Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0808 Asking for Time Off

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 808: Asking for Time Off.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast number 808. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

This episode like all of our episodes has a Learning Guide and that Learning Guide can be found on our website eslpod.com. Go there, become a member, and download the Learning Guide.

This episode is a dialogue between Johnny and Francesca about asking for time off, time where you don’t have to work. Let's get started.

[start of dialogue]

Johnny: I just found out that the manager is letting Neal take Friday off. I asked him two days ago for Friday off and he turned me down!

Francesca: Neal’s wife is pregnant, so maybe he needs time off to go with her to a doctor’s visit, or something.

Johnny: That’s so messed up! I asked first, so I should have been given permission instead of Neal. I think the manager has it in for me.

Francesca: I don’t think that’s the case. Maybe next time, if you ask a couple of weeks in advance, he’ll say “yes.” Neal does have seniority, you know.

Johnny: Neal is always going to have seniority over me and I’m always going to get screwed.

Francesca: Don’t get a chip on your shoulder about this. Neal put in his years and earned his seniority fair and square. When you’ve worked here 18 years, you’ll get priority over newer hires.

Johnny: If I’m still in this job in 17 years, shoot me!

[end of dialogue]

Johnny begins by saying to Francesca, “I just found out (I just learned) that the manager is letting or allowing Neal to take Friday off.” “To take a day off” or to take a week off or a month off here is phrasal verb meaning not to go to work on that day or for that week or for that month. I'm going to take the afternoon off. That means I'm not going to work after lunch. Maybe I won't work before lunch either. I don’t know. That’s what we mean by to take something off. That same phrasal verb to take off can also mean to remove your clothing. “I'm going to take off my shirt” – not really, not in front of the microphone here! So, to take off means to remove something you are wearing. To take off can also be used for a plane that leaves the ground. “What time does the plane take off?” What time does it leave? In this dialogue, though, “to take off” means simply to not go to work.

Johnny says, “I asked him (the manager) two days ago for Friday off and he turned me down.” To “turn down someone” or to “turn someone down” is another phrasal verb that means to say “no” to something someone has asked you to do, or that someone has asked you for. “I'm going to turn down his request for a vacation next week.” I'm going to say no. To turn down is usually a verb we use when someone has authority over you, when they're higher up, have a higher position than you, and usually in a somewhat more formal situation. But you could have a parent turn down their son’s request for the car on Friday night. It's possible to say that as well.

Francesca says, “Neal’s wife” – Neal is the one who is getting Friday off – “is pregnant, so maybe he needs time off to go with her to a doctor’s visit, or something.” “Time off” is a period of time when you are not working, when you do not have to go to work. So, you could say to your boss, “I need some time off this afternoon” and your boss might say, “Okay, take this afternoon off.” “Time off” is a noun and “to take off,” of course, is a verb.

Johnny says, “That’s so messed up!” The expression to be “messed” (messed) up is sort of an informal expression to mean it's not fair or it's not right. Sometimes perhaps it's just simply confusing. Here Johnny means it's not fair. It's not right. He says, “I asked first, so I should have been given permission instead of Neal.” “I should have been given permission.” When we say you should have been something that means that it didn’t actually happen, but you think that in a perfect world, it should have happened. “Permission” is authorization. It's when someone in authority, your boss, a parent, a teacher says, “Okay, you can do that.” It is saying it's all right for you to do something. Johnny says, “I think the manager has it in for me.” “To have it in for” someone means you want to do something to someone that will make their life miserable or difficult because you dislike this person. Students often think their teachers are mean, are not nice, that they have it in for them, that they're trying to purposely make their life difficult.

Francesca says, “I don’t think that’s the case.” The “case” (case) here means the situation or the circumstances, the way something is: “I don’t think that’s the case.” It means I don’t think that’s what is actually going on here, I don’t think that is really the situation. Francesca says, “Maybe next time, if you ask a couple of weeks in advance, he’ll say yes.” To do something “in advance” means before something else happens, ahead of time, before perhaps other people do it or before something else is supposed to happen. For example, nowadays in the United States, you can buy your movie tickets in advance. So, let's say I want to go see a movie this Friday night with my wife and I decide, hmm, it might be very busy. Sometimes it's so busy you go to the movie theater and there are no more tickets left. So, I'm going to buy them in advance. I'm going to go on the Internet and I'm going to buy the tickets today for a movie we're going to see on Friday. That’s just an example. I'm not actually taking my wife to a movie on Friday. I really don’t like going to see movies in movie theaters. I don’t know if I've ever told you that, but just all the people and they're talking on their cellphones and… just, I would rather just watch a movie on my television honestly. So, that’s me.

