|above and beyond the call of duty||If a person does something which is above and beyond the call of duty, they show a greater degree of courage or effort than is usually required or expected in their job.|
The fire-fighter received a medal for his action which went above and beyond the call of duty.
|back-room boys||This term refers to people who do important work but have no contact with the public.|
Back-room boys don’t always receive the credit they deserve for their work.
|brain drain||The departure of highly qualified people (scientists, engineers, etc.) for other countries, where they have better opportunities and usually better pay, is called the brain drain.|
|busman’s holiday||A busman’s holiday is when you spend your spare time or your holidays doing the same sort of activity as you do in your job.|
My husband is a chef, so for him time off with the family is often a busman’s holiday!
|cream of the crop||This expression refers to the best people or things in a particular group.|
As usual, the cream of the crop of this year’s graduates were offered the best jobs.
|dead wood||The term dead wood refers to people or things which are no longer considered useful or necessary.|
The new manager wants to reduce costs by cutting out the dead wood.
|on the dole||A person who receives financial assistance from the government when they are unemployed is on the dole.|
Their father is on the dole so the family is living on a tight budget.
|dream ticket||If you refer to two people as a dream ticket, you think they would work well together and be successful.|
Two world champions teaming up for the childrens’ fund-raising project would be a dream ticket.
|duty bound||If you are duty bound to do something, you are required to do it|
as part of your obligations.
Teachers are duty bound to report a pupil’s absence from school.
|earn while you learn||This expression refers to the possibility of earning a salary while in training.|
Become an apprentice and get paid while in training. Earn while you learn!
|firing line||Someone who is in the firing line is in a position to be criticized because of their responsibilities or the position they hold.|
The managing director of the bank is in the firing line since the fraud was discovered.
|get the axe||If someone gets the axe, they lose their job.|
When a company is restructured, the senior staff are often the first to get the axe.
|golden handcuffs||The term golden handcuffs refers to a large sum of money or a generous financial arrangement granted to an executive as an incentive to stay in their job, or to ensure long-term cooperation after their departure.|
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|golden handshake||A golden handshake is a generous sum of money given to a person when they leave a company or retire (sometimes given to encourage early retirement).|
|golden parachute||A golden parachute is a clause in an executive’s employment contract stating that the executive will receive certain large benefits if their employment is terminated.|
|glass ceiling||This term refers to a discriminatory barrier perceived by women and minorities that prevents them from rising to positions of power or responsibility.|
Claire knew she would never break the glass ceiling and rise to a senior management position.
|hang up one’s boots||When a sports player hangs up their boots, they stop playing and retire. (This expression is often used to refer to retirement in general.)|
Dad says he’s going to hang up his boots at the end of the year.
|number cruncher||This is a humorous way of referring to someone who is an accountant or who is very good at working with numbers and calculations.|
She’s a number cruncher who perfectly understands the organization’s financial situation.
|learn the ropes||If you learn the ropes, you learn how to do a particular job correctly.|
He’s bright. It won’t take him long to learn the ropes.
|paid peanuts||If you are paid peanuts, you have a very low salary.|
Jenny has a very interesting job, but she’s paid peanuts.
|play second fiddle||If you play second fiddle to another person, you accept to be second in importance to that person, or have a lower position.|
John resented having to play second fiddle to the sales manager when the company was restructured.
|plum job||A desirable position which is well-paid and considered relatively easy is called a plum job.|
Ideally he’d like to find himself a plum job in New York.
|pound the pavement||Someone who pounds the pavement walks the streets or goes from company to company, usually in search of employment.|
(You can also pound the pavement in an effort to raise funds or gain support for a cause.)
Charlie is out there pounding the pavement since he lost his job.
|put out to pasture||To say that someone has been put out to pasture means that they have been forced to retire or give up their responsibilities.|
He’s in good health and he feels it’s too early to be put out to pasture.
|be sacked/get thesack||If someone is sacked or gets the sack, they lose their job, usually because they have done something wrong.|
Charlie got the sack when his boss caught him stealing.
|separate sheep from goats||If you separate the sheep from the goats, you examine a group of people and decide which are suitable and which are not.|
Examining job applications is the first stage in separating the sheep from the goats.
|shape up or ship out||This expression is used to warn someone that if they do not improve, they will have to leave their job.|
When Tom started neglecting the customers, he was told to shape up or ship out.
|show someone the ropes||If you show someone the ropes, you teach or explain to them how to do a particular job.|
The manager is busy showing the ropes to two new trainees.
|another string to your bow||If you have another string to your bow, you have another skill or possible course of action if everything else fails.|
As well as her excellent qualifications, she’s got another string to her bow to help her find a job. She speaks fluent Chinese.
|tricks of the trade||This term refers to a clever or expert way of doing things, especially in a job.|
He’s a tough negotiator; he knows all the tricks of the trade.
|waiting in the wings||If someone is waiting in the wings, they are waiting for an opportunity to take action, especially to replace someone else in their job or position.|
There are many young actors waiting in the wings ready to show their talent.
|walking papers||If you are given your walking papers, your contract or a relationship has ended.|
After causing a diplomatic incident, Carter got his walking papers.
|work to rule||During a conflict, when employees decide to do only the minimum amount of work required by company rules, and refuse any overtime, etc., they work to rule.|
In protest against the new measures, the employees decided to work to rule.
|worth one’s salt||Someone who deserves respect because they do their job well is|
a person who is worth their salt.
Any inspector worth their salt would have checked the papers carefully.
|xerox subsidy||This term refers to the habit of using the photocopier at work for personal use.|
A certain percentage of photocopies are in fact xerox subsidies.
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