Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 4

  1. Describe an unpleasant job you did.
  • What the job was
  • When you did it
  • Why you found it unpleasant
  • How you felt about it
  • Well, describing my unpleasant job now is a confession of what I did in my previous job. In fact, it was hard for me to carry this burden for some time.
  • But this is the right opportunity for me to relieve somewhat from my misdeeds
  • Last year, I joined a small-sized corporation, which had the strength of only 25 employees. I joined as a software designer. My job paid me well also
  • I happened to be a part of workplace toxicity. I was one of the contributors of all the mess, which I had realized that I shouldn’t have done that after quitting the job
  • Here the story goes! Our boss rebuked our team leader on one project in which the company had not only incurred the loss but also faced the humiliation of being late in completing the project. The follow-on deal of the company got terminated based on the previous project work progression
  • Obviously, the front line, I mean our team leader, had to face the ire of the boss, but this simple thing I didn’t understand that it was a part of professional life
  • Our team leader took it to himself personally and turned a saboteur (= collaborator of the enemy). A couple of other coworkers including myself joined this toxic force without any reason
  • We either delayed other projects or delivered a low quality on other projects on purpose. Again, the company had to bear the loss, and they fired our team leader
  • In friendship, we also quit the job and joined others
  • However, after a few months later, I realized it was absolutely unacceptable and unethical on my part
  • I asked a question to myself, “What would I have done if I were a boss.” I had my answer and started cursing for such a crime that I did
  • There was no way I could atone my misdeeds, but I felt disclosing all those unscrupulous (= corrupt, deceitful) activities and thoughts with my boss.  I apologized for my acts and took an oath of not sabotaging anybody’s reputation ever in my life

Follow-up questions:

  • How do modern technologies influence people?

Modern technologies have greatly influenced people from all walks of life. Technology has made complex ways of working easier, and it’s a great boon to humankind, I would say. In our personal lives, it has brought the world closer than ever before. Today, we can chat with our friends and relatives who are miles away from us through various apps instantly. In our work life, there are several apps and software that have streamlined our job duties. We can track the productivity of every team member by which we can help our company to grow swiftly. Overall, words will fall short to describe and admire the presence of technology in our life.

  • Do people now work lesser than in the past because of technological advancement?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think otherwise. For example, let’s talk about lazy workers at the workplace. In the absence of technology, they had their ways to underperform but would prove themselves as if they had been outperformers. But technology doesn’t lie, and it catches every piece of inertia. For performers, it keeps on reminding your task. The moment you are away from your objectives and goals, it brings you back to the source. Constant reminders and tracking never allow you to sit idle. So, all in all, I would say technological advancement has increased the burden of duties by multifold, but, undoubtedly, it has streamlined our jobs and organized our work schedules smartly for maximizing growth.  

  • Will people work less in the future?

I don’t think so. On the contrary, they will be besieged with innumerable challenges that we might not be facing currently. The world is getting competitive in all aspects, so you’ve gotta put your all things at stake to stay ahead in the race. Additionally, in the near future, we will be competing with humanoids, robots, smart corporations that have inducted artificial intelligence and automation to produce merchandise and drive future sales through economies of scale. Hence, for hard workers, whether they are with or without technology, they will be slogging hard for sure. And those who are incompetent or lazy, they work less now, and the same tradition will continue for them in the future.    

  • What does it make people successful?

The one-word answer is discipline. You’ve gotta be disciplined in what you do. Most people take things for granted and fail to understand the significance of opportunity that they have gotten. Successful people create opportunities for themselves and others, and they keep on striving to challenge their own creations/ideas time after time. Most successful people don’t shy away from accepting their failures. Rather, they believe them as a learning lesson for another creation/job. Dynamics and challenges keep changing with time, and they test your experience now and then. Some people get blinded with their success, and sometimes they end up being a one-trick pony (= a person with only one feature, talent, or area of expertise), whereas successful people keep learning and adapting to new challenges. They leave no stone unturned to develop and update skills.

  • Do successful people have different abilities?

Some have different abilities but not to all. Yet they mark their success in the long term. Successful people learn how to get things done. That’s their specialty. They never bog down to threats and challenges, rather they convert them to lifelong opportunities. They have resolute conviction in what they do. For example, the world laughed at Steve Jobs in the beginning when he talked about the touchpad screen on the mobile phone. Detractors (= critic, defamer) riled (= annoy, exasperate) him profusely and tagged him as a wacko man. But, deep inside his heart and mind, he knew that the Querty pad will be obsolete one day. And, here we are! He challenged the status quo in the smartphone industry, and he brought everyone to his vision: Touchpad Phones.

