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10 Socializing with Coworkers

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SCRIPT

When I walk past Van’s desk on my way out of the office, I see that he’s talking to a group of people. He stops and asks if I want to go with them to happy hour at the restaurant and bar down the street. It has been a busy week and I need to blow off some steam. On top of that, I don’t have any big plans for the evening, so I say, “yes.”

Eight of us walk down the street to Steve’s Cantina. We find a table in the back of the bar and look at the drinks menu. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m., and the drinks are half price. We order our drinks and I go to get some snacks and appetizers. I look at the food that’s available and I see a lot of deep-fried foods
and chips and dip, so I load up and go back to the table.

One of the guys, Brian, starts to grumble about work and to bad-mouth the boss. I’m in no mood to talk about work, so I change the subject. I ask everybody what his or her plans are for the weekend. Diana says that she’s planning to kick back and relax. Rodrigo said he has a hot date. Van tells us a funny story about the last date he went on that didn’t go very well. We have a good laugh over it.

We all have a great time at happy hour and it’s a good way to kick off the weekend!

GLOSSARY

happy hour – a time in the late afternoon on weekdays at many bars where drinks and food cost less than usual
* Hank’s Pub has a great happy hour at 6:00 on Thursdays where beers are only $1.50 each.

to blow off some steam – to let go of emotions and stress that have been building up over a period of time; to relax
* Derek goes for a run whenever he needs to blow off some steam.

on top of that – in addition; furthermore; moreover; also
* When Eleanor asked me to go to the movies tonight, I said “no” because I was really tired, the movie theater is too far away, and on top of that, I didn’t like the movie she wanted to see.

big plans – exciting and interesting arrangements for doing something; plans to do important or interesting activities
* Moira has big plans for opening a business and working independently.

half price – costing 50% less than usual
* Normally this necklace costs $60, but today it’s half price so I’m going to buy it for only $30.

snacks – food eaten between regular meals
* Since I’m trying to lose weight, I’m trying to eat healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, and yogurt.

appetizer – a small amount of food eaten at a restaurant while one is waiting for the main course to be served; the first course in a meal
* Grandma doesn’t eat very much, so when we go to restaurants she usually just orders an appetizer while the rest of us order bigger meals.

deep-fried food – food that has been cooked in oil for a long time and has a lot of fat
* A lot of Americans grew up eating deep-fried foods like French fries and fried chicken.

chips and dip – a large plate with potato or corn chips (thin pieces of potato or corn that are fried in oil and salted) that are served with a small cup of dip (a
thick, creamy sauce) so that people can put the dip on the chips to eat them
* Whenever Wayne has friends come to his house, he makes a big plate of chips and dip for everyone to share.

to load up – to put a lot of something on one’s plate or in a container
* Miguel is on a diet, so he loaded up his plate with lots of fruits and vegetables, ignoring the cheese, meats, and bread.

to grumble – to complain quietly about something
* The man sitting next to me on the bus was grumbling about all the noisy teenagers who were riding in the bus with us.

to bad-mouth (someone) – to say bad things about another person; to say all the reasons that one does not like another person
* Lana was bad-mouthing the professor, telling us that he isn’t fair when he grades the tests.

in no mood – not wanting to do something; not interested in doing something
* After working for 12 hours without a break, I was in no mood to come home and make dinner, so we went to a restaurant instead.

to change the subject – to say something that gets people to stop talking about the current topic and begin talking about something else
* When the family started to argue about politics, I wanted to change the subject, but I didn’t know how to do it.

to kick back – to relax; to stop working and start having fun
* Jen likes to kick back on Friday nights by watching a movie and eating pizza with her roommate.

a hot date – a romantic meeting with someone who is very attractive and sexy
* Brandon went on a hot date last night, so we’re all looking forward to hearing about it later today.

to have a good laugh – to laugh loudly and for a long time about something that was very funny; to have a lot of fun
* Everyone had a good laugh when we went to see the new comedy at the movie theater last night.

to kick off – to start something, usually with a ceremony or an event
* Let’s kick off our vacation by going surfing when we arrive in Hawaii.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

You’re listening to ESLPod.com’s “Using English at Work” lesson 10. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, from the Center for Educational Development.

