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languages & families @ Mickey D’s

Monday 26 January, 2009

I came across this brief interview with Jose Armario, Pres. of McDonald’s in Canada & Latin America Coming full circle in fast-food world by Ann Terese Palmer in the Chicago Tribune.  From reading it, one gets the impression he’s a talkative guy.

He somewhat dismisses his Spanish-speaking ability as playing a role in his advancement, to which I naturally disagree.  He grew up in a very bilingual area, Miami, FL, so it seems as if he takes being bilingual for granted.  I seriously doubt he would have had any success in Spanish-speaking countries without speaking the language.

What the interview reemphasizes again & again is the interrelationship between work & family.  He left a great job to become a truck driver so that his wife could be near her family.  Supposedly making the sacrafices of moving his family to 3 different continents led to his advancement instead of his language ability.  Family is interwoven with the whole discussion.  That’s a very latin thing that I think many of us non-latinos are unaware.  For many of us, especially during my time in Germany, work is very separate from family.  Not in Latin America.  In Deutschland, they still addressed each other by last names & didn’t socialize with work colleagues.  It may have changed since I lived/worked there, but I doubt they are as closely linked as they are in Latin America.

Interestingly, it appears as if the school of hard knocks may be a better educator than schools with the regular 4 walls-his bio in the Trib doesn’t indicate that he graduated from college.  Although the article doesn’t mention it, McDonald’s corporate site indicates he did receive his master’s degree in professional management from the University of Miami.

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