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1burke david the slangman guide to biz speak 1 slang idioms j


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ISBN10: 1891888145
ISBN13: 9781891888144
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ii


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

EXPLANATION OF ICONS

These exercises reinforce
visual recognition of the
slang terms and idioms
presented throughout this
book.

These exercises include
fill-ins, crossword puzzles,
word matches and many
other fun word games to
help you use the new terms
in context.

One of the most important
parts of any language is to
be able to understand what
you hear. These exercises
can all be found on the
audio program. (See order
form on back page for details)

These oral exercises are
designed to help you to
begin speaking and
thinking like a native.

iii


table of contents

iv


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

v


table of contents

vi


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

vii


(Answers on p. 217)

1

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

1. Did you hear the news? Nancy got a big promotion. Now she’s a big wig!
“big wig” means:. . . . . . . . . . .  executive . . . . . . . . . . . .  secretary
2. Jennifer got reprimanded by the boss for missing her deadline.
“deadline” means: . . . . . . . . . .  dying telephone connection .  completion date
3. My new boss makes us work late every night and on weekends. What a slave driver!
“slave driver” means: . . . . . . . .  relaxed boss. . . . . . . . . . .  relentless and demanding boss
4. I only have a week to get this job completed. I’d better get cracking.
“get cracking” means: . . . . . . . .  leave work early . . . . . . . .  start working
5. I’ve been out of work for a month. I need to start pounding the pavement soon.
“pounding the pavement” means: .  taking more walks . . . . . . .  looking for employment
6. I just got called on the carpet for wasting time at work.
“called on the carpet” means: . . . .  reprimanded . . . . . . . . . .  offered a carpeted office
7. My father sleeps during the day because he works graveyard. He gets home early in the morning.
“works graveyard” means: . . . . .  works in a cemetery . . . . . .  works the late-night shift
8. Bob just got canned for stealing money from the company!
“canned” means: . . . . . . . . . . .  fired . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  pickled


9. I’m tired of doing Bob’s job for him. He never pulls his weight around here.
“pulls his weight” means: . . . . . .  goes to the gym. . . . . . . . .  does his share of work
10. I hate being a paper-pusher. I want to find a job that’s more creative.
“paper-pusher” means: . . . . . . .  clerical desk worker . . . . . .  paper vendor

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

2


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!

A. DIALOGUE USING SLANG & IDIOMS
The words introduced on the first two pages are used in the
dialogue below. See if you can understand the conversation.
Note: The translation of the words in boldface is on the
opposite page.

3

CD-A: track 2

Jason:

Did you hear the news about Earl? He was called on the carpet by some
of the big wigs for missing his deadlines. They told him that if he doesn’t
start pulling his weight around here, they’re going to demote him to
paper-pusher. Not only that, they’re going to make him work
graveyard, too!

David:

Well, he’d better get cracking or those slave drivers are going
to can him for sure. I’m sure he’d hate having to pound the
pavement again.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

B. DIALOGUE translated INto STANDARD ENGLISH
LET’S SEE HOW MUCH YOU REMEMBER!
Just for fun, bounce around in random order to the words
and expressions in boldface below. See if you can remember
their slang equivalents without looking at the left-hand page!
Jason:

Did you hear the news about Earl? He was reprimanded by some of the
executives for missing his completion dates. They told him that if he doesn’t
start doing his share of work around here, they’re going to demote him to a
clerical desk worker. Not only that, they’re going to make him work the
late-night shift from midnight to 8:00 A.M., too!

David:

Well, he’d better start working or those relentlessly demanding bosses
are going to fire him for sure. I’m sure he’d hate having to look for
employment again.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

4


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!

C. DIALOGUE USING “REAL SPEAK”
The dialogue below demonstrates how the slang conversation on
the previous page would really be spoken by native speakers!
CD-A: track 3

5

Jason:

Did’ja hear the news aboud Earl? He w’z called on the carpet by some ’a the big
wigs fer missing ’is deadlines. They told ’im thad if ’e doesn’ start pulling ’is wade
aroun’ here, they’re gonna demode ’im ta paper-pusher. Nod only that, they’re gonna
make ’im work graveyard, too!