  • Are the genetics of successful people different?

I don’t think so. Some people are born successful, whereas others learn from their mistakes and improvise from the hindsight (= experience, recollection, knowledge). There’s another section of people who get inspired by the surroundings. Therefore, I don’t think that it has to do anything with genetics. I can tell you countless examples wherein children of successful people are super-duper failures in all their ventures. For example, the son of the great test match batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, did not taste any success in the world of cricket. Hardly, people know his name. So, the bottom line is a success isn’t a monopoly of any person, caste, creed, religion, or anything else.

  • How does innovation influence global progress?

Innovation is the mother of breakthrough technologies. Without innovations, today, we would have been riding on camels or horses for commuting. It’s a constant process, and we, humankind, must thank all the innovators for whatever they have created because it has eased our lives.

Innovation makes things easier for all countries to do trade. For example, the internet has brought the world closer than ever before. Today, by emailing and exchanging information and valuable papers with one another anywhere in the world has propelled (= drive, shoot, push) business growth. Just imagine how businessmen did trade in the absences of air cargos and ships. We can think of having anything at our doorstep due to the many innovations made by outliers.

2. Describe an important piece of news that you received via a text message.

  • Who shared the message with you
  • What the news was about
  • How it was written
  • Explain why the news was important
  • Our cellphones are filled with countless messages, and this digital junk has no value on most occasions unless they are of need
  • I would like to share with you one of the important messages that I received around six months ago
  • My cousin, Siffat, lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She did her master’s degree and decided to stay back in New Zealand
  • She had been hunting for a better job for a long time but in vain
  • Because of her consistent failure to obtain the desired job, she remained dejected (= disheartened, discouraged) and upset
  • Everybody in the family was worried about her struggle. She is a very talented girl and deserves a beautiful life
  • She persevered for her job hunt, and finally, she made progress in her career and got the job that she wanted
  • So, it went like this. I wake up and check my phone. I read a notification of a new message, reading ‘Siffat Sis’. Generally, she sends messages via Whatsapp, but this was a regular text message, so it was bizarre
  • The message read, “Woohoo! Hey, couch potato (= idler, lazy person). I made it. I’ve got a job respecting my credentials in the Finance Dept. at AIG.” And, there was a stanza of a Hindi song reading, “Aaj me upar, aasman niche.”
  • It was such encouraging and good news for everyone in the family
  • I was happy for her success because we share a strong bond
  • We both did school together up to higher secondary and always helped each other during all good and bad times

Follow-up questions:

  • Why do some people dislike sending text messages?

Well, as long as a short message is sent or received, I don’t think people would hate it. But, certainly, most people hate writing a long message including me. It takes a lot of time and effort to compose a long message. It’s just boring! This is my take. But we don’t know how people think about this messaging service. Some people rather believing in talking to someone over the phone than texting a message. To them, it’s a waste of time. At the same time, some people get annoyed at receiving calls, and they rather prefer to be contacted by text messages only.

  • What is the information that cannot be communicated via text message?

There could be many pieces of information that are believed not to be sent through messages. Some information contains vital or classified items. If they get viral or get into the wrong hands, it could damage someone’s reputation, or somebody’s money or peace of mind could be robbed of. For example, phishing is a usual way to siphon the money off your account. Sometimes we receive messages asking us for our personal details, such as PAN card, credit card number, one-time password, Aadhar card, and others. If you share these details by mistake with someone, you could surely be in trouble. Hence, people must exercise restrain while sharing such information.

  • How do people in India deliver important information?

We’ve ways to transmit vital information to our friends, family, or clients. The best medium that’s believed to be in vogue (= practice, fad, popular) is through email. It’s quick and cheap. Some people in the business also share business details or requirements through WhatsApp. I personally don’t like this mode of communication in the business, but it’s quite popular in my country. Where original papers are needed to be sent, people yet rely on the traditional method of courier via DTDC, Blue Dart, Express Post, or DHL.

  • What do you think of traditional paper mails?

