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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.

Vocabulary and Sample Sentences

  • What gives?: What’s wrong?– Man, you haven’t called me for a week. What gives?
  • slave away: work very hard– My grandfather was determined not to slave away doing heavy labor all his life, so he went back to school.
  • nickel-and-dime: not worth much– If you don’t apply yourself at school, you might have to settle for some nickel-and-dime job the test of your life.
  • keep your head above water: just barely able to survive in times of money difficulties– I just don’t know how we can keep our heads above water without more income, ‘n things don’t look like they’re going to get better anytime soon.
  • workaholic : a person who works a lot– My best friend really loves his work, but he’s turned into a workaholic, ‘n his private life has suffered.
  • put in overtime: work extra hours– Sometime people put in overtime at their jobs, ‘n they use the extra income to improve their lives.
  • make ends meet: make just enough money to pay for expenses– Unless I find a better job, I won’t be able to make ends meet to support my family, ‘n I’ll never feel satisfied with my life.
  • get the ax: be fired from a jobThe company fell on hard economic times, ‘n many of the employees got the ax even though the crisis wasn’t their fault.
  • be in line for: have the expectation of receiving something– Heather thought she was in line for for the promotion to manager, ‘n she had planned to have a party to celebrate, but the company chose someone over her to fill the position.
  • work your fingers to the bone: work very hard– After my father died, my mother worked her fingers to the bone just to make ends meet for our family.
  • (for) peanuts: noun– You only make $3.00 an hour? That’s peanuts!
  • have connections: know important people within a company or organization– Having connections isn’t enough to find a good job in today’s maket. You need plenty of experience and the right combination of skills.
  • pull a few strings: influence or control others to one’s advantage– Huh? Ted got the job? No way! His father must have pulled a few strings to get him the job because he isn’t at all qualified to fill the position.
  • line up: make arrangements– Dont’ worry! By the end of the day, I should have lined up at least five interviews for tomorrow’s job fair, ‘n we should have a new employee by the end of the week.
  • go belly up: fail, go bankrupt– Ah, don’t bother applying for a job at that company. According to the newspaper, there are economic signs that their business will go belly up by the end of the year, ‘n and all of the workers will be out of a job.
  • fat chance: something that is unlikely to happen– Do you really think that company is going to give you the job? Fat chance! At least 200 people applied for the job, ‘n many of them have inside connections, so forget it.
  • get someone’s hopes up: feel like your hopes and dreams will come true– The company called her back for a second interview, but she isn’t getting her hopes up because she doesn’t have much work experience.
  • land a job: get a job– After my brother graduated from college, he quickly landed a job with a law firm, ‘n he’s now planning to get married.
  • show your stuff: demonstrate what you can do– You have to show your stuff if you want to get noticed in today’s competitive world of business.
  • kiss up to: try to please– I know an acquaintance who tried to kiss up to his boss by buying him expensive souvenirs, but that didn’t help him one bit because he got the ax soon after because of poor job performance.

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