Be a Polyglot and Make More Money

Many years ago, when cars were basically one size (large), Chevrolet launched a small car line and named the model the ‘Nova.’ It sold quite well in the United States. When Chevrolet began to sell the car in Latin America, where the vast majority of people spoke various dialects of Spanish, the car didn’t sell at all. Only later did Chevrolet learn that the words ‘no va’ means ‘no go’ in Spanish. No one want to buy a car that would ‘no go.’

If you do an Internet search on ‘The Legend of the Chevy Nova,’ you will see this story. You will also find out this story is only a story. It never happened. But even though it is fictitious, it perfectly explains why businesses want to hire people who speak a wide variety of languages. A person who can translate a language in a way that saves the company embarrassment or allows the company to sell more product is a great asset.

But be aware that while employers appreciate people who speak two languages, they pay – a lot – for people who speak languages in the biggest emerging markets (in alphabetical order) listed below:

Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Thailand

Note that while three of the above countries speak Spanish (or a close derivative), some of the other countries don’t even use what we would consider the common alphabet. Because few Americans speak those languages, those who do are far more valuable. That’s the impact of the law of supply and demand at work, of course. The larger the supply, the lower the cost. The more rare the commodity, the higher the cost.

As business evolves into an increasingly global and integrated community, the need for employees who can speak different languages becomes more critical. Communicating with international clients and customers, as well as colleagues located in offices around the world, is becoming a basic business necessity. Understanding local customs and mores is equally important. Job seekers who speak a language that will help a business expand into other markets can be a valuable asset – an asset that the majority of employers pay more to acquire.

The ability to speak another language also increases the number of companies a job-seeker can consider as potential employers. For individuals who decide to seek employment in the Gig Economy as a member of the ‘human cloud,’ speaking a world language can greatly increase the chances of securing contract employment.

Years ago, people believed that learning a second language would only confuse a child. Now, standardized test scores show that children who learn a foreign language when they are very young perform better in their native language than non-bilingual students. Other research has shown that children learning a second language start reading earlier, and their advantage increases the earlier they are exposed to the second language.

If an individual learns a second language later in life, the impact on his or her brain is still enormous. Multiple studies suggest that learning another language improves the brain’s ‘executive function,’ the part of the brain that is used for planning, solving problems, and performing mentally demanding tasks. These improved processes also include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another, and retaining information.

Knowing a World Language will make you more employable. So will the skills you learn in a our Rainmakers Internship Preparation Program (RIPP).

Start now to learn, practice, and apply the skills you will need to earn your future success.
Participate in the RIPP in your school!
If your school has not deployed a RIPP, talk to your school principal and ask that the school do so.

Be a RAINMAKER for the work of your life.

Be a RAINMAKER for the rest of your life.

Learn More