As you move around your home take a good hard look at its contents. It’s likely that your living room will have a television set and a DVD player, and your kitchen a washing machine and tumble drier, maybe also a microwave oven and electric toaster. Your bedroom drawers will be stuffed with almost three times as many clothes as you need. You almost certainly own a car and a home 10 computer, holiday abroad at least once a year and eat out at least once a week. If you could see the volume of rubbish in your dustbin over a year, you would be horrified.
Now, perhaps, more than ever before, people are wondering what life is all about, what it's for. The single-minded pursuit of material success is beginning to trouble large numbers of people around the world. They feel the long-hours work culture to make 20 more money to buy more things is eating up their lives, leaving them precious little time or energy for family or leisure. Many are turning to alternative ways of living and downshifting is one of them.
According to a national consulting group, this new approach to work coincides with radical changes in the employment market, where a job is no longer guaranteed and lifetime employment can only be achieved by 30 taking personal responsibility for your career. Six per cent of workers in Britain took the decision to downshift last year, swapping their highly pressured, stressful positions for less demanding, less time-consuming work which they believe gives them a better balanced life.
One couple who downshifted is Daniel and Liz. They used to work in central London. He was a journalist and she used to work for an international bank. They would commute every day from their large house in the suburbs, leaving their two children with a nanny. Most evenings Daniel wouldn’t get home until eight or nine o’clock, and nearly twice a month tit would have to fly to New York for meetings: They both earned a large amount of money but began to feel that life was passing them by.
Nowadays, they run a farm in the mountains of Wales. “I always wanted to have a farm here,” says Daniel, “and we took almost a year to make the decision to downshift. It’s taken some getting used to, but it’s been worth it. We have to think twice now about spending money on car repairs and we м longer have any holidays. However, I think it’s made us stronger as a family, and the children are a lot happier.”
Liz, however, is not totally convinced. I used to enjoy my job, even though it was hard work and long hours. I'm not really a country girl, but I suppose I’m gradually getting used to looking after the animals. One thing I do like though is being able to see more of my children. My tip for other people wanting to do the same is not to think about it too much or you might not do it at all.”
1. According to the writer, people are beginning to rethink their lives because
A they feel too dependent on their possessions.
В they are worried about the amount of rubbish they throw away.
С they want to spend time doing other things.
D their families object to their working so hard.
2. What does the writer say about the employment market?
A There aren’t many jobs nowadays.
В It’s difficult to keep a company job for life.
С You have to look hard to find a job yourself.
D It’s changing all the time.
3. When Daniel was a journalist he used to
A live in central London.
В dislike his job.
С miss his children.
D be highly paid.
4. What has Daniel’s reaction been to moving to Wales?
A He’s happy that he's now fulfilled an ambition.
В He felt at home on the farm almost immediately.
С He misses the holidays they used to have abroad.
D He is sorry that they made the decision to move too quickly.
5. Daniel and Liz both agree that the move
A was difficult to organise.
В has improved family life.
С to a farm was expensive.
D has been a total success.
6. What does the highlighted word “tip” mean?
A a good idea
В a clue
С a word of advice
D a warning
7. What does the highlighted pronoun “it” refer to?
A her tip
В her job
С having animals
8. Why was this text written?
A To warn people of the problems of downshifting.
В To tell people how to downshift.
С To make people aware of a new social trend.
DTo prove that having a good job doesn’t make you happy.
11.1. The following extract is from a report by British Telecom, who have set up a project team to evaluate the development of teleworking in Britain. Look first at the section headings. Then read the report and match the headings to their correct sections. There are three extra headings which do not belong to the report.
A Teleworking and Social Contact
B The Development of Teleworking
C Current Trends in Society
D A Definition of Teleworking
E The Technology of Teleworking
F The Problems of Teleworking
G The Benefits of Teleworking
H Career Opportunities in Teleworking
I Teleworking and Employment Issues