2/9/07 – I can't tell you how many times in the course of a day I have a communication breakdown with someone. It almost always revolves around the language barrier. I don't understand them, they don't get me--everyone's frustrated and ticked off.
It looks like it's only going to get worse according to a new report from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The equation is simple enough. As more and more baby boomers retire, more and more immigrants will be taking their place in the job market. Many of these immigrants will be less educated and less fluent in English.
I have been warning about this for years. In doing so, I was called a racist, a xenophobe and far worse. But it's only common sense. The ETS study warns of not only a less literate workforce, but a declining middle class as well.
There is nothing wrong with asking for more educated immigrants. There is no shame in wanting millions of newcomers to speak our language and to understand how our country operates. It is not yet too late to stem the tide of this trend. But we can't wait several more decades.
Next time you are having a nervous breakdown trying to get the cashier to understand what you are ordering, remember it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Strong communication is everything. It can prevent divorces and wars. It can save you time, energy, and money. We're all on the same team. Let's start acting like it.