Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

08 Meeting with the Boss

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SCRIPT

Before leaving work for the day, I want to stop by my boss’s office to give him an update on my progress. I know he’s expecting the report on Monday and I want to let him know that it will be finished on schedule.

Before I can do that, he calls me into his office and tells me to sit down. He tells me that the regional manager is impressed with my work and is considering me for a promotion. He says that this information is hush-hush, but he wants to give me the heads up. He says that the promotion would give me a new title and a small raise, but the most important thing is that it will put me in line to eventually become a regional manager myself. He praises me for my hard work and encourages me to keep my head down and to keep plugging away.

I’m so surprised, I don’t know what to say. I’ve never thought of myself as a corporate climber and I didn’t think that my work was a standout from my
coworkers’. Of course I thank my boss, shake hands with him, and leave his office.

It’s nice to get a pat on the back from him and I hope that the promotion does come through. I don’t want to jump the gun, though, so I’m not going to think
about it too much in case it doesn’t happen.

GLOSSARY

update – the newest information about something; information about how something has changed since the last time someone spoke or read about it
* Some banks offer to send their customers daily email updates about their bank accounts.

progress – how well and how quickly something is moving forward toward completion; the amount of work that has been done to get something finished
* Val made a lot of progress on building his boat and plans to be finished by summer.

on schedule – as planned; on or before the deadline; on or before the due date
* The hospital can’t be built on schedule because it has been raining too much.

to call (someone) into (one’s) office – to ask someone to come into one’s office for a private conversation
* The school principal called Monica into his office to talk about her bad grades.

impressed with – pleased with; happy with
* Everyone was impressed with Jeremy’s performance in the play.

promotion – a move from an less important job to a more important job within the same company, usually because one has done his or her work very well
* Did you hear that Gael received a promotion from Director of Sales to Vice President of Sales?

hush-hush – secret; something that should be kept secret; something that shouldn’t be shared with other people
* Ranya is pregnant, but it’s hush-hush for now because she wants her husband to be the first person to know.

the heads up – advance notice; information that is received ahead of time or earlier than usual
* Baily got the heads up about the new project when he walked by the president’s office and accidentally heard her private phone conversation.

title – the name of one’s job
* When Vanna changed jobs, she got more money and a new title as the regional marketing coordinator.

raise – an increase in one’s salary; an increase in the amount of money that one earns at work
* What’s the best way to ask the boss for a raise?

to put (one) in line – to set someone up for something; to put someone on the path toward a personal or professional success; to help someone prepare for
something in the future
* Tabitha has worked at the company for 15 years and that experience puts her in line for a top management position.

to praise – to say good things about what someone has done; to give someone compliments
* A good boss praises the people who work for him or her, thanking them for the good work they do.

to keep (one’s) head down – to not draw attention to oneself; to say or do very little so that one can avoid attention, arguments, or problems
* Mickey is always asking questions about other people’s work. I wish he would just keep his head down and concentrate on what he’s supposed to be doing.

to keep plugging away – to continue to work hard at something
* Ramona keeps plugging away to try to finish her college degree, so that she can get a better job.

corporate climber – someone who wants to move upward quickly at work, getting better jobs, more responsibility, and better pay
* If you want to be a corporate climber, you need to learn how to get along with people.

a standout – something or someone who is better than everything else; the best
* Jasmine’s dance performance was a standout and she won first place in the competition.

to shake hands – to have two people hold each other’s right hand and move their arms up and down, usually to say hello, make an agreement, or say
goodbye
* In the United States, people usually shake hands when they meet, but in parts of Europe, people usually kiss each other on the cheek.

to get a pat on the back – to receive praise; to have someone say nice things about one’s work; to receive congratulations; to be thanked for doing something
well
* Persephone got a pat on the back from her boss last week when he thanked her for all her hard work in front of all the other employees at the staff meeting.

to jump the gun – to do, think, or say something too soon, before it has happened
* Octavia jumped the gun when she told her family that she was going to marry Richard, even before they were officially engaged.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

You’re listening to ESLPod.com’s “Using English at Work.” I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, from the Center for Educational Development.

In our seventh lesson, we learned vocabulary that is related to scheduling a meeting. In this eighth lesson, we’re going to have a meeting with the boss.

Let’s begin by listening to the story read at a slow speed.

[start of script]

Before leaving work for the day, I want to stop by my boss’s office to give him an update on my progress. I know he’s expecting the report on Monday and I want to let him know that it will be finished on schedule.

Before I can do that, he calls me into his office and tells me to sit down. He tells me that the regional manager is impressed with my work and is considering me for a promotion. He says that this information is hush-hush, but he wants to give me the heads up. He says that the promotion would give me a new title and a small raise, but the most important thing is that it will put me in line to eventually become a regional manager myself. He praises me for my hard work and encourages me to keep my head down and to keep plugging away.

