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0240 Working Overtime

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 240: Working Overtime.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 240. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Remember to visit our website at eslpod.com. There you will find the Learning Guide for this episode that contains all the vocabulary, definitions, additional definitions, culture notes and a complete transcript of this episode. You'll also find, at our website, our new ESL Podcast Store, where you can download special courses as well as our new “English Through Stories Mystery.”

This episode is called “Working Overtime.” Let's get started.

[start of story]

Jeremy: Hello.

Miranda: Hi, it’s me. I can’t make it home for dinner tonight. I’m working overtime.

Jeremy: Again? That’s the third time this week. I can’t believe your boss is making you do this.

Miranda: Don’t get mad, but I actually told him that I didn’t mind. I know I’ve been working long hours, but I don’t want to turn down the work. You know that I’m getting paid time and a half, and we need the money.

Jeremy: I know we do, but we’re getting by. What happened to a 40-hour workweek? You’ve been working at least 60. It’s not worth it for you to work your fingers to the bone no matter how strapped we are.

Miranda: I know. I know. It’s just that morale around this place is pretty low and I’m just trying to do my part. Just don’t gripe. Okay?

Jeremy: I’m not griping. I’m just worried about you. You come home after a long day, and you’re overworked and emotionally drained. That’s not fair to the kids.

Miranda: You’re right, but could we talk about it this weekend? I’ve really got to go. I promise we’ll work it all out then.

Jeremy: Okay, but what time are you coming home tonight?

Miranda: I’m not sure, but I’ll try to make it home in time to tuck the kids in.

Jeremy: All right. I’ll see you then.

Miranda: Bye.

[end of story]

Our dialogue was a telephone conversation between Jeremy and Miranda; they are husband and wife. You can tell by how nice they talk to each other that they must be married!

Jeremy answers the phone, “Hello.” Miranda says, “Hi, it’s me.” “It's me” is what you would say when you expect the other person to recognize your voice - to know who you are. Miranda says that she “can't make it home,” or she can't be at home, “for dinner” because she's “working overtime.” To work overtime, “overtime,” (one word) means to work longer than your normal hours. Normally you work between, say, nine in the morning 'til 5 in the afternoon. To work overtime would be to work later than that five o'clock, to six o'clock or eight o'clock, or to work on the weekends. That would be working overtime.

Jeremy is not happy with his wife, Miranda. He says, “Again,” meaning you're doing this again. “That's the third time this week.” Jeremy thinks the boss of Miranda is making her or forcing her to work overtime.”

Miranda says, “Don’t get mad,” that's what you say when you are about to tell someone something that will probably make them mad. I say this a lot to my wife! “Don't get mad, but I actually told him that I didn’t mind.” The expression to not mind or I don't mind - I didn't (past tense) mind - means that you are not bothered by or annoyed by - you're not upset, mad or angry about something. For example, you may say, “I don't mind if you use my car, but I want you to put gas in it.” We'd probably say, “as long as,” meaning under the condition of you putting gas in it. So, that's “I don't mind.”

Miranda says she has “been working long hours.” Long, “long,” hours means a lot of hours - a lot of time. “But,” she says, “I don't want to turn down the work.” To turn down something is to say no to something - to not accept something. There are a couple of meetings of this expression; you'll want to look at the Learning Guide for today for more information about it.

Miranda continues, “You know that I’m getting paid time and a half, and we need the money.” To be paid time and a half, “half,” means that you are being paid additional money for working more time. So, instead of getting ten dollars an hour, you're getting 15 dollars an hour. That would be time and a half - 50 percent more. That's a common policy in some companies. If you work overtime you get paid more money.

Jeremy says that he understands they need the money. “But,” he says, “we're getting by.” To get by means to have enough money to pay for the basic things in life - your food, transportation, a place to live and so forth. If you're not making much more than that, you could say that “I'm getting by,” means I have enough money but not a lot of money.

So, Jeremy says that they are getting by. “What happened to a 40-hour workweek,” he asks. Workweek, “workweek,” (one word) means the number of days that you normally work. The typical workweek in the United States is Monday through Friday. The number of hours a typical person works is 40 hours, so a 40-hour workweek.

