Traditional business style? New business style? Tom has moved on to a new job, and a totally new way of doing things. But which does he like better? Find out. This time we focus on language that show's you are listening to another speaker to encourage them to keep talking as well as more than 20 new phrases and expressions.
"Here we are," said Tom. "A nice big glass of wine each. Now spill the beans; I'm looking forward to hearing all the gossip!"
The two friends settled down at a quiet table in the corner of the pub.
"There's not really that much to tell," sighed Kemi. "It's not been the same since you left. Ellie the boss from hell is still as bad as ever. We're all really jealous of you, you know. You did so well to get a job at Google. So tell us how it's going."
"I can't begin to tell you how different it all is," said Tom. "It took me a while to get used to it. For a start, we can play table tennis in the office and there's a slide, computer games and a great canteen."
"You're having me on!" said Kemi.
"No, seriously," continued Tom. "There's also a granny flat where you can sit and relax, and — get this — a little caravan where you can have meetings."
"What on earth is the point of that?" wondered Kemi.
"It's supposed to make the staff feel more creative, apparently," said Tom. "The trouble is, with all these quirky features taking up so much of the space, it's surprisingly difficult to find somewhere quiet to think."
"Wait until I tell the others!" laughed Kemi. "They'll be amazed! Our office seems so stuffy, by comparison!"
"There are some definite benefits, though," continued Tom. "There's plenty of free, healthy food and we can design our working week to suit our circumstances. So one of my friends drops his children off at school every morning before coming to work, for example. He doesn't start until ten o'clock, but it suits him better to work late each evening."
"I've heard that if the employer pays attention to the employees' wellbeing, it makes them more productive and more creative," said Kemi. "It sounds as if Google have the right idea."
"It's definitely made me feel happier about going to work in the morning," said Tom. "I love not having to wear a suit and I love having the time to go to the gym at lunch time. I definitely think I work harder during the week, and it leaves me free to enjoy my weekends. Apparently, far fewer people go off sick at Google, because they're less stressed and probably feel more loyal to the company."
"So are there any downsides to working like this?" asked Kemi. "Why don't all businesses work in this way if it's so good?"
"Well apparently, Google has the fourth highest turnover of staff in the Fortune 500," said Tom, "so it's not perfect."
"Mind you," said Kemi, "that might be because most of the staff are young and more mobile. Perhaps they'd be more likely to move on because they're working their way up."
"You could be right," said Tom, "but I'm not going anywhere fast — I love it, and I'll be there as long as they'll have me!"
Phrases and Expressions
1. Now spill the beans = this is a really common idiom which means to reveal a secret or some kind of hidden information. It could be intentional or accidental. By extension then it also gets used in this kind of casual situation to say "tell us everything".
2. There's not really that much to tell = "not much to tell" means "not much to say". This is quite a common pattern.
3. It's not been the same since you left = if you say, "It's not been the same since…" you're saying that since whatever it is that happened, things have been different in a negative way. So basically Kemi's saying it was more fun, better, etc., when Tom was still at Citybizzy – now he's gone it's kind of boring.
4. the boss from hell = a really strict, tough boss.
5. tell us how it's going = This is a very common phrase. Kemi is saying, "How is your new job?"
6. I can't begin to tell you how different it all is = This is a common phrase used to emphasise something. So here Tom is saying working at Google is SO different to working at CityBizzy – so much so, in fact, that it's hard to describe. Another example would be, I went to a really great coffee shop in Sheffield several months ago – I can't begin to tell you how good their coffee is!
7. You're having me on! = another very common idiom. If you "have someone on" you trick them in some way to tease them or as a joke.
8. There's also a granny flat = a "granny flat" is a part of a house that is made into a self-contained flat. It's called a "granny flat" because generally these are used for elderly relatives to live in. I'm pretty sure that we only say this in the UK.
9. What on earth is the point of that? = "what on earth" is a common chunk used to show surprise or emphasise surprise. So here Kemi is saying "You have something like that! I'm surprised!! why??" also
10. what is the point of that = "why would you do that?" – "the point" refers to the "reason" for doing something. For example, you might say to me "but doing the dictation is so hard" … to which I'd reply "that's the point. It's BECAUSE it's hard that it works."
11. Taking up so much of the space = If something "takes up" space, it uses a lot of space.
12. Wait until I tell the others! = another really common expression. This is used to mean something like "wow, that's so cool!" basically Kemi's saying, "that sounds amazing… so amazing that I want to tell all our friends and see their reactions!"
13. Our office seems so stuffy, by comparison! = CityBizzy is a big company but compared to Google CityBizzy seems really small and cramped. If something is "stuffy" it's small and cramped, and lacks ventilation. We also often use stuff about people or organizations to say that they're narrow minded, uncreative and too conventional.
14. I've heard that = another common chunk used to say that something is not our opinion, but something other (unspecified) people have said, or something that is general knowledge.
15. It sounds as if Google have the right idea = if someone has "the right idea" they are doing things in the right way. I think the meaning of this is fairly obvious, but i just wanted to point out that this is a very common pattern.
16. The fourth highest turnover of staff in the Fortune 500 = Turnover of staff refers to staff joining and staff leaving.
17. Mind you = this is a very common chunk that tags on to the beginning of a sentence and emphasises the following point as something which needs to be taken into consideration. Here Kemi is saying something like "it's true that Google has a high turnover – but what you should consider is that it might be because many people who come to work at Google are young".
18. They'd be more likely to move on = "move on" is a common phrasal verb, and here it means to go onto the next job or stage in a career.
19. I'm not going anywhere fast= another common expression. This means "I'm happy where I am, and I'm planning to stay here".
20. I'll be there as long as they'll have me! = so until Google decides they don't want Tom anymore (which hopefully for Tom means until retirement)
You should have done the following before marking the lesson complete:
- Dictation (either completly or time blocked - e.g. 20mins.
- Been through the lesson at least once and understood the main points
- Understood all the chunks, practised them and thought about how you can use them yourself.
- Done shadowing until it feels fairly easy.
- Ask any questions in the comments below ↓.
Don't worry too much if you didn't do everything perfectly; it's more important that you keep doing it consistently.