I’m so surprised, I don’t know what to say. I’ve never thought of myself as a corporate climber and I didn’t think that my work was a standout from my coworkers’. Of course I thank my boss, shake hands with him, and leave his office.

It’s nice to get a pat on the back from him and I hope that the promotion does come through. I don’t want to jump the gun, though, so I’m not going to think
about it too much in case it doesn’t happen.

[end of script]

Before leaving work for the day, I want to stop by, or visit quickly, my boss’s office to give him an update on my progress. An “update” is the latest, newest information about something. When you give someone an update, you’re providing information about how your project or something else has changed
since the last time you two spoke about it. Before you start on a trip, for example, you might want to get an update on the weather; if the weather is bad,
you may change your trip. “Progress” is how quickly something is moving forward toward completion, or how quickly it is getting better or getting finished.
If someone asks about your progress in learning English, they want to know if your English is getting better. I hope it is, after listening to this course!

I go to my boss’s office to give him an update on my progress, meaning that I want to tell him the latest news about how the report is coming along – how it is
developing, how it is going. I know my boss is expecting the report on Monday and I want to let him know that it will be finished on schedule. “On schedule”
means on time or as we originally planned. My boss tells me he needs the report on Monday. Fortunately, I am going to be able to give it to him that day, so the report is on schedule. If we say something isn’t on schedule, then we mean we have to find more time to work on it, or else it won’t be finished by the date when it’s needed. We may say, “Are the trains running on schedule?” meaning are they arriving to the stations – the train stations at the time that was originally planned. If they’re not on schedule, we would say, also, they are “behind schedule.” “Behind schedule” would mean, in this case, they are late. If I’m behind schedule on my project that means that it will not be finished when I planned it to be finished.

Before I can go into my boss’s office, however, he calls me into his office. “To call someone into your office” means to ask someone to come into your office,
usually for a private conversation that wasn’t scheduled or planned. Sometimes when a boss calls an employee into his or her office, the person gets nervous
and scared because the boss may be mad or angry about something. But in this case, I find there’s nothing to worry about.

I go into my boss’s office and he tells me to sit down. My boss tells me that the regional manager is impressed with my work. The “regional manager” would be the manager of a certain large area. For example, if a company sold products to all 50 states in the United States, there might be different regional managers: one for the western region, one for the southern region, and so forth. My boss says that the regional manager is impressed with my work. “To be impressed with something” means to be very pleased or very happy with something that has happened or with something that another person has done. Parents are usually very impressed with the things that their children do; even the smallest things, sometimes. The regional manager is impressed with my work, which means that she likes the work I’ve been doing.

Next, my boss tells me that the regional manager is considering me for a promotion. A “promotion” is a move within one company from a less important
job to a more important job, usually because someone has done his or her job very well. A promotion often leads to more money as well. People get
promotions from Manager to Director, or from Vice President to President. Getting a promotion is usually very good news, unless it’s more work with the
same amount of pay. Then, not so good news!

My boss says this information is hush-hush. “Hush-hush” is an informal term that means that something is a secret, something that shouldn’t be talked about with other people. “To hush” means to tell someone to be quiet, so “hush-hush” means being quiet about something – not telling anyone else. You might tell a friend, for example, that you’re falling in love with the woman who works next to you, but you ask him to keep it hush-hush because you don’t want other people to know – like her boyfriend! By saying that the information is hush-hush, then, my boss is asking me not to tell other people that I’m being considered for a promotion.

The boss shares this secret information with me because he wants to give me the heads up. A “heads up” is information that you receive before anyone else does. A “heads up” is an advanced notice. If you’re a good customer at a clothing store, the store might give you a heads up about a sale that’s going to
start in a few days – they’re giving you information in advance, before other people get it. In this case, my promotion hasn’t happened yet, but now I have a
heads up on it and I won’t be surprised if it does happen. I hope it does!

My boss says that the promotion would give me a new title. A “title” is the name of your job, basically. Common titles include Customer Service representative, Finance Director, Vice President of Marketing, or perhaps Senior Accountant. In addition to getting a new title, I’m also going to get a small raise. A “raise” is an increase in your salary, the amount of money that you earn for doing your job. Many people get a small, 2 to 3% raise at the end of the year to cover the high cost of living; but they can also get larger raises, maybe 5 or 10%, for doing their jobs very well. When we get a promotion, as I mentioned earlier, we usually get a raise because the new position is often more difficult and has more
responsibility.

My boss says that the most important thing about the promotion is not the title or the raise, but that it will put me in line to eventually become a regional manager myself. “To put someone in line” means to help someone prepare for something in the future, especially for a personal or professional success. Doing more than your boss asks of you or perhaps doing it faster than other people may put you in line for a promotion; it’s a way of preparing you for a promotion. Getting this promotion will prepare me to be a regional manager someday in the future, so it will put me in line to become that manager.