David:

Well, ’e’d bedder get cracking ’er those slave drivers ’er gonna can ’im fer sher. I’m
sher ’e’d hate having da poun’ the pavemen’ again.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

vocabulary
The following words and expressions were used in the previous
dialogues. Let’s take a closer look at what they mean.
CD-A: track 4

big wig n. executive, a person in charge of a business.
example:

Margaret’s first job was as a secretary. Now she’s a big wig
in her company.

translation:

Margaret’s first job was as a secretary. Now she’s an
executive in her company.

"real speak":

Margaret’s first job w’z as a secretary. Now she’s a big
wig in ’er company.
big cheese n.
big shot n.
biggie n.
boss man / boss lady n.
chief n.
exec n.
head honcho n.
higher ups n.pl. (typically used in plural form).
top brass / big brass / brass n.
top dog n.

Synonym 1:
Synonym 2:
Synonym 3:
Synonym 4:
Synonym 5:
Synonym 6:
Synonym 7:
Synonym 8:
Synonym 9:
Synonym 10:

NOW you DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

Now I’m a big wig in a large company. But my first
job was…

called on the carpet (to get) exp. to get reprimanded (by a boss, parents, etc.).
example:

Al got called on the carpet for wasting time at work.

translation:

Al got reprimanded for wasting time at work.

"real speak":

Al got called on the carpet fer wasting time ’it work.
bawled out (to get) exp.
chewed out (to get) exp.
raked over the coals (to get) exp.

Synonym 1:
Synonym 2:
Synonym 3:

NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

The boss called me on the carpet when I…
General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

6


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!

can someone (to) v. to fire someone from a job.
example:

exit

Earl arrived late to work, so the boss canned him!

translation:

Earl arrived late to work, so the boss fired him!

"real speak":

Earl arrived late ta work, so the boss canned ’im!
get canned (to) exp. to get fired.
give someone the axe (to) exp.
give someone the boot (to) exp.
Variation: boot someone out (to) v.

Variation:
Synonym 1:
Synonym 2:

NOW YOU DO IT. complete the phrase aloud:

...got canned because…

deadline n. completion date.
example:

The boss said that if I miss my deadline one more time,
he’ll can me!

translation:

The boss said that if I miss my completion date one more
time, he’ll fire me!

"real speak":

The boss said th’d if I miss my deadline one more time,
he’ll can me!
under the gun (to be) exp. to be pressured to make a
deadline.

Also:

NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

The last deadline I had was…

get cracking (to) exp. to start working.
example:

If you plan on finishing your assignment before you leave
on vacation, you’d better get cracking.

translation:

If you plan on finishing your assignment before you leave
on vacation, you’d better start working.

"real speak":

If ya plan on finishing yer assignment b’fore ya leave on
vacation, ya bedder get cracking.
get the ball rolling (to) exp.
get the show on the road (to) exp.

Synonym 1:
Synonym 2:

NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

I need to get cracking on my…

paper-pusher exp. a clerical desk worker (who does boring administrative tasks that require large
amounts of paper work).

example:

I’ve been a paper-pusher in a law firm for two years.
I need to find a job that’s more interesting and fun.

translation:

I’ve been a clerical desk worker in a law firm for two
years. I need to find a job that’s more interesting and fun.

"real speak":

I’ve been a paper-pusher ’n a law firm fer two years.
I need da find a job th’t’s more int’resting ’n fun.
NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

My friend… works as a paper-pusher in a...
7

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

pound the pavement (to) exp. to look for employment.
example:

I’ve been pounding the pavement for three weeks
and I still can’t find a job.

translation:

I’ve been looking for employment for three weeks
and I still can’t find a job.

"real speak:"

I’ve been pounding the pavement fer three weeks ’n
I still can’t find a job.
job hunt (to) exp.
knock on doors (to) exp.
Variation: job hunting (to go) exp.

Synonym 1:
Synonym 2:

NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

After pounding the pavement for a week…

pull one’s weight (to) exp. to do one’s share of work.
example:

If Pat doesn’t start to pull his weight around here, we’re
going to have to find a replacement for him.

translation:

If Pat doesn’t start to do his share of work around here,
we’re going to have to find a replacement for him.

