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Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 26 Idioms and Expressions Test

Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 26 Idioms and Expressions Test

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LESSON 26 – Promoting an Employee


Steve is meeting with his boss, Kurt, to review his performance. Kurt promotes Steve to the position of marketing director.

Kurt: Steve, your performance over the past year has been excellent. You’ve only been here a year, but you hit the ground running.

Steve: Thank you. It’s nice to be appreciated!

Kurt: You’re an “A” player here – – a real star. You’ve really earned your keep. You’re great at motivating your employees, and you’re always willing to go the extra mile.

Steve: Thanks, Kurt. I really enjoy my work here.

Kurt: I’m going to take you into my confidence. Steve, this past year has been really challenging. Everybody hasn’t made the grade.

Steve: Right. I heard that Dan is going to be given his walking papers.

Kurt: Yes, he’ll be leaving us. I’ll be breaking the news to him this afternoon. But the good news is that I’m promoting you to marketing director.

Steve: Wow, that is good news. Thank you!

Kurt: No need to thank me. You’re a real go-getter and you earned it. The new position comes with a 10 percent raise and several perks, including an extra week of vacation.

Steve: Will I get a company car too?

Kurt: Don’t push your luck. But if you play your cards right, maybe in a few years. Ten years down the road, I can even see you in a corner-office.

Steve: Thanks, Kurt.

Kurt: No, Steve, thank you. Keep up the good work!


  • (to) hit the ground running

 to have a successful start to a new job; to start at full speed

EXAMPLE: We need to hire somebody who can hit the ground running. We don’t have time to train anybody.

  • (an) “A” player

 a top performer; a superior employee

EXAMPLE: We need to do everything we can to ensure that our “A” players don’t leave our company and take jobs with the competition.

  • (to) earn one’s keep

 to deserve what one is paid; to deserve to be in the position one is in; to contribute one’s share

EXAMPLE: Carl stands around flirting with the receptionist all day instead of working. He’s not earning his keep.

  • (to) go the extra mile

 to do more than what is expected or required

EXAMPLE: The graphic designer showed us 25 possible designs for the cover of our new newsletter. He really went the extra mile.

  • (to) take someone into one’s confidence

 to tell somebody something confidentially; to tell somebody sensitive information

EXAMPLE: Linda took Dan into her confidence and told him that several people in the department were going to get laid off.

  • (to) make the grade

 to succeed; to fulfill the requirements

EXAMPLE: After it was clear that Nathan made the grade as an account executive at the ad agency, he was promoted to account director.

  • leaving us

 leaving the company (note: often a polite way of saying somebody’s been fired)

EXAMPLE: We’re sad to say that after ten years here, Leslie will be leaving us to pursue more time with her family.

  • (to) break the news

 to make something known (often something unpleasant)

EXAMPLE: Sorry to break the news, but your competitors have come out with a product that works much better than yours and costs half the price.

  • go-getter

 a hard-working, ambitious person; someone very good at delivering results at work

EXAMPLE: Stephanie is a real go-getter, so nobody was surprised when she was promoted to vice president of the bank.

  • (to) Push one’s luck

 don’t try to get too much; be satisfied with what you’ve already gotten and don’t try to get more

EXAMPLE: If your boss has already agreed to send you to two training courses this year, don’t push your luck and ask for a third.

NOTE: You will also hear the variation: to press one’s luck.

  • (to) Play one’s cards right

 to make the most of one’s opportunities or situation

EXAMPLE: Louis played his cards right at the law firm, and he was made partner after only five years there.

  • down the road

 in the future

EXAMPLE: Jay doesn’t want to work for a big company forever. Five years down the road, he’d like to start his own business.

  • Keep up the good work!

 continue as you are; you’re doing well, continue to do well

EXAMPLE: Team, we just had our best year in company history. Keep up the good work!

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