II. Conversation - Listen
|Pronunciation Tip: AND changes to AN.|
Background: Alex works as a clerk at a department store, but he is unhappy with his situation. In fact, he is really depressed. He has just come home from his job when Alex drops by to visit him.
Ryan: Hey, Alex. You look really exhausted. What gives?
Alex: You don't want to know. I mean, I've been slaving away at my nickel-and-dime job just to keep my head above water. [Really.] I mean some people think I'm a workaholic, [Who?] Well, everyone, but I have to put in a lot of overtime just to make ends meet.
Ryan: Well, why don't you ask your boss for a raise?
Alex: Huh? The last guy that did that got the ax, an' he was in line for a promotion to supervisor.
Ryan: Well, you just can't keep working your fingers to the bone for peanuts. [I know, but . . .] Hey. Look. I have connections with a guy who works for a computer company, an' he owes me a favor, and he might be able to pull a few strings an' line you up for an interview.
Alex: What? You mean like to last job you helped me get, an' then the company went belly up after only a week? I mean fat chance. I'm not going to try selling electronic toilet paper dispensers again.[Hey, that was cool.]
Ryan: No, that was different.
Alex: Ah, man. Hey, thanks, but I'm still looking, and I'm not going to get my hopes up just because a few other job searches haven't panned out. I'm going to look at my options.
Ryan: Well, whatever you do, the only way you're going to get ahead is by getting your face out there, an' you're sure to land a better job than you have now.
Alex: Well, I know. Exactly, if I can just get my foot in the door, then I can show my stuff, but I'm not . . . . absolutely not going to kiss up to ANYONE to get ahead.
Ryan: Gotcha. Hey, I'll give my friend a call, an' see if he can set up an interview.
Key Vocabulary: [ Sample Sentences ]|
- What gives?: What's wrong?
- slave away: work very hard
- nickel-and-dime: not worth much
- keep your head above water: just barely able to survive in times of money difficulties
- workaholic: a person who works a lot
- put in overtime: work extra hours
- make ends meet: make just enough money to pay for expenses
- get the ax: be fired from a job
- be in line for: have the expectation of receiving something
- work your fingers to the bone: work very hard
- (for) peanuts: very little money
- have connections: know important people within a company or organization
- pull a few strings: influence or control others to one's advantage
- line up: make arrangements
- go belly up: fail, go bankrupt
- fat chance: something that is unlikely to happen
- get someone's hopes up: feel like your hopes and dreams will come true
- land a job: get a job
- get your foot in the door: get a chance to work for or be involved in a business or organization
- show your stuff: demonstrate what you can do
- kiss up to: try to please someone to get them to do something
- gotcha: okay, I got it
|Origin of Idioms:|
During a puppet show, the puppeteers control the puppets from behind the scene and out of view of the audience, and they use strings to control the movements. Likewise, you use the expression, "pull strings," if you are in a position to influence people to do something, particularly when it benefits you.