"real speak:"

If Pat doesn’ start ta pull ’is wade aroun’ here, w’r gonna
hafta find a replacement for ’im.
tow the line (to) exp.

Synonym:

NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

...never pulls his/her weight at work.

slave driver exp. a relentlessly demanding employer.
example:

Our new boss is a slave driver. She demands excessive
work from all the employees.

translation:

Our new boss is a relentlessly demanding
employer. She demands excessive work from all the
employees.

"real speak:"

’Ar new boss ’ez a slave driver. She deman’s excessive
work fr’m all the employees.
NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

...is a slave driver!

work graveyard (to) exp. to work the late-night shift from midnight to 8:00 A.M.

Bl oddy Mary

10¢

example:

I prefer working graveyard because I can do errands
early in the day.

translation:

I prefer working the late-night shift because I can
do errands early in the day.

"real speak:"

I pruhfer working graveyard ’cuz I c’n do erran’s
early ’n the day.
work the graveyard shift (to) exp.
work [the] swing shift (to) exp. to work from 4:00
P.M. to midnight.

Variation:
Also:

NOW YOU DO IT. COMPLETE THE PHRASE ALOUD:

I work graveyard doing…
General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

8


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!

A. CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORD (Answers

on p. 217)
Underline the appropriate word that best completes the phrase.
CD-A: track 5

1. If you don’t start (pulling, pushing, shoving) your weight around here, you’re going to get
fired.

2. Jane used to be my assistant, but yesterday she got promoted. Now, she’s a ( large, big, huge)
wig.

3. I have to hurry and get this assignment finished. I have a five o’clock ( dead, life, alive)line!

4. My father works (cemetery, burial, grave)yard and gets home from work at eight o’clock
every morning.

5. I got called on the (rug, carpet, floor) for coming to work late this morning.

6. Ron came back from lunch totally drunk yesterday. If that happens again, the boss is going to
(box, can, bag) him!

7. I’ve been unemployed for a month. I guess it’s time to ( pound, hit, strike) the pavement.

8. I have a lot of work to finish by tonight. I’d better get ( cracking, smashing, breaking).

9. My father enjoys being a paper-(puller, shover, pusher) because he likes administrative work.

10. My boss is excessively demanding. He’s a real slave ( operator, driver, conductor).
9

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

B. CONTEXT EXERCISE (Answers

on p. 217)
Read the short conversations. Decide whether the slang used
makes sense or doesn’t make sense. Circle your answer.
CD-A: track 6

– Bill is a great worker!
– That’s why the boss canned him.

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

– I hear you got a promotion!
– That’s right. Now, I’m a big wig.
4

MAKES SENSE

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

– I work from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
– Do you like working graveyard?

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

MAKES SENSE

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

– Why are you working so fast?
– I have a 5:00 P.M. deadline!
8

7

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

MAKES SENSE

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

MAKES SENSE

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

– I finished all my work early.
– Then you’d better get cracking.
6

5

– I did all of Bob’s work for him.
– He never pulls his weight.

MAKES SENSE

MAKES SENSE

– I got called on the carpet today.
– Did the boss give you a raise?
3

2

1

MAKES SENSE

– Anne is a great boss to work for.
– I know. What a slave driver!

MAKES SENSE

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

– I work as a paper-pusher.
– Really? You sweep floors?
9

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

MAKES SENSE

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

10


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!

C. CREATE YOUR OWN SENTENCE (Answers on p. 217)
Read Person A’s questions or statements aloud and use the
suggested words to create your response for Person B.
CD-A: track 7

11

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz

speak 1

D. COMPLETE THE PHRASE (Answers

on p. 217)
Complete the phrase by choosing the appropriate word from
the list below.

Can
Carpet
Cracking
1.

Deadline
Graveyard
Pavement

CD-A: track 8

Slave
Weight
wig

I just found out that Carl got fired! I warned him that if he didn’t start pulling his _______________
around here, he’d lose his job.