Jeremy says, “It’s not worth it for” Miranda “to work” her “fingers to the bone.” This expression, to work your fingers to the bone, “bone,” means to work very hard - many hours each day - to work too much. Jeremy says it doesn't “matter how strapped we are.” To be strapped, “strapped,” means to need money or not having very much money. You might say, “I'm strapped for cash,” meaning I don't have enough money - enough cash.

Miranda says that the morale at her workplace is very low. Morale, “morale,” means the way that a group people feel. It's the positive or negative feelings that a group of people might have, usually people who work together or who are associated with each other somehow.

Miranda tells Jeremy that she's “just trying to do” her “part,” meaning she's trying to do what she is responsible for - what she should do. Then she tells him “Just don't gripe.” To gripe, “gripe,” means to complain - to say negative things about something or someone.

Well, Jeremy says, “I’m not griping” - gripe is usually something of a criticism, in this particular case it is. Jeremy says, “I’m just worried about you.” Like the loving husband that he is, he's worried about his poor wife working too many hours while he is at home watching television! “You come home after a long day,” Jeremy says, “and you’re overworked and emotionally drained.” To be overworked means to work too much - to be very tired. Emotionally drained, “drained,” means that you are very tired - without any energy. Jeremy says this is “not fair to the kids” - to their children.

Miranda says, “You’re right, but can we talk about” this on the “weekend?” She says that they will be able to “work it all out then.” To work something all out to means to talk to someone about a problem, and to find a way to fix the problem.

Jeremy says, “Okay, what time are you coming home tonight,” and Miranda says she's not sure, but that she'll be “home in time to tuck the kids in,” meaning she'll be home before the hour that the children - the kids - have to go to bed. To tuck your children in means to go to their bed and maybe kiss them or hug them, tell them goodnight, put the blankets on top of them so they can fall asleep.

Jeremy says okay, “All right. I’ll see you then.” We might wonder whether Jeremy should get a job so that his wife didn't have to work so much. But that's between Jeremy and Miranda, they need to work that all out!

Now let's listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

Jeremy: Hello.

Miranda: Hi, it’s me. I can’t make it home for dinner tonight. I’m working overtime.

Jeremy: Again? That’s the third time this week. I can’t believe your boss is making you do this.

Miranda: Don’t get mad, but I actually told him that I didn’t mind. I know I’ve been working long hours, but I don’t want to turn down the work. You know that I’m getting paid time and a half, and we need the money.

Jeremy: I know we do, but we’re getting by. What happened to a 40-hour workweek? You’ve been working at least 60. It’s not worth it for you to work your fingers to the bone no matter how strapped we are.

Miranda: I know. I know. It’s just that morale around this place is pretty low and I’m just trying to do my part. Just don’t gripe. Okay?

Jeremy: I’m not griping. I’m just worried about you. You come home after a long day, and you’re overworked and emotionally drained. That’s not fair to the kids.

Miranda: You’re right, but could we talk about it this weekend? I’ve really got to go. I promise we’ll work it all out then.

Jeremy: Okay, but what time are you coming home tonight?

Miranda: I’m not sure, but I’ll try to make it home in time to tuck the kids in.

Jeremy: All right. I’ll see you then.

Miranda: Bye.

[end of story]

The script for today's podcast was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

That's all we have time for. From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007, by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
overtime – time worked in addition to the regular 40 hours of work in a week

* Accountants usually work overtime in March and April, when they have to do their client’s taxes before the April 15 deadline.


to not mind – to not be bothered, annoyed, or frustrated by something; to not be upset or angry about something

* I don’t mind if you come home late, but please call to let me know, so that I don’t worry about you.

long hours – a lot of time; too much time, usually at work

* Hideaki spends such long hours studying at the library that his friends almost never see him.


to turn down – to reject something; to say ‘no’ to something; not to accept something

* The company gave him a great job offer, but he decided to turn it down because he didn’t want to move to another city.


time and a half – 150% of one’s regular pay (if someone normally makes $10 per hour, he or she makes $15 per hour when he or she is paid time and a half)

* Alberta likes working overtime because she gets paid time and a half, and she and her husband are saving up to buy a house.


to get by – to have enough money to pay for food, housing, and other necessary things to live

* Kyle and his wife both work all day, but it’s still difficult for them to get by because their apartment in the city is so expensive.


