Friday, 21 October 2011

Objective Proficiency p 21. Work. Extra Speaking

1. MONOLOGUE. Prepare a talk of AT LEAST 5 minutes on the subject. You may use the pictures above and the contents below if you wish:

 “As sure as the spring will follow the winter, prosperity and economic growth will follow recession.” Bo Bennett.

Have expectations of economic recovery been heightened by the announcements made by the government? Do you know anybody who has been made redundant? Why were they let go? Why are companies forced to make cutbacks? Can you think of any big lay-offs in your country because of the recession? Do you know anybody who has been unfairly dismissed from his job? Why are some people fired from their jobs sometimes? Do employers set up unrealistic expectations at times? What are the steps for people who are out of work and looking for one? Are jobcentres efficient or do they fall short of expectations? Do you know people who have been on the dole for a long time? Do you think their expectations of finding a job have been lowered? For how long can people claim unemployment benefits in your country?

You may make some notes for your talk to take into the exam. These should not exceed five lines.


In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about topics related to the TOPIC. Remember that you are expected to have a conversation as natural as possible and give full answers. This part of the examination will last AT LEAST 5 minutes. You will not see the questions below.


1. What dream jobs would fulfil your wildest expectations? What are their benefits and drawbacks? What do you find stimulating about them?
2. Do you hold high expectations or brim with trepidation before a job interview? What is challenging about them? 
3. Do you have team building days and professional development courses at your company? Do they come up to your expectations or do they fail to satisfy them? Do you think they are helpful? Do they show you the ropes?
4. Do you think it's worth having a pension plan? Do you think expectations have been dampened by the news that some banks have been defrauding their customers?
5. Can you think of some jobs in which people have a vested interest or an axe to grind?
6. Do we hold unrealistic expectations about what our work colleagues should be like? Do any of your colleagues beat about the bush at meetings? Are there any who sit on the fence? Or any who speak their mind? What do you think about colleagues who have a tendency to play devil's advocate? Would you consider any of your colleagues detail-obsessed nit-pickers? Are there any last-minute deadline junkies? Do you fit in any of these categories?
7. Would you refuse a certain job even though it was well-paid? Would you hand in your resignation if a job didn't match your expectations?
What would be the reasons why you would hand in your notice?
8. How did you find your current job? What do you find satisfying about it? Is it demanding? Do you have to do any gruelling tasks? Has it confounded your expectations? Can it be hectic where you work at times? Are you painstaking about your work?
9. How do you strike a balance between your career expectations and your family expectations?
10. Do school and university prepare students for the world of work? Have the expectations been watered down recently? Are these jobs better paid than menial jobs?
11. Would you volunteer to work overseas? Do volunteers have great expectations? Consider the positive and negative aspects of it.



a building where large quantities of goods are stored, especially before they are sent to shops/stores to be sold. E.g. The Amazon warehouses.


/ˈdepəʊ/ /ˈdiːpoʊ/ a place where large amounts of food, goods or equipment are stored. E.g. an arms depot.

shop floor:  

the area in a factory where the goods are made by the workers. E.g. to work on the shop floor. In the industrial sector, there are still relatively few women on the shop floor.


size. E.g. a building of vast/huge/massive proportions.


an aircraft without a pilot, controlled from the ground. E.g. The Amazon drones will take off in about five years. They will revolutionise shopping as we know it.


the person who answers the questions in an interview.


to try to find a job. E.g. At that time I had been job-hunting for six months.


a job. E.g. He held a senior position in a large company. I should like to apply for the position of Sales Director.


a job, especially an important one in a large organization. E.g. an academic/government post. To take up a post. To resign (from) a post.


an exam that you have passed or a course of study that you have successfully completed. E.g. academic/educational/professional/vocational qualifications. A nursing/teaching, etc. qualification. He left school with no formal qualifications.


/ˈrezjumeɪ/ (British English curriculum vitae /kəˌrɪkjələm ˈviːtaɪ/ CV) a written record of your education and the jobs you have done, that you send when you are applying for a job.


