ESL Career and Work Vocabulary

Promotion/Get a Promotion
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A promotion is getting a new position with the same company that pays better and includes more responsibility.

“After three years working for this company I finally got a promotion. I am now the regional manager.”

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Office Politics
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The way that power and influence are used in a work place. How people act towards the boss to get the things they want.

“I don’t like working here. The only way to get a promotion is to be best friends with the boss. The office politics here are ridiculous.”

Corporate Culture:
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This describes the overall attitude a specific company has towards things like work behaviors, dress, vacation time, relationships between co workers and anything else that has to do with how employees act at work.

“Everyone wants to work here. The corporate culture is great. Everyone is respectful and there isn’t a lot of stress.”

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Career Ladder
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A structured group of positions that one takes to move up in responsibility in a company. An example of a career ladder is starting off as a sales person, moving to assistant manager, moving up to manager of the office and then becoming the regional manager.

“Sara plans on moving up the career ladder all the way to the top.”

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Job Perks or Fringe Benefits
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A benefit that a certain job has that an employee enjoys. Some examples would be a free cell phone or the use of a company car.

“There are a lot of perks to working at this college. My kids get to go here at no cost and I have a free gym membership.”

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Dress code
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The rules set up at a company that state what an employee can and can not wear at work.

“The dress code is really strict here. We have to wear a tie and a jacket everyday.”

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Team Player
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An employee that does well at working with others in the company.

“John is not much of a team player. If you put him with a group of people to finish a project he will go off and sit by himself.”

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To Gross
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This is used to talk about how much money you make before taxes are taken out.

“Last year I grossed over one hundred thousand dollars.”

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To Temp
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To take a temporary position for a company. These positions don’t pay benefits and can last for just one day to a year.

“I lost my job in April and had to start temping just to pay the rent.”

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Full Time
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To work over 35 hours a week and to receive benefits, such as health insurance or sick days, is considered full time.

“Sam got hired as a full time employee so now he will have health coverage.”

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Dead End Job
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A job that offers no possibility to move up in responsibility or pay.

“This is a dead end job. I will never get promoted here.”

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To Get Your Foot in the Door
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This is an expression that means to take whatever position you can find with a certain company just to be involved. The hope is that you will get promoted after you prove how good of a worker you are.

“To get my foot in the door at this company I took a job in the mail room. My hope was to get into sales eventually.”

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To Burn Out
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To work too much to a point where you feel tired and unmotivated to do your job.

“Don’t work so many hours a day. You’re going to burn out.”

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To Moonlight
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To work a second job, usually at night, to make extra money.

“Many teachers have to moonlight just to pay the bills. Their pay is not enough.”

  • Listening Activity for Career Expressions
  • Script for Career Vocabulary Conversation
  • Career Vocabulary Listening Activity
  • Career Vocabulary Reading Exercise
  • Career and Job Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks
  • Career Vocabulary Matching