2.

Alan just got called on the ____________________ because he was making too many personal
phone calls at work.

3.

Poor Tessa. She’s been pounding the ________________________ every day for the past three
weeks and she still can’t find a job.

4.

We have to get all this work finished in only one week. It’s going to be difficult, but we can do it
if we get _____________________ right away.

5.

Betty and I used to work together as secretaries, but last month she got a promotion to general
manager. Now she makes constant, excessive demands on everyone. She’s really turned into a
_________________ driver!

6.

Henry just got his job evaluation and it is was really poor. It wouldn’t surprise me if the boss
decided to ____________ him.

7.

I hate working ________________________ . When my friends invite me to go with them to the
movies at night, I can never go.

8.

I just got a job as senior vice president at one of the largest law offices in Los Angeles! I can’t
believe I’m actually going to be a big __________ !

9.

I wish I could go to your party tonight, but I have a big _________________ tomorrow. I have to
get this assignment finished by noon.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

12


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!

More General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)
You probably know by now that even after studying English for ten years, if you don’t know the popular
slang used by virtually everyone, you’re going to miss what people are saying! Once you have learned
everyday slang and idioms, you’ll find that understanding American TV shows and movies is a breeze
(very easy)!
But there is still one more piece of the puzzle to this “secret language” if you want to be truly fluent,
especially if you work in the U.S. — business slang, jargon and idioms. You’ll find that most of the business
slang throughout this book is so commonly used in the workplace that much of it has crept its way into our
everyday conversations!
axe someone (to) exp. to fire someone.
example:
I just heard that Bob got axed
because he was caught stealing
from the company!

translation:

I just heard that Bob got fired
because he was caught stealing
from the company!

"real speak":

I just heard th’t Bob god axed
b’cuz ’e w’z caught stealing fr’m
the company!

Variation: give someone the axe (to)

exp.

back to the drawing board (to go) exp.
to start all over again.
example:
After spending weeks preparing
my proposal, the boss rejected it.
Back to the drawing board.
translation: After spending weeks preparing
my proposal, the boss rejected it.

I have to start all over again.

13

"real speak":

After spending weeks pruhparing
my pruhposal, the boss rejecded
it. Back ta the drawing
board.

back to the salt mines (to get) exp. a
humorous way of saying “to get back to work.”
example:
I can’t believe our lunch hour is
over already. Well, I have to
get back to the salt mines.
translation: I can’t believe our lunch hour is
over already. Well, I have to
get back to work.
"real speak": I can’t believe ’ar lunch hour’s
already over. Well, I hafta get
back ta the salt mines.
Variation: back to the grind (to get) exp.

blood, sweat and tears exp. said of
something that takes a lot of hard work,
mental stress and disappointments.
example:
After a lot of blood, sweat and
tears, I finally finished the
construction of my new
restaurant.
translation: After a lot of hard work,
mental stress and
disappointments, I finally

finished the construction of my
new restaurant.
"real speak":

After a lod ’ev blood, sweat ’n
tears, I fin’lly finished the
construction of my new resterant.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz
blue-collar worker n. someone whose work
involves manual labor, as opposed to a
white-collar worker who has a desk job.
example:
My father has been a bluecollar worker all his life. With
the money he made, I was able
to go to college.
translation: My father has been a manual
laborer all his life. With the
money he made, I was able to go
to college.
"real speak": My father’s been a blue-collar
worker all ’is life. With the
money he made, I w’z able da go
da college.
bonus n. an additional payment given to an
employee who has demonstrated outstanding
service.
example:
I just got a bonus for doing
such a good job on my last
assignment. What a nice surprise!
translation: I just got an additional
payment for doing such a good
job on my last assignment. What
a nice surprise!
"real speak": I jus’ god a bonus fer doing
such a good job on my last
assignment. Whad a nice saprise!
boot someone [out] (to) exp. to fire
someone.
example:
Be careful. If you come in late
one more time, you’re going to
get booted [out]!

speak 1

bring home the bacon (to) exp. to make
money.
example:

We both need to bring home
the bacon or we’re not going to
have enough money to pay rent!

translation:

We both need to make money
or we’re not going to have
enough money to pay rent!