In the ninth lesson of “Using English at Work,” we learned vocabulary related to leaving the office at the end of the day. In this 10th and final lesson, we’re going to talk about socializing with coworkers.

We’ll get started by listening to our story first at a slow speed.

[start of script]

When I walk past Van’s desk on my way out of the office, I see that he’s talking to a group of people. He stops me and asks if I want to go with them to happy
hour at the restaurant and bar down the street. It has been a busy week and I need to blow off some steam. On top of that, I don’t have any big plans for the evening, so I say, “yes.”

Eight of us walk down the street to Steve’s Cantina. We find a table in the back of the bar and look at the drinks menu. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m., and the drinks are half price. We order our drinks and I go to get some snacks and appetizers. I look at the food that’s available and I see a lot of deep-fried foods
and chips and dip, so I load up and go back to the table.

One of the guys, Brian, starts to grumble about work and to bad-mouth the boss. I’m in no mood to talk about work, so I change the subject. I ask everybody what his or her plans are for the weekend. Diana says that she’s planning to kick back and relax. Rodrigo said he has a hot date. Van tells us a funny story about the last date he went on that didn’t go very well. We have a good laugh over it.

We all have a great time at happy hour and it’s a good way to kick off the weekend!

[end of script]

Our final story begins with me walking past Van’s desk as I’m leaving the office. I see that he is talking with a group of other people. He stops me as I walk by and asks me if I want to go with them to happy hour at a restaurant and bar down the street. A “happy hour” is a short period of time, usually one, two, perhaps three hours in the late afternoon and weekdays when many bars have drinks and food that costs less than usual. Bars have happy hours to get more customers to come in for a drink after work. Most happy hours are in the early evening, around quitting time between, for example, 5 and 7 or 5:30 and 7:30.

It’s been a busy week for me and I need to blow off some steam. “To blow off some steam” means to get rid of strong emotions and stress that have been
building up over time. After the end of a long, stressful week, many people need a way to blow off some steam and relax. That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in going with Van and the other people to happy hour. If you and your wife have been fighting a lot recently, for example, you may want to play some sport with your friends to blow off some steam – to get rid of that stress. Usually that doesn’t work, but you can try it!

I agree to go to happy hour so I can blow off some steam, but I also have another reason. I say, “On top of that, I don’t have any big plans for the evening.” The phrase “on top of that” means in addition, also, or moreover. In other words, it’s been a busy week, I need to blow off some steam, and in addition, I don’t have any big plans. When we say we have “big plans,” we are talking about something that would be exciting or interesting to do. You may have big plans for your career or you can have big plans for building a new house – something big and exciting. But I don’t have big plans for this evening, so I say “yes” to Van’s invitation to go to happy hour with him and my other coworkers.

There are eight of us in the group and we walk down the street to a bar called Steve’s Cantina. “Cantina” is a Spanish word used to mean a bar. We find a
table in the back of the bar, away from the door (far from the door), and we look at the drinks menu. At this bar, Steve’s Cantina, happy hour is from 4 to 7 and the drinks are half price. When we say something is “half price,” it’s being sold at 50%, or one-half of the normal price. For example, a $20 shirt at half price is $10.

After we order our half-price drinks, I go to get some snacks and appetizers. An “appetizer” is a small amount of food that is usually eaten at a restaurant before your main meal, or your entrée. It’s usually something small like a cup of soup, a salad, if you at a bar, perhaps some chicken wings. I go get snacks and appetizers while we’re waiting for drinks to arrive. I look at the food that’s available and I see a lot of deep-fried foods and chips and dip. “Deep-fried food” is food that has been cooked in a lot of hot oil for a certain time. Usually, it has a brown color after it’s been cooked and is crunchy or slightly hard on the outside. Deep-fried food tastes very good, I think, but it can also be somewhat unhealthy (not good for your health – for your body). “Chips and dip” is a plate with a lot of potato chips or perhaps tortilla chips that are fried in oil and salted. The dip is a creamy sauce; for example, the sauce may be made with onions and sour cream. There are many different types of dip. We use the chips to pick up a little bit of dip and then we eat the chip and the dip together. I love chips and dip!