The significance of paper mails has diminished a great deal these days. However, it has not become obsolete (= archaic, antiquated) yet because there are tens of thousands of people across the globe who believe in verifying, receiving, or sending original papers to the opposite party. Plus, we cannot expect all the people to be well versed with technology. Some people may not have access to technology, and they use traditional methods of communication. I foresee a further downward on the traditional paper mails. However, when it happens is a matter of a question.

  • Do you think it is still a good way to deliver information using traditional mails?

To me, it has some merits depending upon what you are sending or receiving. For example, valuable papers such as passports, property documents, I20s, legal papers, and business agreements among others carry substantial weight and relevant authorities may not accept them in other formats such as photocopy, pdf version, or through electronic mail. Apart from these papers, I think we should use advanced technologies of communication to save time and money both.

  • Have our ways to communicate with each other changed in recent years?

Yes, in fact, it has changed a great deal. It’s just like the evolution of humans. In the past, we had a telegram to send urgent messages. Then, we were promoted to trunk calls. People had to book a trunk call with the telecom authority, and they would connect you with the other party in other states. Then after, we had paid STD, ISD, and PCO for making calls and sending messages. Pagers came in life, but they were short-lived. I would say that they died before they were born. In the late nineties, we saw the world of communication changed dramatically. Cellphones made their ways with resounding success, and now they have been replaced by smartphones. I don’t know what lies ahead in the future. It’s quite a transformation, especially in the last thirty years. Technological advancements are challenging all the traditional ways of doing business, communicating, studying, and way of thinking.

  • What are the advantages of sending messages via social apps?

The one-word answer is ‘Fun’. Social apps have made the digital platform alive, unlike in the past, which was banal. You have emojis to attach to your message that signifies your mood while sending a message. Otherwise, people might take your message in a bad taste because at the end of the day, it is technology, and it does not deal with emotions and other expressions. Therefore, this feature of social apps has had tremendous success in the present. After the lockdowns of coronavirus in the world, things have changed further. People love connecting to each other via Facetime, Google Duo, Zoom, Jiomeet, and other platforms. People rather pick up the phone and connect to others using such kinds of popular apps. So, the writing and reading part is almost gone. Again, I would say, “quite a transformation.”

3. Describe a volunteering experience you have had.

  • What it was
  • Where it was
  • Why you volunteered
  • How you felt about it
  • This topic reminds me of my school time because it was mandatory for us from Grade 9 to Grade 12 to participate in community welfare jobs targeted on various causes
  • But today, I would like to recount a volunteering experience which I had more recently, not far back
  • The entire world has faced a novel calamity named ‘Coronavirus pandemic’. Coronavirus originated in China and spread throughout the world like wildfire in no time
  • Ever since it came, the world is a different place now
  • This pandemic is not over yet, and every nation is struggling to contain the spread of it
  • During this testing time, we saw many people came forward to do a bit, and so did I.
  • You would have seen or heard that many people or not-for-profit organizations came to rescue migrant workers, feed underprivileged (= disadvantaged, destitute, needy) people, assist health workers or police officers and whatnot
  • The whole country saw a complete lockdown for almost two months. It was like, “Life has stopped all of sudden, and it was frightening for sure”
  • I wanted to do my part during this medical crisis and assessed the situation. I realized that there were almost none who worried about stray animals and birds. Who would feed them? Because most of the time, people like us feed them or they scavenge (= search for or collect (anything usable) from discarded waste) from our leftovers (= extra, unused, residual, surplus).
  • So, I started feeding stray dogs and birds every day. I would pack up food for birds and animals and travel to several places to feed them
  • I felt myself as if I were a Superman for these mute creatures, and this job offered me solace, especially when I looked into the eyes of dogs. They were kind of thanking me every day. Their love and thanking look gave me the motive to do more for them
  • I’m also thankful to police officers on duty. Sometimes they stopped me because the public movement was prohibited, but the moment they learnt my motive of traveling, they let me go and appreciated my job
  • I felt that this was part of humanity. You couldn’t get better than seeing hungry birds and animals eat or waiting for you as if you were their family members. I guess the compassion (= empathy, humanity, kindness) inside me activated further. It was dormant for the years, and now it has given me a purpose to help these beautiful creatures. It’s really cool

Follow-up questions:

  • What qualities are required for being a volunteer?