"real speak":

We both need da bring home
the bacon ’er w’r not gonna
have anuf money da pay rent!

bring someone up to speed (to) exp. to
give someone all the current information.
example:

translation:

I need to bring you up to
speed on what happened in the
office yesterday.
I need to give you the

current information about

what happened in the office
yesterday.
"real speak":

I need da bring ya up ta
speed on what happened in the
office yesderday.

buck for a raise (to) exp. to be very
determined about getting a raise.
example:

Johnson is bucking for a
raise. He’s been working harder
than any other employee.

translation:

Johnson is determined to get
a raise. He’s been working
harder than any other employee.

"real speak":

Johnson’s bucking fer a raise.
He’s been working harder th’n
any other employee.

buckle down (to) exp. to make an extra effort
to work hard.
example:

translation:

"real speak":

Be careful. If you come in late
one more time, you’re going to
get fired!
Be careful. If ya come in late one
more time, y’r gonna get
booded [out]!

Variation: get the boot (to) exp.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

The boss is going to be here
tomorrow, so we all need to
buckle down to get this job
finished.

translation:

The boss is going to be here
tomorrow, so we all need to
make an extra effort to get
this job finished.

"real speak":

The boss ’ez gonna be here
damorrow, so we all need da
buckle down ta get this job
finished.
14


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!
bumped up (to get) exp. • 1. to get
promoted • 2. to get elevated, as in a salary
raise.
example 1:
Congratulate me. I just got
bumped up to vice president!
translation: Congratulate me. I just got
promoted to vice president!
"real speak": C’ngradjalate me. I jus’ got
bumped up ta vice president!
example 2:
My salary got bumped up this
morning. I’m now making twice
as much as I was yesterday!
translation: My salary got raised this
morning. I’m now making twice
as much as I was yesterday!
"real speak": My salary got bumped up th’s
morning. I’m now making twice
’ez much ’ez I w’z yesderday!
bust one’s buns (to) exp. to work extremely
hard.
example:
I busted my buns all week in
order to get this job finished in
time for the meeting this
morning.
translation: I worked extremely hard all
week in order to get this job
finished in time for the meeting
this morning.
"real speak": I busded my buns all week ’n
order da get th’s job finished ’n
time fer the meeding th’s
morning.
Synonym 1: bust one’s ass (to) exp. (crude
yet very popular)
Synonym 2: bust one’s hump (to) exp.
busy as a beaver (to be as) exp. to be
extremely busy.
example:
I was as busy as a beaver all
day. I never stopped moving!
translation: I was extremely busy all day.
I never stopped moving!

15

"real speak":

I was as busy as a beaver all
day. I never stopped moving day!

Variation: busy [little] bee (to be a) exp.

call in sick (to) exp. to call work and inform
them that you won’t be coming in due to
illness.
example:
I don’t feel well this morning.
I think I’m going to call in sick.
translation: I don’t feel well this morning.
I think I’m going to call work
and inform them that I
won’t be coming in due to
illness.
"real speak":

I don’t feel well this morning.
I think I’m gonna call in sick
taday.

Variation: take a sick day (to) exp.

call it a day (to) exp. to stop working for the
day.
example:
I’m tired. I think I’m going to call
it a day. See you tomorrow.
translation: I’m tired. I think I’m going to
stop working for the day.
See you tomorrow.
"real speak": I’m tired. I think I’m going to call
it a day. See you tomorrow.
Variation: call it a night (to) exp.

call it quits (to) exp. to quit for the day or to
quit permanently, depending on the context.
example:
I have a doctor’s appointment so
I need to call it quits a little
early.
translation: I have a doctor’s appointment so
I need to quit for the day a
little early.
"real speak": I have a docter’s appointment so
I need da call it quits a liddle
early.
carve out a niche (to) exp. to create a
speciality that very few, or no one else, has
done.
example:
David has become popular
writing slang books. He’s really
carved out a niche for himself.
translation: David has become popular
writing slang books. He’s really
created a specialty for
himself.
General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz
"real speak":

