Sunday, 5 February 2012

Objective Proficiency p 128. 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:
“Come back!" the Caterpillar called after her. "I've something important to say."
This sounded promising, certainly. Alice turned and came back again.
"Keep your temper," said the Caterpillar.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass  
Do you think that work overload can lead to stress? Can anxiety get the better of us and make us lose our temper How do you respond to being snowed under? What takes the first place: health or work? Do you think you may wear out if you keep burning the candle at both ends? Have you ever had to slow down because you weren't feeling well? Has the doctor ever told you to take things easy for a while? Do you know anybody who has suffered from burnout? How did he cope with it?
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 can weigh you down at work? Do you have any tips in order not to get easily flustered even when working under pressure?
2. Do you know anyone at work prone to bearing grudges? Did you use to harbour more grudges as a child rather than nowadays? What kind of effect can holding grudges have on our physical or mental health? Are people who have grudges bitter people? What is their personality like?
3. Do you face a lot of pressure at work? How do you respond to pressure? How can you de-stress your working life and beat pressure? Which of the following symptoms are you experiencing?
  • being incapable of saying “NO”.
  • dreading getting out of bed and going to work.
  • Coping with long working hours.
  • Multitasking.
  • Holidaying with your laptop.
  • Suffering from insomnia.
  • hurrying your work to the degree that accuracy and thoroughness are compromised.
  • burning the midnight oil night after night 
  • Having trouble switching off from work 
4. Does your boss / Do your teachers show favour to anyone at work or at school? How would you deal with a boss or a teacher who did not favour you? Do you owe anyone a favour?
5. Everyone wants to be recognized for a job well-done; but what does it take one to rise through the ranks? What is the right way to stand out at work? In what ways are the following qualities important if you want to rise through the ranks: adaptability, availability, flexibility, performance in the job, the way you embrace change, collaboration, sharing information, helping others, etc.
6. Do you know anyone who has had to hand in his notice? Why? What happened?
7. What kind of things are on the rise presently: employment? Unemployment? Prices? Economy? Retail shops? Technology? Protests and strikes? Hunger? Sports?...
8. How do you use the hours of a normal weekday? What about the weekend? Are you a workaholic? Do you work all hours? Do you think it's good to have a breather from time to time? Do you take a short rest in the afternoon? How often do you find yourself feeling short of time, on average? In what ways do we waste time every day? Do we tend to waste time at any time of the day or at specific times? How do you while away a Sunday afternoon? What time of the year are you able to kick back and relax?
9. Would you say you usually organise things in an orderly way? Why? / Why not? Do you use forward planning as a technique? What are the results of this technique? Are you better at organising people than being organised yourself? Do you know of any ways to help you use time more effectively, to organise yourself in a more useful manner? What kind of things might be able to help?
10. What setback will you experience if your goal is to achieve perfection? What will happen if you are pressed for time and you cannot achieve what you were set to achieve?
11. Have you ever taken time off work? Have you ever phoned in sick when in fact you were not? Would you consider taking time out from your job to work abroad for a year? Do you think a stint abroad is a plus on your CV?
12. Men are said to be able to do just one thing at a time, whereas women can do several unrelated things at the same time. For example, a woman can talk on the phone, at the same time as cooking a new recipe and watching television. Do you agree? Are women better organised than men? Are men’s brains more specialised?
13. How much control do you feel you have in managing your time?
14.If you had more time outside work or school, how would you spend it? What would you like to do to chill out more? What helps you unwind after a busy day? Does a good night out help you take your mind off work? Do you enjoy letting your hair down at the weekend?
15. Are you realistic when you map out what you hope to achieve in the time available?
16. What kind of things can often present major obstacles to our achieving the goals we have set ourselves or to meeting the deadlines that others have set for us?
17. Do you set aside enough time to pursue your own interests? What helps you to ease your mind after a stressful day? Where do you hang out after work? Do you put your feet up when you get home or you carry on with the household chores?

overload: too much of something. E.g. In these days of technological change we all suffer from information overload.
get the better of somebody/something 1. if an emotion or feeling gets the better of you, it is too strong for you to control and it makes you do something that you did not intend to do. E.g. Smith's anger got the better of him once again, and he started to attack the referee. 2. to defeat somebody/ something or gain an advantage. E.g. No one can get the better of her in an argument. She always gets the better of an argument. His curiosity got the better of him (= he didn't intend to ask questions, but he wanted to know so badly that he did). 
lose/keep your temper (with somebody) to fail/manage to control your anger. E.g. She lost her temper with a customer and shouted at him. I struggle to keep my temper with the kids when they misbehave. 
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.
wear yourself/somebody out to make yourself/somebody feel very tired. E.g. The kids have totally worn me out. You'll wear yourself out if you carry on working so hard.

burn the candle at both ends: to become very tired by trying to do too many things and going to bed late and getting up early. E.g. No wonder Mary is ill. She has been burning the candle at both ends for a long time. You'll wear out if you keep burning the candle at both ends. 
slow down live or work less actively or intensely. e.g. You must slow down (= work less hard) or you'll make yourself ill. I wasn’t feeling well and had to slow down 
take it/things easy to relax and avoid working too hard or doing too much. E.g. The doctor told me to take it easy for a few weeks. I like to take things easy when I'm on holiday. 
burnout: the state of being extremely tired or ill, either physically or mentally, because you have worked too hard. E.g. Long and unpredictable work hours have led to burnout and frustration.


