such as "I fix steam engines" or "I make horse collars".

4 Well, a few fathers still fix steam engines and build tables, but most do not. Nowadays, most fathers sit in glass buildings doing things that are absolutely incomprehensible to children. The answers they give when asked, "What kind of work do you do, Daddy?" are likely to be utterly mystifying to a child.

5 "I sell space." "I do market research." "I am a data processor." "I am in public relations." "I am a systems analyst." Such explanations must seem nonsense to a child. How can he possibly envision anyone analyzing a system or researching a market?

6 Even grown men who do market research have trouble visualizing what a public relations man does with his day, and it is a safe bet that the average systems analyst is as baffled about what a space salesman does at the shop as the average space salesman is about the tools needed to analyze a system.

7 In the common everyday job, nothing is made any more. Things are now made by machines. Very little is repaired. The machines that make things make them in such a fashion that they will quickly fall apart in such a way that repairs will be prohibitively expensive. Thus the buyer is encouraged to throw the thing away and buy a new one. In effect, the machines are making junk.

8 The handful of people remotely associated with these machines can, of course, tell their inquisitive children "Daddy makes junk". Most of the workforce, however, is too remote from junk production to sense any contribution to the industry. What do these people do?

9 Consider the typical 12-story glass building in the typical American city. Nothing is being made in this building and nothing is being repaired, including the building itself. Constructed as a piece of junk, the building will be discarded when it wears out, and another piece of junk will be set in its place.

10 Still, the building is filled with people who think of themselves as working. At any given moment during the day perhaps one-third of them will be talking into telephones. Most of these conversations will be about paper, for paper is what occupies nearly everyone in this building.

11 Some jobs in the building require men to fill paper with words. There are persons who type neatly on paper and persons who read paper and jot notes in the margins. Some persons make copies of paper and other persons deliver paper. There are persons who file paper and persons who unfile paper.

12 Some persons mail paper. Some persons telephone other persons and ask that paper be sent to them. Others telephone to ascertain the whereabouts of paper. Some persons confer about paper. In the grandest offices, men approve of some paper and disapprove of other paper.

13 The elevators are filled throughout the day with young men carrying paper from floor to floor and with vital men carrying paper to be discussed with other vital men.

14 What is a child to make of all this? His father may be so eminent that he lunches with other men about paper. Suppose he brings his son to work to give the boy some idea of what work is all about. What does the boy see happening?

15 His father calls for paper. He reads paper. Perhaps he scowls at paper. Perhaps he makes an angry red mark on paper. He telephones another man and says they had better lunch over paper.

16 At lunch they talk about paper. Back at the office, the father orders the paper retyped and reproduced in quintuplicate, and then sent to another man for comparison with paper that was reproduced in triplicate last year.

17 Imagine his poor son afterwards mulling over the mysteries of work with

a friend, who asks him, "What's your father do?" What can the boy reply? "It beats me," perhaps, if he is not very observant. Or if he is, "Something that has to do with making junk, I think. Same as everybody else."

在美国大公司工作

要是有人跟现在的孩子说他们长大后要“去工作以谋生”,他们往往会表现出一脸

的茫然和沮丧,这并不奇怪。问题在于,他们想象不出美国的大公司里都有哪些工作。

早些年,当家长说他要去工作了,孩子很清楚他去做什么。他不是去制造东西就是去修理东西。父亲可能会带着孩子去他干活的地方,让他看着自己修四轮小车,或是做桌子。

要是孩子问“爸爸,您是干什么的?”,爸爸会用孩子能理解的语言回答,比如:“我是修蒸汽机的”,或者“我是做马项圈的”。

现在还是有些父亲在修蒸汽机或是做桌子,但绝大多数人都不干这个了。现在,大多数的父亲坐在有玻璃外墙的大楼里,做着孩子们根本理解不了的工作。当被问到“爸爸,您做什么工作?”时,他们的回答往往让孩子大惑不解。

“我是推销空间的。”“我做市场研究的。”“我是数据处理员。”“我在公关部工作。”“我是系统分析师。”这些解释对小孩子来说肯定是毫无意义的。他怎么可能想象得出一个人是怎么去分析系统和研究市场的呢?

即使是那些从事市场研究工作的成年人也很难想象公关部的人每天都在做些什么,一名普通的系统分析师肯定不知道空间推销员在店里都干些什么,就好像空间推销员对分析系统的工具也一窍不通一样。

在普通的日常工作中,没有什么东西是手工制作出来的了。现在什么东西都是机器生产的。也极少有东西需要修理。机器生产出来的东西很容易散架,而这样的东西要拿去修理的话费用非常高,不值得。于是消费者被怂恿着把那东西扔了,再买个新的。事实上,机器是在生产垃圾。

少数跟这些机器能搭上点关系的人当然可以对喜欢追根究底的孩子说:“爸爸是制造垃圾的。”但是,大多数劳动者离生产垃圾的现场很远,根本感受不到自己对垃圾制造业的贡献。那这些人到底在做些什么呢?

想想美国城市里一栋典型的12层玻璃外墙的楼房吧。在这栋楼里,没有什么被生产出来,也没有什么在被修理着,连楼房本身也用不着修。这栋楼本来就是被当成一件垃圾建造起来的,所以当大楼变得破旧了,就会被当做垃圾扔掉,在原地盖一栋新的垃圾楼。

即便如此,大楼里仍然挤满了自以为是在工作的人。一天中任何一个时间里,大概会有三分之一的人在打电话。电话里说的大都与文件有关,因为整栋楼里几乎每一个人都在为文件而忙前忙后。

大楼里的有些工作需要有人在文件上写字。有些人要把文字工整地打成文件,有些人要看文件,并在页边空白处作批注。有的人要复印文件,有的则在递送文件。有的人把文件存档,有的则往外取文件。

有些人寄文件,有些则打电话让别人把文件送过来。有的人打电话打听文件在哪儿,有的则在商讨文件。在最豪华的办公室里,有的文件经审议通过了,有的则被驳回。

电梯里从早到晚都挤满了把文件从一层楼送到另一层楼的年轻人,以及拿着文件的重要人士,他们正要和其他重要人士商讨文件。

一个孩子怎么能理解这一切呢?也许他父亲身居要职,午餐时都要和别人讨论文件。试想他带着儿子来上班,让孩子对他的工作有一些概念。孩子能看到些什么呢?

他父亲打电话让别人送文件过来,他读文件。可能他会冲着文件发火,或是在文件上用红笔愤怒地打个记号。他打电话告诉另一个人,说中午最好一起吃饭讨论有关文件的问题。

午饭时,他们讨论文件。回到办公室,父亲让人把文件重新输入并一式五份重新打印好给另一个人,那个人要把这份文件和去年一式三份的那份文件作比较。

可以想象,在这之后如果有小伙伴问他“你爸爸是做什么的?”,这个可怜的孩子和他的小伙伴都会对这种神秘的工作百思不得其解。他会怎么回答呢?如果他的观察力不够敏锐,他也许会说:“我说不清。”如果他非常善于观察,他会回答说:“我想,是做跟制造垃圾相关的工作吧。跟其他任何人一样。”

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