David’s become popular wriding
slang books. He’s really carved
oud a niche fer ’imself.

copy someone on something (to) exp. to
send a copy of a letter, memo, or email to
someone.
example:
Please copy me on the letter
you’re sending to the boss.

speak 1

cut out to be something (to be) exp. to
have the qualifications to do something.
example:
I don’t think Rob is cut out to
be a doctor. He doesn’t take
anything seriously.
translation: I don’t think Rob has the qualifications to be a doctor. He
doesn’t take anything seriously.
"real speak": I don’t think Rob’s cud out ta
be a docter. He doesn’t take
anything seriously.
Synonym: have the makings of

something (to) exp.

translation:

Please send me a copy of the
letter you’re sending to the boss.

"real speak":

Please copy me on the ledder
y’r sending ta the boss.

cover for someone (to) exp. to assume
someone else’s responsibilities temporarily.
example:
I need to take my son to his
doctor’s appointment. Can you
cover for me while I’m gone?
translation: I need to take my son to his
doctor’s appointment. Can you
assume my responsibilities
temporarily while I’m gone?
"real speak":

I need ta take my son to ’is
docter’s appointment. C’n ya
cover fer me while I’m gone?

cut back (to) exp. to economize by spending
less.
example:
Last year we went over budget,
so this year we need to cut
back.
translation: Last year we went over budget,
so this year we need to

economize by spending less.

"real speak":

Last year we wen’ over budget,
so this year we need da cut
back.

Variation: make cutbacks (to) exp.

General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

daycare n. a place where a child can receive
care during the day while the parent is at
work.
example:
Since Jeffrey is too young for
school, in the morning I take him
to daycare and pick him up
after work.
translation: Since Jeffrey is too young for
school, in the morning I take him
to a place where he can get
care during the day and pick
him up after work.
"real speak": Since Jeffrey’s too young fer
school, in the morning I take ’im
da daycare ’n pick ’im up after
work.
deadwood n. a useless employee who doesn’t
do any work.
example:
I don’t know why Tina was never
fired from this company.
Everyone knows she’s nothing
but deadwood!
translation: I don’t know why Tina was never
fired from this company.
Everyone knows she’s nothing
but a totally useless
employee!
"real speak": I dunno know why Tina w’z
never fired fr’m this company.
Ev’ryone knows she’s nothing b’t
deadwood!
Note: Deadwood literally means “parts
of a tree that are dead.” Therefore, when an employee is
referred to in this way, it means
that he/she just sits motionless
like deadwood instead of
working.
16


Lesson 1 • earl got called on the carpet!
desk jockey n. someone who is stuck behind a
desk all day.
example:
I’m tired of being a desk
jockey. I want to find a job
where I can be more active.
translation: I’m tired of being a desk
worker. I want to find a job
where I can be more active.
"real speak": I’m tired ’a being a desk
jockey. I wanna find a job
where I c’n be more akdiv.
do a sell job on someone (to) exp. to sell
someone something by being aggressive.
example:
I can’t believe you bought the
first car you saw! The salesperson
must have done a sell job on
you!
translation: I can’t believe you bought the
first car you saw! The salesperson
must have been very
aggressive with you!
"real speak": I can’t believe you bought the
first car you saw! The salesperson
must’ev done a sell job on you!
do something by the book (to) exp. to
follow the rules exactly.
example:
My old boss used to let us take a
little over an hour for lunch every
day. My new boss is the opposite.
She does everything by the
book. We get one hour for
lunch and that’s it!
translation: My old boss used to let us take a
little over an hour for lunch every
day. My new boss is the opposite.
She does everything by
following the rules exactly.
We get one hour for lunch and
that’s it!
"real speak": My old boss usta led us take a
liddle over ’n hour fer lunch ev’ry
day. My new boss ’ez the oppazit.
She does ev’rything by the
book. We get one hour fer lunch
an’ that’s it!
dog eat dog world (a) exp. said of a world in
which only the strong survive.
example:
In business, it’s a dog eat dog
world. That’s why you have to
be aggressive.
17

translation:

"real speak":

