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(For information on ordering a video copy of the Livelyhood "Planet Work" contact The Working Group at 510-268-WORK or email info@livelyhoodtv.org)

Use these tips to prepare your students to view the program thoughtfully:

Read the summary of the show to familiarize yourself with its contents.

Ask these questions to begin a discussion of the ways in which work and employment are changing as a result of the global economy.

What does the term "global economy" mean?

What technologies make it easier for companies and individuals to do global business?

Do you know anyone who travels internationally for work, or does business with international clients? How do they make this kind of commerce work?

Inform students that as they view the program, they will encounter people who work in the global economy. You might suggest that students keep the following questions in mind as they view the episode:

Why might someone want to work in a company that does business internationally, or have a job that requires a lot of travel to other countries?

What are some cultural differences that an American working in another country might encounter?

What are some benefits of a global economy? What might be some drawbacks?

While Viewing

"Planet Work" presents the following segments:


Will Durst introduces viewers to their upcoming journey around the world, from Ghana to Rio de Janeiro, in search of insight into the increasingly global economy.

Segment 1

Bangalore, India - Will travels to India to visit Customer Asset, a private telemarketing company. Customer Asset provides Indian employees with American identities and English lessons in order to convince Americans that their phone calls are coming from the United States.

Segment 2

Las Vegas, NA - At a conference of television executives, Will speaks to the President of Globalvision and learns about how this sector of the entertainment industry has become increasingly global since the 1980s.

Segment 3

North Adams, MA - Ethan Zuckerman, an ex-dotcommer, put his technology and leadership skills to good use by starting Geekcorps, a digital Peace Corps program that sends techies on 3-month assignments to Africa to close the digital divide.

Segment 4

Pleasanton, CA - Gigi Wong's work commute usually involves plane trips from California to her clients in Hong Kong and Singapore. This "global mom" trains Asian companies in the mechanics of Silicon Valley techniques. She maintains that it is important to have sensitivity to the cultures of the countries in which a person does business. She successfully balances global travel with being a mom.

Segment 5

Washington, D.C. - Before venturing abroad, Will seeks the expertise of Kevin Henson, who runs ASET International, a translation service. He learns that translation software is hundreds of years away. Current computer programs are fine for simple translation, but complex phrasing remains a challenge.

Segment 6

Venice, Italy - Lorenzo, a gondolier in Venice, feels that globalization has led to a decline in the quality of daily life and that people have become increasingly superficial. He believes that while people today are in certain ways more advantaged, in other ways they have become more primitive. He hopes that the rise of new technology will not result in the loss of culture.

Segment 7

Bra, Italy - Will stumbles upon the Slow Food Movement that opposes the pace of modern life. Its followers believe that the world is spinning out of control, and so they have pledged to slow down and, among other things, enjoy their meals. Will discovers that this movement has expanded to include Slow Cities. Thirty cities in Italy have already signed up to slow down in order to enjoy life.

Segment 8

Accra, Ghana - Will visits the Geekcorps volunteers to see how their assignments are going. The volunteers are training their Ghanaian counterparts to build databases, create digital designs, and build websites. At the same time, the volunteers are also learning to adjust to a new culture and way of life.

Segment 9
Will gives a crash course in cultural gestures, proving the need for mindfulness and sensitivity when traveling in a foreign country.
Segment 10
Pleasanton, CA - Back in California, Gigi admits that in order to follow her career ambitions the importance of having a support system and reliable childcare for her kids is essential. With the help of her husband, Dave, a fulltime nanny, and a network of trustworthy family and friends, Gigi is able to worry less about her children when she is on the road.
Segment 11
While America remains one of only three countries that does not use the metric system, Kodak is catching up with the rest of the world by teaching its employees the ins and outs of metrics. Converting international operations to the metric system means employees can manufacture for plants worldwide, which gives them greater job security.
Segment 12
Sao Paulo, Brazil - Will discusses global comedy with Jo Suarez, the David Letterman of Brazil. According to Jo, humor is universal. He speaks six languages and maintains that authenticity is essential in order to be funny in each language.
Segment 13
Pleasanton, CA - Five months later, Gigi is offered a job that requires the entire family to relocate to a foreign country. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, and she and Dave must decide if this is the right choice for them. Gigi admits that because of her diverse background she currently has a competitive advantage, but it will not last as others in her field gain more experience and catch up.
Segment 14
Peterborough, NH - After their three-month Geekcorps assignments in Ghana, the volunteers return home to the United States. They share their adventures and impressions with friends and coworkers. The returned volunteers reflect on the wealth and abundance of life in America and contrast that with their experiences in Ghana.



Pause once or twice while viewing to have students reflect on what they've seen.Ask:

How are communities trying to counteract some of the negative effects of globalization?

What are some of the important skills necessary to become successful in a global economy?

How are culture and tradition at risk in a more global society?

Ask students whether they are confused about anything they've seen. Offer them the opportunity to visit the Livelyhood Website and skim the summary of "Planet Work" after watching the program.

Also encourage students to list terms they're unfamiliar with, and look them up in the Glossary for People Who Work, or Know Someone Who Does, located in Livelyhood's Digital Tool Kit.

After Viewing

A variety of resources is available for linking the content of the show to particular curriculum areas, and helping students apply the content to real-world situations relevant to their own lives.


1.Follow-up Questions. These encourage students to analyze and think critically about the situations and issues presented in the show.

You might begin by having students consider again and respond to these questions:

Why might someone want to work in a company that does business internationally, or have a job that requires a lot of travel to other countries?

What are some cultural differences that an American working in another country might encounter?

What are some benefits of a global economy? What might be some drawbacks?

Continue by asking questions that will lead students to relate the content of the program to their own lives.

After watching the film, do you feel you are equipped with the necessary skills to work abroad? Why or why not?

Would you want a job that requires international travel? Why or why not?

What advice would you give to someone trying to balance work and family?

To give students opportunities to explore these issues actively and creatively, assign one or more of the cross-curricular activities that follow.


2.Cross-Curricular Activities These offer a variety of projects for individual students or small groups which extend concepts presented in "Planet Work." Some of these activities utilize other features of the Livelyhood Website, such as the Lively Poll and the Posting Areas. All activities are appropriate for students in grades 9-12. Some are suitable for younger students as well; others are appropriate for adult students.


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