Next, my boss praises me for my hard work. “To praise” someone means to say good things about what that person has done, to compliment him or her. It’s nice to hear someone praise us, because it lets us know that our hard work has been noticed and is being appreciated. It’s always a good idea to praise employees when they do something very well. In fact, there’s some research to suggest that praising employees will give you better performance than criticizing employees.

After my boss praises me for my hard work, he encourages me to keep my head down and to keep plugging away. There are a couple of interesting expressions there. First, “to keep your head down” means to concentrate on what you are doing, not saying or doing things that will draw attention from other people or create problems. To keep your head down means to be working seriously and hard. If you’re at the office and other people are fighting about something that doesn’t involve you, you might decide to keep your head down and continue working so that you don’t get involved in the argument. To keep your head down means to be focused on your work. If your wife is having a bad day, it might be good idea to keep your head down. I know it is, if that happens to me; that’s just a little advice!

“To keep plugging away” means to continue working very hard at something. For example, if you’re learning how to cook, but you’re having problems making good dishes, you decide to keep trying, however, you keep plugging away in order to become a better cook. My boss wants me to keep my head down and to keep plugging away – keep working hard until I get my promotion.

I’m so surprised by all of this that I don’t know what to say. I’ve never thought of myself as a corporate climber. A “corporate climber” is a person who wants to move up within a company or organization, getting better jobs, better pay, perhaps more power and responsibilities. A corporate climber is usually
someone who is very ambitious, someone who is very focused on their work. I’ve never thought of myself as one of these corporate climbers. I don’t think that my work is a standout from my coworkers’ work. A “standout” (one word) is something that is the best, better than anything else. You might be a standout on the soccer team you play on; you score more goals or points than anyone else. You are the best player – you’re a standout. Apparently the boss and the regional manager think that my work is a standout, because they’re offering the promotion to me instead of to my poor coworkers.

Even though I don’t think of myself as a corporate climber and I don’t think that my work is a standout, I thank my boss, of course, and shake hands with him.
“To shake hands” with someone means you turn to the other person, you put out your usually right hand (in the United States), you hold the other person’s right hand, and you move your arm up and down. In the U.S., we often shake hands when we meet someone for the first time and when we say goodbye, especially in a business situation. We also want to shake hands, or sometimes do shake hands, when we agree on something. In fact, we have an expression “Let’s shake on it,” meaning let’s shake hands as a way of showing that we are agreeing to something, we are coming to an official agreement. After shaking my boss’s hand, I then leave his office.

It’s nice to get a pat on the back from the boss. “To get a pat (pat) on the back” from someone means to receive praise from another person, or to have another person say nice things about something you’ve done. When someone thanks you for what you did, especially at work, you are getting a pat on the back. This is an expression that doesn’t mean the person actually touches your back; “to pat” something means to touch it, usually lightly. You can literally – actually – go up to someone and pat them on the back; that’s a way of congratulating or thanking them, but the expression is just used to mean you are getting praise, you are getting appreciation.

I say that I hope the promotion does “come through,” or happen, but I don’t want to jump the gun. “To jump the gun” means to do, think, or say something too early, before it is actually happened. I don’t know for sure that this promotion is going to happen, so I don’t want to jump the gun by thinking about it too much, because then I may be disappointed or embarrassed if the regional manager later changes her mind or decides to give the promotion to someone else. The expression “jump the gun” comes from running, such as races in the Olympics. The race begins – runners begin when they shoot a gun up in the air, and when you hear the gun then you can start running. To jump the gun means to start running before you hear the gun, to start running too early. Well, I don’t want to jump the gun, so I’m not going to think about the promotion too much, just in case it doesn’t happen, that way I won’t be disappointed.

As you can see, the meeting with my boss went very well. Let’s listen to the story again, this time at a normal speed.

[start of script]

Before leaving work for the day, I want to stop by my boss’s office to give him an update on my progress. I know he’s expecting the report on Monday and I want to let him know that it will be finished on schedule.

Before I can do that, he calls me into his office and tells me to sit down. He tells me that the regional manager is impressed with my work and is considering me for a promotion. He says that this information is hush-hush, but he wants to give me the heads up. He says that the promotion would give me a new title and a small raise, but the most important thing is that it will put me in line to eventually become a regional manager myself. He praises me for my hard work and encourages me to keep my head down and to keep plugging away.

I’m so surprised, I don’t know what to say. I’ve never thought of myself as a corporate climber and I didn’t think that my work was a standout from my
coworkers’. Of course I thank my boss, shake hands with him, and leave his office.

It’s nice to get a pat on the back from him and I hope that the promotion does come through. I don’t want to jump the gun, though, so I’m not going to think
about it too much in case it doesn’t happen.

[end of script]

In this lesson, I met with my boss and received some good news. In lesson number nine, our next less than, I’m going to talk about leaving work at the end
of the day.

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our website at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2008.