/ˈveɪkənsi/ a job that is available for somebody to do. E.g. job vacancies. A temporary vacancy. Vacancy (for somebody/something). Vacancies for bar staff. To fill a vacancy. There’s a vacancy in the accounts department.    

body language

the process of communicating what you are feeling or thinking by the way you place and move your body rather than by words. E.g. I could tell from her body language that she was angry.


feeling that you should not trust someone or something. E.g.  mistrustful (of somebody/something) Some people are very mistrustful of computers. Since the accident he has become withdrawn and mistrustful. He was becoming increasingly mistrustful of doctors.


a distrustful person does not trust a particular person or thing or people in general. E.g.  They were profoundly distrustful of anything new.

trusting/ trustful

to believe that other people are good, honest, etc. If you're too trusting, other people will take advantage of you.


that you have had a long time and have always been able to rely on. E.g. a trusty friend. She spent years touring Europe with her trusty old camera.


that you can rely on to be good, honest, sincere, etc.  Reliable.


that cannot be trusted

white lie

a harmless or small lie, especially one that you tell to avoid hurting somebody.

cluttered (up) (with somebody/something) 

covered with, or full of, a lot of things or people, in a way that is untidy. E.g. a cluttered room/desk.

crammed (with somebody/something) 

 full of things or people. E.g. All the shelves were crammed with books. The room was crammed full of people.

be snowed under (with something)  

to have more things, especially work, than you feel able to deal with. E.g. I'd love to come but I'm completely snowed under at the moment. I am totally snowed under at school

knee-deep: /ˌniː ˈdiːp/

up to your knees. E.g. The snow was knee-deep in places.  knee-deep in mud. knee-deep in snow. knee-deep in water. knee-deep in leaves. (figurative) I was knee-deep in work.

overworked /ˌəʊvəˈwɜːkt/ 

made to work too hard or too much. E.g. overworked nurses. They’re overworked and understaffed. an overworked civil servant. I'm overworked and underpaid.

overwork: (N) 

the fact of working too hard. E.g. His illness was brought on by money worries and overwork. 

be up to your ears in something

to have a lot of something to deal with. E.g. We're up to our ears in work. 

be up to your eyebrows in something

to have a lot of something to deal with. E.g. I’m absolutely up to my eyebrows in work. Stein is up to his eyebrows in debt.

be up to your eyes in sth​ 

to be very busy doing something. E.g. I'm up to my eyes in homework this week. 

be up to your eyeballs in something

to have a lot of something to deal with. E.g. They're up to their eyeballs in work.

all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy) saying. ​said to warn someone that they will not be an interesting person by working all the time. continuous work without rest or relaxation is harmful to one's personal life and well-being. E.g. "in addition to firm information, we have a little game because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"



/ˌmʌltiˈtɑːsk/ to do several things at the same time. E.g. Women seem to be able to multitask better than men.


the amount of work that has to be done by a particular person or organization. E.g. a heavy workload. We have taken on extra staff to cope with the increased workload. Management is looking at ways of spreading the workload between departments.



 without a job because there is no more work available for you in a company. E.g. to be made redundant from your job. 

let somebody go

to make somebody have to leave their job. E.g. They're having to let 100 employees go because of falling profits. 

cutback (in something) 

 a reduction in something. E.g. cutbacks in public spending. Staff cutbacks. Many hospitals face cutbacks in services. The company will be forced to make cutbacks in all departments.


an act of making people unemployed because there is no more work left for them to do. E.g. lay-offs in the factory. The workforce is on strike over lay-offs. The most recent lay-off saw staff fall to 175 from 250.

dismiss somebody (from something) 

to officially remove somebody from their job. E:g. She claims she was unfairly dismissed from her post.

fire somebody 

to force somebody to leave their job. E.g. We had to fire him for dishonesty. She got fired from her first job. He was responsible for hiring and firing staff. 

be out on your ear

(informal) to be forced to leave (a job, etc.). E.g. You'll be out on your ear if you don't start doing some work around here.


 a government office where people can get advice in finding work and where jobs are advertised. The jobcentre is very good for searching job vacancies in your area 


 (also the dole) money paid by the state to unemployed people. E.g. He's been on the dole (= without a job) for a year. The government is changing the rules for claiming dole. Lengthening dole queues. We could all be in the dole queue on Monday (= have lost our jobs). 


money provided by the government to people who need financial help because they are unemployed, ill/sick, etc. E.g. The aim is to help people who are on benefits (= receiving benefits) to find jobs. You may be eligible to receive benefits. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell last month.