Anyway, Francesca says, “Neal does have seniority, you know.” “Seniority” (seniority) means you usually have been at the company for a longer time. I've been working for the company for 10 years. You’ve been working for the company for one year. I have seniority over you, we might say. I have been with the company longer. And usually at a company or an organization that means that you have perhaps more power or more influence than people who are younger than you or, not younger in age, but have been at the company fewer years than you have.

Johnny says, “Neal is always going to have seniority over me and I'm always going to get screwed.” To get “screwed” (screwed) means that someone treats you unfairly, that you get a bad result, that someone does something bad to you. “Screwed” is a very strong word. It's an informal term – many people would probably consider it still a little vulgar, a little dirty, so you definitely don’t want to use this with anyone other than your family. I usually don’t use this word. It's a pretty strong word. It's definitely not something to use with your children or with your boss or with anyone that you're not very close friends with.

Francesca says, “Don’t get a chip on your shoulder about this.” To get or have a “chip” (chip) on your “shoulder” (shoulder) means to continue to think about something bad or unfair that has happened to you in the past and it still affects you in a negative way. Someone was not nice to you two months ago and so every time you see that person, you're sort of angry with them. You're not very nice with them. Some people might say you have a chip on your shoulder because that person wasn’t nice to you.

Francesca says, “Neal put in his years and earned his seniority fair and square.” “To put in your years” means to do something for a long period of time in order to get some sort of benefit, some sort of advantage. “Fair and square” means in an honest, fair way, in a truthful way, not trying to trick anyone, not trying to do anything that would be considered cheating or untruthful. Francesca says, “When you’ve worked here 18 years, you'll get priority over new hires.” “Priority” means that something is more important than other things or than something else. If you say this has priority over that, you mean that this is more important than that. So, when Francesca says that Johnny will have priority over someone, she means that just like Neal, he will have seniority over them and therefore get things before they do. Francesca says Johnny will have priority over new “hires” (hires). A hire is a person who is given a job. So, a new hire is someone who has recently been given a job in your company or organization.

Johnny says, “If I'm still in this job in 17 years, shoot me!” “If I'm still in this job” means if I'm still working here at this same job in 17 years, Johnny says, “shoot me.” “Shoot me” literally means you're asking someone to kill you, to take a gun and point it at you and shoot you. But we use this expression jokingly, sarcastically perhaps, when there's some very unpleasant situation that you are in, something very undesirable. So, let's say I lose my job and my cat died. Well, that’s not a bad thing, but let's say my cat died and I'm sad and I lost my job and I don’t have any money and I'm telling all this to a friend of mine and I say to my friend, “Oh, just shoot me!” meaning just kill me because my life is so difficult. But we don’t mean it seriously.

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

[start of dialogue]

Johnny: I just found out that the manager is letting Neal take Friday off. I asked him two days ago for Friday off and he turned me down!

Francesca: Neal’s wife is pregnant, so maybe he needs time off to go with her to a doctor’s visit, or something.

Johnny: That’s so messed up! I asked first, so I should have been given permission instead of Neal. I think the manager has it in for me.

Francesca: I don’t think that’s the case. Maybe next time, if you ask a couple of weeks in advance, he’ll say “yes.” Neal does have seniority, you know.

Johnny: Neal is always going to have seniority over me and I’m always going to get screwed.

Francesca: Don’t get a chip on your shoulder about this. Neal put in his years and earned his seniority fair and square. When you’ve worked here 18 years, you’ll get priority over newer hires.

Johnny: If I’m still in this job in 17 years, shoot me!

[end of dialogue]

I don’t invent or make up these scripts as I'm recording. They're all written in advance by our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to take (a day) off – to not go to work on a day when one normally would; to take a break from one’s regular activities

* Wei Han asked to take next Wednesday off for a doctor’s appointment.

to turn (someone) down – to say “no” to someone’s request; to not allow a person to do or have what he or she is asking to do or have

* Bryan asked three girls to the high school dance, but they all turned him down.

time off – a period of time when one has permission to not be at work even though one normally would; leave; vacation

* You seem so stressed out! I think you should take some time off and relax.

messed up – not right, fair, or clear; confusing; unjust

* Laura wasn’t allowed to date until she turned 17, but her younger sister was allowed to date when she was just 15. That’s messed up!

permission – authorization; agreement from someone in authority that one should be allowed to have or do something

* We need all of the parents to give their permission before we can take the students to the museum.

to have it in for (someone) – to want to do things that will make someone’s life difficult because one dislikes that person; to try to create problems or trouble for another person

* Lydia has it in for Ahmed, because she wants his job and she’ll do anything to make him look bad in front of the director.