Weigh somebody down: 

to make somebody feel worried or anxious. Burden. Sp. ahogar. E.g. The responsibilities of the job are weighing her down. He is weighed down with guilt.

Fluster somebody:

/ˈflʌstə(r)/ to make somebody nervous and/ or confused, especially by giving them a lot to do or by making them hurry. E.g. Don't fluster me or I'll never be ready. He was flustered by all the attention. You need to be able to work under pressure and not get flustered.

grudge (against somebody) a feeling of anger or dislike towards somebody because of something bad they have done to you in the past. E.g. I bear him no grudge. He has a grudge against the world. She has harboured a grudge against me for years. I don't hold any grudges now. He's a man with a grudge.
de-stress (somebody/yourself) to relax after working hard or experiencing stress; to reduce the amount of stress that you experience. E.g. De-stress yourself with a relaxing bath.
dread: to be very afraid of something; to fear that something bad is going to happen. E.g. dread something This was the moment he had been dreading. Dread doing something I dread being sick. Dread somebody doing something She dreads her husband finding out. 
cope: to deal successfully with something difficult. E.g. He wasn't able to cope with the stresses and strains of the job. 
hurry something to do something too quickly. E.g. A good meal should never be hurried.  
burn the midnight oil to study or work until late at night . E.g. I have a big exam tomorrow so I'll be burning the midnight oil tonight. If you burn the midnight oil night after night, you'll probably become ill.  
switch off (informal) to stop thinking about something or paying attention to something. E.g. When I hear the word ‘football’ I switch off (= because I am not interested in it). The only time he really switches off (= stops thinking about work, etc.) is when we're on vacation.
favour:(N) treatment that is generous to one person or group in a way that seems unfair to others. E.g. As an examiner, she showed no favour to any candidate. 
favour somebody to treat somebody better than you treat other people, especially in an unfair way. E.g. The treaty seems to favour the US. My parents always favoured my older brother. 
rank: the position, especially a high position, that somebody has in a particular organization, society, etc. E.g. He rose through the ranks to become managing director.
stand out (as something) to be much better or more important than somebody/ something. E.g. Four points stand out as being more important than the rest.
notice: a formal letter or statement saying that you will or must leave your job or house at the end of a particular period of time. He has handed in his notice. They gave her two weeks' notice. Tenants must give written notice to the landlord of their intention to move out of the property. Dozens of families on the estate have been given notice to quit (= told to leave their homes). 500 workers have been issued with redundancy notices. We received an eviction notice today.
on the rise: increasing in frequency or intensity. E.g. The number of auto thefts in Cook County is on the rise again

workaholic /ˌwɜːkəˈhɒlɪk/ a person who works very hard and finds it difficult to stop working and do other things. E.g. He's a workaholic, and hard work is one of the key things in management.
work all hours: e.g. Who really likes to work all hours of the day? Not me. The home office makes us able to work all hours of the day, and this is dangerous for those who have difficulties with limiting their work hours.
breather: /ˈbriːðə(r)/ a short pause for rest or to relax. E.g. to take/ have a breather. Tell me when you need a breather. A five-minute breather. Let’s take a breather. They ran for a good hour before Michi stopped to take a breather.
take a rest  e.g. to have/take a rest from all your hard work. He took a short rest in the afternoon.
while something away: to spend time in a pleasant lazy way. E.g. We whiled away the time reading and playing cards. We whiled away the Saturday afternoon sitting by the lake. Commuters while away the time they are stuck in traffic by listening to their favourite radio station.
kick back: to relax. E.g. Kick back and enjoy the summer. He has not been able to kick back and enjoy his success. I'm about to take a week's annual leave starting next week so I'm going to be able to kick back and relax a little. Picnics are a time to kick back, relax and enjoy tasty, yet easy-to-prepare food with friends. The past few months have just been go, go, go and at last I'm getting the chance to kick back and relax.
forward: /ˈfɔːwəd/ relating to the future. E.g. the forward movement of history. A little forward planning at the outset can save you a lot of expense.
pressed/pushed for time needing time; in a hurry.E.g. be ~; become ~; get ~; Seem ~. If I weren't so pressed for time, I could help you. I can't talk to you. I'm too pushed for time. Can't talk to you now. I'm pressed for time. 
time off a period of time that is free from employment. E.g.  get ~; have ~; give someone ~; take (some) ~.) I'll have to get time off for jury duty. I have time off to go downtown and shop.
Call/ phone in sick: telephone to say you will not be coming to work because you are ill. E.g. Emma has just called in sick.
take time out to spend some time away from your usual work or activity in order to rest or do something else instead. E.g. She is taking time out from her music career for a year. It's very beneficial to take time out to relax each day. He's taking time out between high school and starting at the university. Mary's taking time out from her job to work abroad for a year. 
stint: a period of time that you spend working somewhere or doing a particular activity. E.g. He did a stint abroad early in his career. A two-year stint in the Navy. I've done my stint in the kitchen for today. His varied career included a stint as a magician.  
chill out: (informal) to spend time relaxing; to relax and stop feeling angry or nervous about something. E.g. They sometimes meet up to chill out and watch a movie. Sit down and chill out!
unwind /ˌʌnˈwaɪnd/ unwound, unwound /ˌʌnˈwaʊnd/ to begin to relax after you have been working hard or feeling nervous. To stop worrying or thinking about problems and start to relax. E.g. Music helps me unwind after a busy day. I need to sit down and unwind for half an hour. 
take your mind off something to make you forget about something unpleasant for a short time. Distract. E.g. Painting helped take her mind off her troubles. A good night out will help you take your mind off exams. 
let your hair down (informal) to relax and enjoy yourself, especially in a lively way. E.g.  It's about time you let your hair down and had some fun! We need a place where young folk can let their hair down and enjoy themselves. 
map something out to plan or arrange something in a careful or detailed way. E.g. He has his career path clearly mapped out.
ease: /iːz/ to become or to make something less unpleasant, painful, severe, etc. E.g. The pain immediately eased. This should help ease the pain. The plan should ease traffic congestion in the town. It would ease my mind (= make me less worried) to know that she was settled.
hang out (informal) to spend a lot of time in a place. E.g. The local kids hang out at the mall. She knew all the clubs where he usually hung out.
put your feet up: to sit down and relax, especially with your feet raised and supported. E.g. After a hard day's work, it's nice to get home and put your feet up.
chore:  /tʃɔː(r)/ a task that you do regularly. E.g. doing the household/ domestic chores.


More useful vocabulary related to work
Turning point (in something): the time when an important change takes place, usually with the result that a situation improves. Sp. Momento decisivo. E.g. The promotion marked a turning point in her career.
Chuck in: quit. E.g. The simple truth is, if you chuck in your job and decide to write full time, unless you're very lucky, you're going to run out of cash pretty soon.
Take sb on to employ somebody. E.g. to take on new staff. She was taken on as a trainee. 
Beer money: a little extra money to buy a drink or have fun with. E.g. The job was never going to make me rich, but it kept me in beer money for a while  
Break: an opportunity to do something, usually to get something that you want or to achieve success. E.g. I got my lucky break when I won a ‘Young Journalist of the Year’ competition. We've had a few bad breaks (= pieces of bad luck) along the way. If you just give me a break, you won't regret it. 
Rut: a boring way of life that does not change. Sp. estancarse (rut: Sp. surco) . E.g. I gave up my job because I felt I was stuck in a rut. 
Pay off: to be successful and bring good results. E.g. The gamble paid off. All my hard work paid off. 
Get down to something: to begin to do something; to give serious attention to something. Sp. ponerse a trabajar, ir al grano. E.g. Let's get down to business. I like to get down to work by 9. 
Get out of sth: to avoid a responsibility or duty. Sp. eludir. E.g. I wish I could get out of going to that business meeting. 
Go about sth: 1 to continue to do something; to keep busy with something. E.g. Despite the threat of war, people went about their business as usual. 2 To start working on something. Tackle. Sp. emprender. E.g. You're not going about the job in the right way. 
Herculean: /ˌhɜːkjuˈliːən/ needing a lot of strength, determination or effort. E.g. a Herculean task. Etymology: from the Greek myth in which Hercules proved his courage and strength by completing twelve very difficult tasks (called the Labours of Hercules).
More haste, less speed (British English, saying) you will finish doing something sooner if you do not try to do it too quickly because you will make fewer mistakes. E.g. I know you want to finish that sweater by Joe's birthday, but you're knitting so fast that you make mistakes. More haste, less speed. 
Thick/ thin on the ground (British English) if people or things are thick/ thin on the ground, there are a lot/ not many of them in a place. E.g. Customers are thin on the ground at this time of year. Security officers were thick on the ground during the King's visit. Everybody is away next week, so it's going to be thin on the ground. It's a bit thin on the ground today (not many people).
Be out of your depth: 1 (British English) to be in water that is too deep to stand in with your head above water. E.g. If you can't swim, don't go out of your depth. 2 to be unable to understand something because it is too difficult; to be in a situation that you cannot control. E.g. He felt totally out of his depth in his new job. 
Over someone's head: beyond someone’s ability to understand. E.g. the discussion was over my head. The problem is way over his head.  Stephen gets confused with what's going on – this argument is way over his head.  
Be at the end of your tether (British English) (North American English be at the end of your rope) to feel that you cannot deal with a difficult situation any more because you are too tired, worried, etc. E.g. The only member of staff she could rely on reached the end of his tether and decided to quit. You'd better let her know you're safe. She's at the end of her tether. These individuals have reached the end of their tether. 

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