This is the transcript from the Real Exam English podcast episode about work. The podcast can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcast and a bunch more of podcast providers or you can access it here:

This is a super common topic in English exams. You can be asked questions about your job or your career and what you like or don´t like about your job. when describing photos you might have to speak about jobs and what those jobs entail. You may have a dialogue about different professions or which aspects of a job are most important. So there´s loads of things you can be asked about really. In today´s episode you are going to hear lots of top-class vocabulary, we take a look at a few different ways to use the preposition on and we hear some amazing idioms. As usual we have a bunch of different accents, our first one is from the US, here we go.

What do you do?

I’m a construction Superintendent, so I build high-class offices. so offices for lawyers and and companies and large corporations that need new offices and high-rises mostly.

What do you most like about your job?

I get to meet a lot of really interesting people, both my clients and the people that I work with, I get to to meet a lot of really neat artisans because the clients that I have like to have one-off products So individual products made by high-quality artisans. So I get a lot of A lot of need to meet projects that wouldn’t necessarily come through an average construction site, if that makes sense.

What jobs are most highly respected in your country?

Oh man, probably doctors, lawyers and businessmen, people with professional degrees I would think. Kind of the the same ones that I think kind of respected internationally as well. People that have sought out Education and self-improvement, I think are typically fairly well respected.

Ok so we had a few compound adjectives and a compound noun here. So remember this is where you make an adjective, or a noun, by combining two or more existing words, like high-class, which was our first example, high-class offices, which of course are offices of a very good quality. Then we had high-rises which are buildings with many floors, next was one-off products which are products which are only made one time. Following that was high-quality artisans, which is kind of self-explanatory and lastly was self-improvement. So this is the type of advanced vocabulary you want to be getting in to your answers, particularly at a C1 and C2 level, or IELTS band 7. And not only in your speaking, but in your writings too.

Do you think it benefits companies if they organise social activities for the staff?

Yes.Yes I do.Uh, because I think it the.I mean, I think that it does allow an opportunity for for some of the employees to Interact when they’re willing, You know, so long as the the event is not obligatory and and it’s you know the appropriate activity or setting.You know for people to enjoy themselves, it’s been my experience that alcohol, the presence of alcohol, usually facilitates that being a little bit more fun. Depending upon the environment, but. That always helps I feel like.


Would you mind a job which involved some evening work?

I feel like would I mind a job that involves some evening work?Yes, at the moment I would primarily because the evening is when I need to, you know, receive my family when they come home from work and school and I prepare dinner and have some time to spend with the children and then get ready for bed. So missing out on that as a result of work, which sometimes I do because My job requires me to be on call on occasion and I don’t particularly enjoy receiving phone calls in the evening when I would typically be spending that time with my family, so I’m not, I’m not very keen on Working in the evening.

We are going to focus on the preposition on here as we heard it used in lots of different ways. Firstly, we heard depending upon. So, upon has the same core meaning as on but it is sometimes more formal than on and is preferred in some particular phrases such as Once upon a time or Easter is almost upon us. So it´s fine to say depending upon or depending on, but absolutely not depending OF, Spanish listeners take note!

Our next use of on was to miss out on something, this means to not use the opportunity to enjoy something, like we didn´t have a computer when I was a kid and I feel like I missed out on a lot. Then we had to be on call, which is used to describe when somebody who works, like a doctor or perhaps an IT worker, has to be alert and available to come back in to the workplace in the event that they are needed. Next up was on occasion, which is a nice way of saying sometimes, but not often. And the last on we had was to be keen on something which means you like doing it, for example I not keen on cleaning the toilets.

Would you prefer to work For a small or a large organization.

That kind of question, I think is is A is an interesting one because I think it really depends on the individual. Some people are very suited to working for large organizations. It suits them because there’s a degree of anonymity and they can sort of get on with doing their day job and they don’t necessarily have to put the head above the parapet. Or Because it gives them a lot of opportunities to work in in sections of the organization or in different countries that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you were in a small organization. But the flip side is that you tend to have less of a work life balance If you work in a large organization.