40-hour workweek – the traditional work schedule of 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday, or 40 hours per week

* If you are a business owner, it’s almost impossible to have a 40-hour workweek because you feel like you need to work all the time.


to work your fingers to the bone – to work very hard and for many hours each day

* Rachelle is working her fingers to the bone, spending 60 hours at the office each week and then cooking and cleaning at home for her family.


strapped – needing money; without very much money

* Could you lend me $50? I’m strapped and I won’t get paid until next week.


morale – the way that a group of people feels; a group’s positive feelings of enthusiasm and confidence

* Xavier likes his new job because the office morale is really high and everyone gets along with one another.


to gripe – to complain; to say negative things about something

* You’re always griping about your roommates. If you don’t like living with other people, why don’t you get your own apartment?


overworked – physically and mentally tired because one has worked too much

* We are all overworked! The company needs to hire more workers because there’s too much to do in this department.


emotionally drained – emotionally tired and without energy

* After her father died, she felt emotionally drained and she wanted to sleep all day.


to work it all out – to talk with someone about a problem and find a way to fix it

* Ronald and Bethany had a big fight four days ago, but last night they were able to work it all out.


to tuck the kids in – to kiss one’s children while they are in bed, putting blankets around them and helping them fall asleep

* When you tuck the kids in tonight, don’t forget to read them a story to help them fall asleep.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why doesn’t Jeremy want Miranda to work so much?
a) Because the bones in her fingers are too tired.
b) Because she is too tired when she gets home.
c) Because she never gets paid extra for working late.

2. What does Miranda mean by saying “we’ll work it all out” this weekend?
a) She wants to talk about the problem this weekend.
b) She has to work at the office during the weekend.
c) She wants to go to the gym for a workout this weekend.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to turn down

The phrasal verb “to turn down” means to reject or say ‘no’ to something: “Clarke asked Lisa to go to the dance with him, but she turned him down because she wanted to go with her girlfriends instead.” “To turn (something) down (or up)” means to move a button so that a machine makes less (or more) noise or heat: “Please turn down the volume on the TV.” Or, “Please turn up the heat – it’s really cold in here!” “To turn up” also means to be found: “I looked everywhere for my keys, and they finally turned up in the refrigerator the next day. I don’t know how they got there!” “To turn out” means to attend or be at an event: “How many people turned out for the concert?”

to get by

In this podcast, the phrase “to get by” means to have enough money to pay for food and housing, and other daily needs: “Some men and women would like to stay home with their children, but they have to work so that the family can get by financially.” “To get ahead” means to make progress, especially in one’s job: “She’s studying for her master’s degree at night so that she can get ahead in the office.” Or, “Getting ahead in a competitive business like this one is really hard.” “To get in” means to come home or to arrive at a place: “What time did you get in last night?” Or, “What time will the train get in to Philadelphia?” “To get up” means to leave bed and stand up after sleeping: “During the week, he gets up at 5:00 a.m., but on Saturdays he likes to stay in bed until 11:00 a.m.”

Culture Note
The traditional “workweek” (the amount of time worked in one week) is 40 hours in the United Sates. However, many people work more than 40 hours per week. Some of these people receive additional money for this work, but others do not. This depends on what type of “employees” (workers) these people are.

There are two types of employees. The first type of employee is known an “exempt” or “salaried” employee. These people receive a “salary” of a certain amount of money each week, month, or year, and the amount does not change if they work more or fewer hours. Most “professionals,” such as doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, and journalists are exempt or salaried employees. They often have to work more than 40 hours per week, but they do not receive any additional money for this work.

The second type of employee is a “non-exempt” or “hourly” employee. These employees receive a certain “hourly rate” (dollars for each hour) that they work (for example, $8 per hour). At the end of the week, the number of hours that a non-exempt or hourly employee has worked is multiplied by his or her hourly rate to determine how much money he or she should be given. If a non-exempt or hourly employee works more than 40 hours per week, the additional time is known as “overtime.” Non-exempt or hourly employees receive more money when they work overtime, usually “time and a half.”

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a