the case – the way something is; a situation, scenario, or circumstance

* Craig didn’t want to believe his wife when she told him the neighbor was stealing their tools, but when he saw it happen, he understood that it was really the case.

in advance – ahead of time; with anticipation; before something else happens

* If you’d told us about your visit in advance, we would have prepared a nice meal.

seniority – having more power, influence, or rights than another person because one has been working in a particular organization for a certain period of time

* The schools use a seniority system, so the teachers who have been there the longest earn more, even if they aren’t the best teachers.

screwed – an informal, vulgar term for being treated unfairly and in an unpleasant, uncomfortable, or undesirable situation that one is not able to change

* Shigemi didn’t finish the report on time and now our whole team is screwed.

a chip on (one’s) shoulder – continuing to think about something bad or unfair that happened in the past, letting it continue to affect oneself in a negative way

* He has had a chip on his shoulder ever since he applied for a job with the company and didn’t get called for an interview.

to put in (one’s) years – to do something for the period of time needed in order to receive some benefit, advantage, or recognition; to put in one’s time

* They can’t change the company’s retirement plan now! I’ve put in my years and I expect to receive my pension!

fair and square – in a truthful, honest, and fair way, without tricking or lying to anyone

* What do you mean we won’t receive our prize money? We won the contest fair and square!

priority – something that is most important and must be dealt with or addressed before anything else

* The manager asked us to make this client’s project our top priority for the next few weeks.

hire – a person who has been given a job in an organization; an employee, especially a new employee

* All of the new hires are in the employee orientation this week.

shoot me – a phrase used to ask another person to kill oneself, used jokingly or sarcastically when one is in a very unpleasant and undesirable situation without control

* Last week our cat died, I lost my job, and the house caught on fire. Just shoot me before anything else happens.

Comprehension Questions
1. What did the manager do when Johnny asked for time off?
a) He yelled at Johnny.
b) He told Johnny “no.”
c) He gave Johnny’s job to someone else.

2. Why does Francesca say, “Don’t get a chip on your shoulder”?
a) She wants him to stop shouting.
b) She wants him to see a counselor.
c) She wants him to forget about what happened.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
case

The phrase “the case,” in this podcast, means the way something is, or a situation, scenario, or circumstance: “It’s going to rain tomorrow. In that case, let’s change our plans.” A “case” can also refer to a lawsuit, or a decision that is made in a court of law: “What percentage of his cases has that attorney won in the past few years?” A “case” is often a small container that can open and close, used to hold or store and protect something: “Have you seen my eyeglass case anywhere?” Or, “Make sure you keep your camera in its case, or you might scratch the lens.” Finally, "case” can describe whether letters are written as capital letters (uppercase) or small letters (lowercase): “Writing in uppercase in emails is often considered rude, because readers see it as shouting.”

shoot

In this podcast, the phrase “shoot me” is used to ask another person to kill oneself, used jokingly or sarcastically when one is in a very unpleasant and undesirable situation without control: “This conference is so boring and we have to stay all day! Just shoot me now.” The word “shoot” is used as a command to ask someone to do or try something, especially to begin speaking: “Can I try to fix the problem? Yeah, shoot!” The verb “to shoot” can mean to take a photograph with a camera: “Jaime is looking forward to shooting some scenery around the Grand Canyon.” Finally, the verb “to shoot” can mean to reach for something, especially if is difficult or impossible to achieve or obtain: “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Culture Note
Paid Leave

Large companies offer many types of “paid leave,” or permission to not come to work for a certain amount of time and continue to receive a “paycheck” (money from one’s employer). Most employers offer holiday leave, vacation leave, and sick leave, but larger companies have the flexibility to offer additional types of paid leave.

For example, some companies offer paid leave for “military duty,” so that an employee can “serve” (work) in the “military” (army, navy, air force, etc.) for a certain number of weeks, months, or years, and still receive a paycheck and have a job to return to upon “completion of service” (when one has finished serving the promised amount of time in the military).

Companies can also offer paid leave for “jury duty,” which is a period of time when a U.S. citizen is expected to serve on a “jury” (the group of people who decide whether someone is guilty or innocent in a lawsuit). Normally, jury duty lasts for only a few days, but depending on the complexity of the lawsuit, it can last for several weeks or even months.

Employers can also offer “bereavement leave” (time taken off work immediately after a close family member or friend “passes away” (dies)). More commonly, employers can choose to offer “generous” (giving more than is expected) “maternity leave” (time taken off work immediately before, during, and after a woman gives birth to a child) “beyond” (more than) what is required by law. Some companies offer generous “paternity leave” (for the father of a new baby), too.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - c