English Conversation – Jobs and Work
Jobs and Work
This is the preparation material for an English conversation lesson about employment, work and jobs. It contains common idioms we might use in the workplace with our boss or with our colleagues. It also includes conversation questions relating to one's job such as what a typical work day is like, what our positions is, what the company we work for is like, whether we enjoy our job and more.
Audio discussion about jobs
* Audio courtesy of elllo.org.
Questions about the audio discussion
- Do you agree with Jeff that people who wear uniforms get more respect?
- Do you prefer flexible work hours like Jeff or do you prefer to have an arranged start and finish time?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of having flexible hours?
Idioms we might use when talking about jobs
- In the bad books - If you are in someone's bad books, they are angry with you. Likewise, if you are in their good books, they are pleased with you.
- Above and beyond the call of duty - to show a greater degree of courage or effort than is usually required or expected in their job.
- I’m in two minds about what to do - If you are in two minds about something, you can't decide what to do. “I’m in two minds about what to do with John. On the one hand, he is very good at his job but on the other hand, he has a very bad manner.
- To crack the whip – to make someone work harder by pushing them to make more effort and by being strict.
- Call it quits - When people temporarily stop doing something or put an end to an activity.
- Learn the ropes – to learn how to do a job properly.
Conversation questions about work and jobs
- What is a typical day at your work like?
- What is the most difficult thing about your job?
- What are the things you like the most about your job?
- What are the things you like the least?
- Do you have to work long hours? Do you ever work overtime?
- How do you motivate your team members?
- Do you get on well with your boss?
- What are the people like that you work with? Is there anyone you don’t get on with?
- What skills do you need to do your job?
- Do you stay in the office all day or do you go out and about?
- Is it very competitive in your company?
- Has the recession and global economic situation affected your business?
- Do you have the opportunity to travel abroad with your company? Or get an international transfer?
- Would you like a job that involved a lot of travel? Why or why not?
- How long do you plan to work for your company?
- What is the best thing about your company? Do you think your company is well run?
- Does your company look after its staff well?
- Do you have any programs like employee of the month of employee of the year?
- What are your career plans for the future?
- Where did you work before this job?
- Would you ever like to have your own business or do you prefer working for a big company?
- What influenced your choice of job? (Why did you choose your job?)
- Who among the people you know has the most interesting job? What is it?
- Is it common for people from your country to have one job for life?
- Do you ever have to do presentations in your job?
- What sort of technology do you use?
- Do you have international conferences over telephone or computer?
- What is your office like, do you have your own room?