Depends on, get on with doing their day job, that preposition on is everywhere today! We had a     super idiom, to put your head above the parapet, this means to be brave enough to give an opinion that might upset someone. For instance, the manager was in a terrible mood and nobody was willing to put their head about the parapet to tell him his new business plan sucked. Then we had a really useful expression to describe the opposite or less good side of something, that was the flip side. You could use this any time you are asked to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of something, which is quite common in English exams. I´m thinking in a dialogue in particular it would be good, like if your partner says something is positive, you could respond with, that´s true but the flip is that babababa. Really handy, and easy to use, that one.

What do you least like about your job?

An I least like….Now this is a bit controversial, I hope they don´t hear it but because it’s a bunch of women working in a library Maybe they’ve got nothing better to do than gossip, so I think the worst thing about my job Is gossip so which in turn can like change into bitching So it’s not just gossip if it’s bitching as well.

Is there a particular job you think deserves to be highly paid?

Yeah mine. No, and mine is pretty easy, so probably doesn’t Need to be highly paid. Nursing, nurses I guess this is.Should be paid more. I think, who else? like people that help society. I guess in the community. Probably like social workers, carers, any job like that really you know. Kind of like.I guess with Covid as well at the moment with the the nurses being on the frontline and kind of putting their asses on the line if you will. They should be getting paid loads and loads of money. ’cause yeah the they’re just taking care of a a the whole world basically.

A couple of great expressions here, the nurses being on the frontline, so this means that they are in position where they are exposing themselves to risk or danger. And then they are putting their asses on the line is a variation of the same thing, but of course more informal. Two awesome expressions there.

What do you do? I am a communication freelancer working in the sustainability sector so I help companies who want to communicate credibly, no greenwashing, By helping nonnative speakers who have written in English to to improve it by doing social media training, writing websites, working with journalists, Etc.

What do you most/least like about your job?

I really like the flexibility of my job.I have lots of different types of clients from companies to trade, associations to NGOs, and I really like the fact that I feel like I’m making a difference in my career because I’m not just doing straightforward communications for anyone. I think really hard about who I want to work with and.Whether they want to make meaningful change with what they’re producing, what they’re making, the services that they’re offering, so yeah.

Lots of nice BIG words here, which often tend to be seen as higher level vocabulary and so can be good to use. We heard communication freelancer, sustainability, straightforward communications, meaningful change and this superb word greenwashing. So greenwashing is behaving or doing activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is. For example, the campaign was little more than greenwashing to improve the oil company´s image.

What are the advantages of working for a small company rather than a large one well?

In general, there’s less red tape, less less loopholes to go through to accomplish a task Working for a small company, there are less formalized process is, so it’s more Interesting and you can find your own way to do things and do things your own way. Disadvantages being that you don’t have the financial clout often of a large company, so when dealing with other companies You don’t get as good a deal on things when you can’t negotiate better discounts, etc etc.There are swings and roundabouts.

Do you think people will spend a longer or shorter time at work in the future?

From a personal standpoint, I hope it is less. There will always be people that want to work and that identify as someone that works and that being their main focus in life. I am not one of those people and keen to work from home whenever possible. I do appreciate the benefit of going to an office, like the social aspects and the fact that working as a team is valid and helps you get things done in a more interesting and collaborative way, but also I like Not spending 45 minutes each way commuting to the office.

More top-notch vocabulary here, we heard red-tape which relates to official rules that seem unnecessary and cause delays. Like, after Brexit the amount of red tape involved in exporting goods was prohibitive. We heard clout which is power and influence, in our example it was financial clout. Or you could say despite being King of the country he doesn´t really have any political clout.

Then at the start of the second answer we heard yet another great way to express your opinion, and that was from a personal standpoint. We´ve heard so many similar expressions in previous episodes but this is a really nice one to finish off with today, from a personal standpoint.

Ok guys, that´s about all. Some really impressive answers today, hopefully you picked up a few nice words and expressions that you will be able to use. Remember that when you learn new language it´s really important to use it soon after you learn it. A great way to do this is to do a writing, so to practice today´s vocabulary for instance you could write about the advantages and disadvantages of your current job, or if you don´t work you could write about your dream job. Alternatively, if you have someone you can speak with then make a note of a handful of words or expressions you want to practice and try to get them into your next conversation. As we said before guys, you gotta use it or lose it!

Ok folks, if you like the podcast it would be great if you could click like and subscribe on Spotify, Apple podcasts, google podcasts or wherever you listen. And if you are looking for classes to prepare for an exam or just for general English then give me a shout on the contact details on the Real Exam English webpage. Thanks very much for listening today, all the best


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