There could be several qualities required to be a good volunteer. I think that the volunteer should be altruistic (= charitable, philanthropic, humanitarian) because without this quality, probably he cannot perform his duty diligently. In other words, he won’t be able to justify his job. Volunteering is not a commercial business where you think of making money. But it’s a selfless act, and I believe very few people on earth have such selflessness. Moreover, I believe that the volunteer must be driven naturally to fulfill his desire to address the cause. For example, I’m an animal lover, I don’t need any reason to serve them under whichever capacity I do my acts. The motive drives you to do something for which you may not be applauded or recognized. So, the bottom line is you talk to yourself and you satisfy yourself by doing these noble acts.

  •  What type of personality does a volunteer have?

I guess genuine volunteers are magnanimous, kind, and altruistic people. They are full of compassion for various causes. Some are driven to help humans and others are there to make the world a better place to live. The quality of serving for the community welfare comes from the heart, without thinking of quantifying gains or publicity. Some people believe in giving back to society because they feel that’s the noblest job they could do in their life. For example, Ratan Tata is considered as the greatest philanthropist in India because he is always there to assist downtrodden (= needy, exploited, destitute) people or when the country needs him the most. Such people leave aside their priorities and rush to help the needy in any difficulty.

  • How can companies engage in volunteering help in our society?

It has been around two decades or so wherein large corporations have realized the value of giving back to society. Therefore, it’s a common sight when you visit their websites, they will have a button of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Under the CSR initiatives, these corporations mobilize people and resources on targeted causes. For example, the wife of the Indian billionaire, Mukesh Ambani, Nita does a lot of charity. Her not-for-profit organization feeds people, take hospital expenses of patients who are unable to afford the cost, invest in new ideas wherein the youth are unable to raise the capital for their ventures, and others. All these translate into financial help to people and the country at large. By these benevolent (= benign, generous, philanthropic) acts, she is able to help people to stand on their feet or dream whatever they want.

  • Do you think people nowadays should participate more in volunteering?

Yes, I think so. Just imagine how the human race was like some centuries back. Brutal, or not thinking of anything such as resources, animals, Mother Nature, and among others. Now, things have changed because people have access to the world of information, so they know what’s going on wrong and what’s needed to fix any problem. Humankind has realized the importance of helping each other, and we’ve seen on many occasions that they come forward and volunteer for the right cause. We have calamities whether it’s natural or manmade, but thousands of people flock together and assign themselves to do a benevolent job when needed. They set the right tone and example for the future generation. Volunteering is a symbol of humanity or investing in humanity to uplift society.

  • How do modern technologies assist volunteers and volunteering experience?

Well, I don’t have much idea about it, but I know of sure that technologies make our life easy and assume that it must be doing the same for volunteers. I remember how technology helped one of our animal betterment organizations. They did not have an X-ray machine for animals. So, people raised funds and bought an X-ray machine for making the job easier. Today, any animal which is hit in the road accident, they are immediately diagnosed, treated, and x-rayed in house. In the past, we had to take injured animals to the hospital for getting an x-ray done. This is one example, but there could be many other things by which, I believe, the life of volunteers has become comfortable to deliver their jobs. Or I would say their passion.

4. Describe something difficult you would like to succeed in doing.

  • What it is
  • Why it is difficult
  • How you would like to prepare for it
  • Explain why you would like to be successful in doing it
  • That’s a good question. In fact, it relates to my current situation. I have been trying to get 7.5 band score in the IELTS test for the last three months but in vain
  • I will become eligible for a PR status only when I achieve 8,7,7,7 score in the IELTS test
  • Therefore, I’m putting all my efforts to achieve this target, but I don’t know why I have been failing slightly from the last two tests. In one module, I end up scoring at 6.5 band score, and then I’ve to retake the test all again. That’s frustrating for sure
  • I don’t know what’s wrong with my efforts and preparation. I easily manage to get over 7.5 band score in Listening, Reading, and Speaking, but Writing is my Achilles heel (= damaging weakness, failing, defect)
  • After successive failures, I decided to take the classes of Vinod Gambtoo for my Speaking and Writing this time. Now, I have learnt what mistakes I was making in the past, and hopefully, I’ve corrected them this time and will achieve the required band score
  • I have started to take note of each hardship that I had experienced in my Writing section
  • I realized how important Grammar, Vocabulary, and other parameters if someone desires to get a higher band score. I started paying attention to my mistakes and had all my doubts cleared step by step
  • This time, I have justified my opening and concluding paragraph of my write-up. Plus, I have improvised my performance by addressing the vocabulary part like the right word for the right situation where I was making mistakes in the past. Additionally, I used to overdo my write-up. I mean I had a popular misconception of writing at length, using very heavy words, and writing off the topic. Hence, my write-up was dense and quite haphazard (= random, erratic, casual, careless) when it came to finesse (= competence, skill, savvy, sophistication). These all mistakes dragged my score downward
  • This time, I guess I’ve fine-tuned my preparation and taken care of all those goof-ups (= silly mistake) of the past
  • My trainer has taught me a framework of a good write-up, on which I have practiced hard. Moreover, I started to read the right academic material from which I could take some lesson and improve my performance