When I see a lot of deep-fried foods and chips and dip, I load up and go back to the table. “To load up” means to put a lot of something on your plate, or perhaps in a container, or something that can hold other things. For example, if I’m moving from one apartment to another, I would load up my car with things from my old apartment to take to my new apartment. I’m putting as many things as I can into my car. When I get to my new apartment, then I would “unload,” or take those things out of my car and put them in the apartment. In this lesson, I’m loading up by putting a lot of food on my plate. Then I go back to the table where my coworkers are and I say, “I’m going to eat this all by myself. You can’t have any!” No, I don’t say that! I’m a nice person so I let them eat the food also.

One of the guys, or male coworkers, is Brian. We use the word “guy” to informally refer to a man. Brian starts to grumble about work. “To grumble” means to complain quietly, or sometimes not so quietly, about something. You’re not saying it very loudly so that everyone can hear you, but you’re indicating that you are unhappy by the things you say. In this case, Brian is grumbling, probably talking about the reasons why he doesn’t like his job. Brian also starts to bad-mouth the boss. “To bad-mouth (someone)” means to say bad things about another person. It’s never a good idea to bad-mouth someone, because that other person may hear you, or people that you are talking to might tell that person – especially if that person is your boss!

When Brian starts to grumble about work and bad-mouth the boss, I’m in no mood to talk about work. If someone is “in no mood” to do something, it means that he or she does not want to do something, they’re not interested in doing something. If you feel sick, for example, you probably are in no mood to go outside and play in the snow, or simply to go outside. I’m in no mood to talk about work, meaning I don’t want to talk about work since it’s Friday and it’s the beginning of the weekend, so I change the subject. “To change the subject” means to say or do something that gets people to stop talking about whatever they’re talking about now and begin talking about something else. If your wife or husband asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, you may change the subject so perhaps they’ll forget about it. That’s what I’m doing here; I’m changing the subject so we can talk about something else, not work.

To do that, I ask my coworkers about their plans for the weekend. Diana says that she’s planning to kick back and relax. “To kick back” means to stop working and start having fun. I like to kick back after a long day by sitting on my couch and watching a baseball game, at least during the summer. “To kick back” is a somewhat informal expression. In our story, Diana is going to kick back and relax. Rodrigo says that he has a hot date. A “date” is a romantic meeting between two people, and a “hot date” is a date with a very attractive or sexy person. Unfortunately, not all dates can be hot dates!

Next, Van tells a funny story about the last date he went on that didn’t go very well. Van’s story is about something that went wrong on his date. We have a
good laugh over his story. “To have a good laugh” means to laugh very loudly and for a long time about something that is funny. Many people go to comedy clubs or watch funny movies because they want to have a good laugh.

We all had a great time at happy hour and it was a good way to kick off the weekend. “To kick off” means to start something with some action or event. You
might kick off a party with some good music, or kick off a conference with a keynote or introductions. We’ve kicked off, or begun, the weekend by going to
this happy hour and having a lot of fun.

Now let’s listen as I describe how I socialize with my colleagues again, this time speaking at a normal speed.

[start of script]

When I walk past Van’s desk on my way out of the office, I see that he’s talking to a group of people. He stops and asks if I want to go with them to the happy
hour at the restaurant and bar down the street. It has been a busy week and I need to blow off some steam. On top of that, I don’t have any big plans for the evening, so I say, “yes.”

Eight of us walk down the street to Steve’s Cantina. We find a table in the back of the bar and look at the drinks menu. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m., and the drinks are half price. We order our drinks and I go to get some snacks and appetizers. I look at the food that’s available and I see a lot of deep-fried foods
and chips and dip, so I load up and go back to the table.

One of the guys, Brian, starts to grumble about work and to bad-mouth the boss. I’m in no mood to talk about work, so I change the subject. I ask everybody what his or her plans are for the weekend. Diana says that she’s planning to kick back and relax. Rodrigo says he has a hot date. Van tells us a funny story about the last date he went on that didn’t go very well. We have a good laugh over it. We all have a great time at happy hour and it’s a good way to kick off the weekend!

[end of script]

That’s the end of our 10th and final lesson; it’s also the end of our course. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this course as much as we did putting it together. Please visit our website at elspod.com to find other courses to help you improve your English.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening.

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.