brim with: 

 to be full of something; to fill something. E.g. Tears brimmed in her eyes. Brim with something Her eyes brimmed with tears. The team were brimming with confidence before the game. a young man brimming with confidence.

team building

The action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation. E.g. companies are starting to turn to arts-based training programmes as a way of team building and improving morale. For managerial roles important skills include leadership, team building, project management and problem solving. A weekend of team-building exercises.

professional development: 

 The development of competence or expertise in one's profession; the process of acquiring the skills needed to improve performance in a job. Teachers have professional development days before the academic year gets underway (begins).

come up to something  

1. to reach as far as a particular point. E.g. The water came up to my neck.
2. to reach an acceptable level or standard. E.g. His performance didn't really come up to his usual high standard. Their trip to France didn't come up to expectations. He said politicians had not come up to the expectations of the nation (reach).

show/teach somebody/know/learn the ropes 

 (informal) to show/teach somebody/know/learn how a particular job should be done. E.g. Jack has been here for years – he’ll show you the ropes.

vested interest (in something) 

a personal reason for wanting something to happen, especially because you get some advantage from it. Sp. interés particular. E.g. They have a vested interest in keeping the club as exclusive as possible. She thinks that lawyers have a vested interest in making the legal process move slowly. I've got a real vested interest in making sure that my patients think I am trustworthy.

have an axe to grind

to have private reasons for being involved in something or for arguing for a particular cause. E.g. She had no axe to grind and was only acting out of concern for their safety. These criticisms are commonly voiced by those who have some political axe to grind. University professors don't have an axe to grind. Their business is doing research and teaching. In good faith, they try and produce things that are of value to society in general. 

beat about the bush 

 (British English) (North American English beat around the bush) to talk about something for a long time without coming to the main point. E.g. Stop beating about the bush and tell me what you want. 

sit on the fence

to avoid becoming involved in deciding or influencing something. E.g. He tends to sit on the fence at meetings. If you have to make a decision, it's no use sitting on the fence. You must choose one or the other.

speak your mind

to say exactly what you think, in a very direct way. E.g. She's never hesitated about speaking her mind.

devil’s advocate   

One who argues against a cause or position either for the sake of argument or to help determine its validity. E.g. Often the interviewer will need to play devil's advocate in order to get a discussion going. My role in the campaign is to play devil's advocate to each new policy before it's introduced to the public. This term comes from the Roman Catholic Church, where advocatus diaboli (Latin for “devil's advocate”) signifies an official who is appointed to present arguments against a proposed canonization or beatification. It was transferred to wider use in the mid-1700s. 

detail-obsessed nit-pickers: 

 people who argue about small, unimportant details.

last-minute deadline junkies: 

 people who leave doing their work until the last minute before it needs to be finished.
demanding: needing a lot of skill, patience, effort, etc. E.g. The work is physically demanding. The most demanding challenge I have ever faced.


/ˈɡruːəlɪŋ/ very difficult and tiring, needing great effort for a long time. E.g. a gruelling journey/schedule/task. I've had a gruelling day.  


/ kənˈfaʊnd/ somebody/something: to prove somebody/something wrong. E.g. To confound expectations. She confounded her critics and proved she could do the job. Latest figures from Wall Street continue to confound analysts’ expectations of a fall in share prices.


very busy; full of activity. E.g. to lead a hectic life. A hectic schedule. Today was too hectic for me.


 /ˈfræntɪk/ done quickly and with a lot of activity, but in a way that is not very well organized. Hectic. E.g. a frantic dash/search/struggle. They made frantic attempts to revive him. Things are frantic in the office right now. They worked with frantic haste.


/ˈpeɪnzteɪkɪŋ/needing a lot of care, effort and attention to detail. E.g. he's terribly painstaking about his work Sp. no escatima esfuerzos en su trabajo.  Painstaking research Sp. concienzudo. The event had been planned with painstaking attention to detail.


/ˈmiːniəl/ (of work) not skilled or important, and often boring or badly paid. E.g. menial jobs/ work. Menial tasks like cleaning the floor. 

Other words and expressions:


 /ˈsɪnɪkjʊə(r)/ a ​paid ​position that involves little or no ​work. E.g. I never ​thought of my ​job as a sinecure. 