5. Describe a time you got lost in a place you did not know about.

  • When it happened
  • Who was with you?
  • What you did
  • How you felt about it
  • Aha! Well, I generally don’t get lost when I travel to places
  • But I remember one occasion where I got lost and found myself nowhere in the middle
  • It was around two years back when my girlfriend and I decided to visit Niagara Falls
  • She had never been to this mesmerizing (= fascinating, enthralling) beauty in her life, whereas I had visited it on several occasions. So, there was confidence, as everyone has when they travel to some places over and over again, that I knew this place better. In fact, no one else knew better than me about this place.
  • As it’s always said that overconfidence is evil. And the same happened to me
  • Around Niagara Falls, there are many interior roads – some of them lead to the US jurisdiction, too – that I took her to show the places around
  • I forgot how to go downtown then. I tried a few ways to arrive at my destination, but that was of no use
  • However, it wasn’t bad though because while I was searching for my destination, she enjoyed the ride with me and was witnessing this marvelous place. In fact, she was having more fun at the cost of my desperation to reach my destination
  • This place is generally not crowded, so you hardly see anyone on the road
  • While I was driving, there came a store, which sold maple syrups, sauces, and other stuff. I pulled over my car there, and we went inside. The owner was in her sixties, and she was really a good lady
  • When I shared my trouble, she guided me the way. Not only this assistance, but she also offered us coffee and talked to us gently. She was all ready to come with us to drop us where we wanted to go, but I rather thought of not troubling her
  • After her road guidance, we arrived at our destination
  • It wasn’t a bad experience because my girlfriend enjoyed the whole ride, and in the end, we happened to meet a noble lady who offered us the best hospitality that she could have offered to anyone

Follow-up questions:

  • Do you often get lost?

In most cases, I generally don’t get lost, especially we have a Google map installed on our phone these days. Plus, I guess I’m good at remembering roads wherever I go in the world. However, the incident that I talked about was one of the rarest ones in my life.

  • Is map-reading skill important?

Certainly, it is. Or you get lost somewhere, and it wastes your time and gasoline. In North America, we cannot think of going to a new place without map-reading because once you have driven the wrong way, it takes miles to return to correct your driving course. Sometimes I wonder how people managed to drive places without ‘Google Map’ in the past. I remember my uncles used to have a book that showed the written navigation, pictures, and maps in it. But, now it’s gone and technology has made our life easy and comfortable to a great extent.

  • Are some people good at map-reading than others?

Well, it’s not rocket science, I guess. Anybody can be good at this basic skill. I don’t think people should be struggling to develop this basic skill. So, my answer is ‘yes’, and most people are good at it.

  • Why do some people like travelling to other places?

I think it all depends on your disposition. I sometimes feel that I’m a born traveler. I always love exploring new places and meeting people around the globe. In one life, if you’ve not traveled to magnificent places, your life is boring. It’s not cool at all. At the same time, some people hate traveling, and they are happy with their routines. They get annoyed at disturbing their routines. Well, I can’t comment on anybody’s way of living as it’s their life. We’re just born with different choices. Moreover, our upbringing and friends around us influence our choices, too. When I was very young, I had friends who always loved to go to different places. Maybe that could be a reason that I’m such. So, it varies from person to person.

  • Should they find information about the place before going there?

It will be handy if you have collated all the information about the place where you are going. Because it saves time and allows you to have more time to enjoy the place. Otherwise, your precious time will be wasted away. In other words, there is something that can surprise you in this crazy helter-skelter (= chaotic, haphazard, hurried) world.

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