Work (the job we do) and working takes up a significant part of our day, week, month and years. Here are some English words and expressions related to work. As much as we complain about it the majority of us actually enjoy working. Without it what would we do? We all dream about winning the “lotto” and perhaps never having to work again but in reality we would miss it if we did not have to get up in the morning and travel to our jobs.
God makes work for idle hands is a well known English expression. If you are idle (not doing anything) it will not last a long time as someone will ask you to do something very quickly! So let’s learn some words and expressions related to WORK.
English Words and Expressions related to WORK
WORKING SCHEDULE – This is the timetable or the duties you have to complete daily. Sometimes it can be referred to as a roster or more informally as a “to do list”.
ex. When I started my new job my boss gave me my working schedule. I was working in the mornings from 8 to 1pm from Monday to Thursday then from 4 pm to Midnight for Friday and Saturday. I only had one day off per week.
WORK TO RULE – When the workers are in dispute with their employers and are demanding better conditions the trade union representing them will suggest that they work to rule. This will put pressure on the management. Work to rule means working the hours according to your contract but not doing anything more.
ex. We had been in dispute for almost 4 weeks with no sign of any agreement. Our union then advised us to work to rule. We were not allowed to work overtime and we had to take our breaks and lunch hour. Everybody left the office at 5 pm every evening. The management got tired of this after one week and they agreed to most of our demands very quickly.
WORKING CONDITIONS – one of those expressions related to work that you often hear in the news or read in newspapers. This relates to everything connected with your employment. It covers (includes) issues such as your hours, your holidays, your place of work and how generally you are treated by the company.
ex. My friend got a new job last week. His working conditions were much improved. He got his own office, he started at 9 am and left before 6 pm everyday.
OVERTIME – When you are busy and all of the work cannot be finished in your normal working hours your boss might ask you to work late for a few days to get the orders completed. This is referred to as overtime. It is usually official overtime when the boss agrees to it as normally you are paid extra for working “non sociable hours” (hours when other people are at home with their families).
However, many people work unofficial overtime when they stay late to complete their work and get no additional pay.
ex. I work overtime at least twice a month to get the orders completed. I do not mind as I get double pay (twice the hourly rate) when I work past 6 pm in the evening. It, however, has to be approved by my boss otherwise I get nothing.
English Expressions related to Work
WORKAHOLIC – Most people like their work. Some people can do nothing else. They work as many hours as they can including weekends. They are addicted to their work and we refer to them as workaholics in the same way as we refer to someone addicted to alcohol!
ex. When Peter started his new job he lost interest in everything else. Now he works six days a week and on his time off he works form home. He is a real workaholic.
TAKE TIME OFF WORK – Most people in work (a job) get specific days off as holidays. Most people also work only from Monday to Friday so enjoy the weekends relaxing. These holidays and weekends are official. Sometimes we need additional time away from work because we are ill or someone close to us has died or we have some personal issues deal with. These days over and above the official holidays and weekends is referred to as “time off work”.
ex. My wife gave birth to our first child. The boss was very good. He recommended that I take a few days “off work” to help my wife when she got out of hospital. This time off work was a real bonus.
Other English words connected with work can include:
COMMITTED – this is an adjective to describe how much someone loves his work and works as hard as he can to be successful.
ex. He is really committed to his work. He always has his mobile phone switched on and is constantly sending emails to his bosses and their clients.
DEDICATED – Another adjective similar in meaning to committed. Dedicated means that an individual will do all that he/she can to fulfil his targets, achieve his goals and will not let anything else get in the way.
ex. David was a dedicated employee. Working at weekends was not a problem for him. In fact he even took his laptop with him on holidays and worked remotely from his hotel.
RELIABLE – Another adjective to describe that someone can depend on you to do as they promised. In relation to work it means you will arrive on time, work hard when needed and deliver as your boss requires.
ex. Colin was a very reliable employee. He worked most of his lunch hours and when the boss required some overtime to be done he was always the first to volunteer (to agree). He was really reliable.
TO BE UP TO YOUR EYES IN SMTH – to be very busy doing something
ex. I’m up to my eyes in work this week, I have to finish this report before month end.
TO BE SNOWED UNDER – to have too much work to deal with
ex. We don’t have enough employees in our department, everybody is completely snowed under.