In business, only the strong
survive. That’s why you have to
be aggressive.
In bizness, it’s a dog eat dog
world. That’s why ya hafta be
aggressive.

don’t make waves exp. don’t cause any
problems.
example:
Since you’re new to our
company, I have some advice for
you. Don’t make waves and
you’ll keep your job.
translation: Since you’re new to our
company, I have some advice for
you. Don’t cause any
problems and you’ll keep your
job.
"real speak": Since y’r new do ’ar company,
I have s’m advice fer you. Don’t
make waves ’n you’ll keep yer
job.
early bird gets the worm (the) prov. the
person who awakens earliest (or who starts a
project first) gets the most opportunities for
success.
example:
You should try to go to bed early
and get up early. Remember, the
early bird gets the worm!

translation:

You should try to go to bed early
and get up early. Remember,
the person who awakens
earliest gets the most
opportunities for success!

"real speak":

You should try da go da bed
early ’n ged up early. Remember,
the early bird gets the
worm!

elbow grease exp. extra physical effort to get
something done.
General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)


the SLANGMAN GUIDE TO biz
example:

You’ll never get your car clean
like that. You need to apply more
elbow grease!

translation:

You’ll never get your car clean
like that. You need to apply more
physical effort!

"real speak":

You’ll never get cher car clean
like that. Ya need da apply more
elbow grease!

fence-mending (to do some) exp. to
reestablish a relationship (as you would repair
a broken fence between two neighbors).
example:
Our company has never had a
good relationship with Retsky
Printing. I think it’s time to do
some fence-mending because
we’re going to need their
services soon!
translation: Our company has never had a
good relationship with Retsky
Printing. I think it’s time to
reestablish a relationship

because we’re going to need
their services soon!
"real speak":

’Ar company’s never had a good
relationship with Retsky Printing.
I think it’s time da do s’m
fence-mending b’cuz w’r
gonna need their services soon!

fill-in for someone (to) exp. to replace
someone temporarily.
example:
I’m going to fill-in for Carol
while she’s on vacation.
translation: I’m going to replace Carol
temporarily while she’s on
vacation.
"real speak": I’m gonna fill-in fer Carol
while she’s on vacation.
flunky n. someone who does unskilled tasks.
example:
I know I’m only a flunky, but
someday I’m going to own a big
corporation.
translation: I know I’m only a worker who
does unskilled tasks, but
someday I’m going to own a big
corporation.
"real speak": I know I’m only a flunky, b’t
someday I’m gonna own a big
corperation.
General Workplace Slang & Idioms (A-H)

speak 1

fly-by-night operation exp. an unreliable
business that tries to make a quick profit
usually through dishonesty.
example:
Don’t buy a car from them! They
run a fly-by-night operation.
translation: Don’t buy a car from them! They
run a business that tries to
make a quick profit usually
through dishonesty.
"real speak":

Don’t buy a car fr’m them! They
run a fly-by-nide operation.

get down to brass tacks (to) exp. to focus
on the fundamental issues.
example:
We have a lot to do. Let’s get
down to brass tacks.
translation: We have a lot to do. Let’s focus
on the fundamental issues.
"real speak": We have a lot ta do. Let’s get
down ta brass tacks.
Synonym: get down to business (to) exp.

get one’s foot in the door (to) exp. to start
working for a company in a position lower
than one desires in the hope of a promotion.
example:
I just need to get my foot in
the door. Then I can get the
position I really want.
translation: I just need to start working in
the company in a lower
position than I want. Then I

can get the position I really want.
"real speak":

I jus’ need da get my foot ’n
the door. Then I c’n get the
puhsition I really want.

give someone the heave-ho (to) exp. to
fire someone.
example:
They gave the heave-ho to
Ron this morning because his
work was terrible.
translation: They fired Ron this morning
because his work was terrible.
"real speak": They gave the heave-ho da
Ron th’s morning b’cuz ’is work
w’z terr’ble.
Note: The expression Heave-ho! is a

popular command meaning, “Lift
it with all your strength!” When
applied to a person, it literally
means “to lift the person and
throw him/her out.”
18


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