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 English Idioms and Expressions 

Idioms: Employment and Jobs-3
from:  'shape up or ship out'  to: 'xerox subsidy'


  • shape up or ship out
    • This expression is used to warn someone that if they do not improve, they will have to leave their job.
      "When Tom started neglecting the customers, he was told to shape up or ship out."

  • show someone the ropes
    • If you show someone the ropes, you teach or explain to them how to do a particular job.
      "The manager is busy showing the ropes to two new trainees."

  • square peg in a round hole
    • To say that a person is a square peg in a round hole means that they are not suitable for the job they are doing or the situation they are in.
      "He was a bad choice for the job - a square peg in a round hole."

  • another string to your bow
    • If you have another string to your bow, you have another skill or possible course of action if everything else fails.
      "As well as her excellent qualifications, she's got another string to her bow to help her find a job. She speaks fluent Chinese."

  • throw (something) over the wall
    • If someone throws something over the wall, they deal with part of a problem or project, then pass the responsibility to another person or department without any communication or coordination.
      "You can't just manufacture a product then throw it over the wall to the sales department!"

  • too many chiefs, not enough Indians
    • This expression refers to a situation where there are too many people giving instructions and not enough people doing the work.
      "The business wasn't successful. There were too many chiefs and not enough Indians."

  • tricks of the trade
    • This term refers to a clever or expert way of doing things, especially in a job.
      "He's a tough negotiator; he knows all the tricks of the trade."

  • waiting in the wings
    • If someone is waiting in the wings, they are waiting for an opportunity to take action, especially to replace someone else in their job or position.
      "There are many young actors waiting in the wings ready to show their talent."

  • walking papers
    • If you are given your walking papers, your contract or relationship has ended. You receive notice that you are being fired or laid off from your job.
      "After causing a diplomatic incident, Carter got his walking papers."

  • work your fingers to the bone
    • A person who works their fingers to the bone is extremely hardworking.
      "He deserves his success; he worked his fingers to the bone to get the project accepted."

  • work to rule
    • During a conflict, when employees decide to do only the minimum amount of work required by company rules, and refuse any overtime, etc., they work to rule.
      "In protest against the new measures, the employees decided to work to rule."

  • worth one's salt
    • Someone who deserves respect because they do their job well is a person who is worth their salt.
      "Any inspector worth their salt would have checked the papers carefully."

  • xerox subsidy
    • Th term 'xerox subsidy' refers to the habit of using the photocopier at work for personal use.
      "A certain percentage of photocopies are in fact xerox subsidies."

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