 /ˈkʊʃi/ very easy and pleasant; needing little or no effort. E.g. a cushy job

a cushy number  

(British English) an easy job; a pleasant situation that other people would like. E.g. It’s all right for him—he’s got a very cushy number.

knuckle down (to something) /ˈnʌkl/



(informal) to begin to work hard at something. Get down to. E.g. I'm going to have to knuckle down to some serious study.
knuckle: (N) any of the joints in the fingers, especially those connecting the fingers to the rest of the hand.

get down to something

to begin to do something; to give serious attention to something. E.g. Let's get down to business. I like to get down to work by 9. get down to doing something It's time I got down to thinking about that essay.

pull your socks up

(British English, informal) to try to improve your performance, work, behaviour, etc. You're going to have to pull your socks up.

put your best foot forward

to make a great effort to do something, especially if it is difficult or you are feeling tired. E.g. You really need to put your best foot forward in the interview if you want to get this job. When you apply for a job, you should always put your best foot forward. I try to put my best foot forward whenever I meet someone for the first time.


using or involving every possible effort and done in a very determined way. E.g. all-out war. an all-out attack on the opposition. We made an all-out effort to get the project finished on time. Going all out to win. an all-out sprint.

go the extra mile (for somebody/something)
to make a special effort to achieve something, help somebody, etc. To go beyond what is necessary or expected in order to please someone, achieve something, or get something done correctly. E.g. I have to say, our lawyer really went the extra mile in making sure every aspect of our case was watertight. Suzy always goes the extra mile to make my birthday special. I like doing business with that company. They always go the extra mile. My teacher goes the extra mile to help us.

go to great lengths

to try very hard to achieve something. E.g. Some people go to great lengths to make their homes attractive. He'll go to any lengths to get what he wants. We went to great lengths to ensure that this film was historically accurate. I appreciate that the tutor went to great lengths to make sure I understood the assignment.


God helps those who help themselves (saying) ​said to show you believe that if you make an effort to achieve something, you will be successful. E.g. A: "I'm really praying hard for an A on my exam." B: "You'd better start studying. God helps those who help themselves."

strive, strove, striven (also strive, strived, strived)

to try very hard to achieve something. E.g. strive (for something) We encourage all members to strive for the highest standards. We strive for perfection but sometimes have to accept something less. strive (against something) striving against corruption strive to do something Newspaper editors all strive to be first with a story. She strove to find a solution that was acceptable to all. Mr Roe has kindled expectations that he must now strive to live up to. We must strive to narrow the gap between rich and poor. We are constantly striving to improve our service.

strain every nerve

to make the greatest possible effort. E.g. She's straining every nerve to get the work finished on time.

put your back into something

to use a lot of effort and energy on a particular task. E.g. You could dig this plot in an afternoon if you really put your back into it.

outdo: outdo somebody/something  

to do more or better than somebody else. Beat. E.g.  Sometimes small firms can outdo big business when it comes to customer care. Not to be outdone (= not wanting to let somebody else do better), she tried again. The brothers tried to outdo each other in everything. He always tries to outdo everybody else in the class.


to become, and continue to be, successful, strong, healthy, etc. Flourish. E.g. New businesses thrive in this area. These animals rarely thrive in captivity. His business thrived in the years before the war.

thrive on something

to enjoy something or be successful at something, especially something that other people would not like. E.g. He thrives on hard work. She seems to thrive on stress.

do/try your level best (to do something)

to do as much as you can to try to achieve something. E.g. Tickets are hard to come by but I'll do my level best to get you one. I tried my level best to persuade her to stay. I’ll do my level best to help you.


 /nʌdʒ/ a slight push, usually with the elbow. E.g. She gave me a gentle nudge in the ribs to tell me to shut up. (figurative) He can work hard but he needs a nudge now and then. 

nudge somebody/something + adv./prep.  

to push somebody/something gently or gradually in a particular direction. E.g. He nudged the ball past the goalie and into the net. She nudged me out of the way. (figurative) He nudged the conversation towards the subject of money. (figurative) She tried to nudge him into changing his mind (= persuade him to do it).


to forcefully persuade or direct someone to do or achieve something. E.g. Her parents pushed her into marrying him. The school manages to push most of its students through their exams. If we want an answer from them by Friday, I think we're going to have to push them for it.[ + to infinitive ] We had to push them to accept our terms, but they finally agreed to the deal. You'll never be successful if you don't push yourself (= work) harder. 

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