• A Terrible Boss – Office English Listening and Writing Exercise

    Ok. I chose another comedic listening exercise, this time from the movie Office Space, where we see the main character’s terrible boss. There are some great phrasal verbs used in the exercise and it is about English work and office language. Give it a try and if you have time do the writing exercise too.

    Fill in the gaps from the video above. Write your answers in comments and we’ll respond.

    1. Hello Peter. _____  ________?

    2. What time does he want him to come in?

    3. I’m also going to need you to ___ _____ and come in on Sunday too.

    4. Why does he need him to work on Sunday?

    5. We need to sort of play _______  __.

    6. What does the above phrasal verb mean?

    These are 5 important phrasal verbs can you put them in the correct sentences below?

    go ahead, catch up on, deal with, focus on, draw up

    1. Alice, will you ____ __ a contract for our new business partners.

    2. I think we will have to work late, that meeting put us behind and we have a lot of reports to _____  __ __.

    3. Peter, could you ____  ____ the press and their accusations of mishandling government funding.

    4. _____ ___ Mary, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

    5. I really need you to _____ __ your work and not play on the internet all day.

    Writing Assignment:

    Do you have to work on the weekends? How often? Why? Do you get paid overtime for working on the weekends? Do you take work home with you at night? Do you think we should work on the weekends? Why or why not? Is it different if it is a small business or a large corporation? Why?


    • Laura Mullokandov

      1. What’s happening?
      2. Around 9
      3. to go ahead
      4. The company lost some people this week (in other words, the boss fired some workers)
      5. Catch up
      6. Cath up means to do additional work for filling the gap.

      • LOIEnglish

        Good work.

    • cleriston

      1 – What’s happening?
      2 – around nine
      3 – To go ahead
      4 – we lost some people this week (before Laura comment I thought some died)
      5 – Catch up
      6 – Additional effort for filling the gap
      7 – Filling the blank:

      Draw up, Catch up, deal with, go ahead, focus on

      • LOIEnglish

        Cleriston….Your response to Question #4 is very funny. It is true we can use ‘lost’ to mean died. For example: I lost my father when I was a teenager. In this context it does mean die.

        The answer to Question #2 in the gap fill is: catch up ON. This is a 3 word phrasal verb. Catch up on something….I need to catch up on my homework. It can also be with. I need to catch up with the world news.

    • Anna

      1. What’s happening 2. Around nine 3. Go ahead 4. They lost some people this week. 5. Catch up 6. It means to do additional someone else’s work
      1. Draw up 2. Catch up on 3. Deal with 4. Go ahead 5. Focus on

      • LOIEnglish

        Good Anna….A few quick notes ‘catch up’ doesn’t necessarily mean that it is someone else’s work. It could be that you fell behind on your own work and have to ‘catch up’. Thanks for answering!

    • Laura Mullokandov

      Writing Exercise.
      I’ve been working on weekends for many years. Actually, I work every weekend. Why? First of all, I’ve been paid overtime for this work. Also I do another kind of work to compare with ordinary working days during the week, it is interesting for me professionally. And above all that, I like to work in a quite environment, on the weekends it is only me at the office:)
      Most of people prefer don’t work on weekends, and it is normal, all of us need time for families and leisure. But if someone do want to work, why not?

      • LOIEnglish

        Thanks for taking the time to do the writing assignment! I almost always work weekends too, but I enjoy my work and I work from home so I don’t mind it.

        Your sentence: First of all, I’ve been paid overtime for this work. The present perfect tense isn’t the best choice here. You’ve established that you work ‘every weekend’ which makes it a habit, so we use ‘present simple’ The correction should be: I am paid overtime for this work.

        I do another kind of work….The use of another in this sentence isn’t correct. See our video: http://www.skypeenglishclasses.com/skype-english-blog/videos/another-other-or-others-video-with-exercise/

        A better choice is: I do a different kind of work comparED to my ordinary working days during the week.

        You have a typo: quiet or quite

        We do not use ‘of’ between ‘most’ and our noun. Most people prefer to NOT work on weekends. Prefer never uses the auxiliary ‘do, don’t, does, doesn’t)

        Your last sentence you have a problem with the pronoun ‘someone’ and the verb/auxiliary. If someone DOES want to work…Someone is 3rd person singular.

        I hope this helps!

        • Laura Mullokandov

          Thank you so much! I really need this kind of exercises and your corrections are highly important.

    • André Dertrudes de Macena

      We´ve working yes to paid our count. If not who will pay

      • LOIEnglish

        André…Thanks for the short response. Because you are indicating it is something that is habit or regular you should use ‘present simple.’ Also I think the correct word isn’t ‘count’ but bills (electricity, water, sewer, gas (for heat), etc…?) we call these our ‘bills’ in English. The second part is a 1st conditional sentence. In English we need to use the auxiliary (don’t, doesn’t) to make the sentence negative. I hope this helps.
        We work, yes, to pay our bills. If we don’t, who will pay?

    • André Dertrudes de Macena

      Gosto de todas as lições, e obrigado por mim responder, quero mais videos e exercícios.

    • Silvia Deplano

      1)what’s happening? 2) 9 3)catch up on 4)soccer

      • LOIEnglish

        Silvia…I think you missed one question. Question #5: the correct answer is, catch up. Which, means to do work that you have delayed for some reason.

        Question #3: go ahead, another phrasal verb which means to follow through or continue with something.

        Question #4: He needs him to come into work because they have ‘lost’ some people. Meaning they have fired people.

    • Silvia Deplano

      Alice will you draw up a contract …
      2) catch up on
      3)deal with
      4)go ahead
      5)focus on

      • LOIEnglish


    • Alvaro Willians

      About the video

      1. Whats happening.

      2. At 9:00

      3. Go ahead

      4. They lost some people

      5. Catch up

      Phrasal Verbs

      1. Draw up

      2. Catch up

      3. Go ahead

      4. Deal with

      5. Focus on

      Writing Assignment:

      No. I don’t work on the weekends nowaday, but I have alread worked on the weekend on my former job. There I worked twice a month. We worked on the weekend in order to delivering all projects. Yes we got paid overtime for working on the weekends. Sometimes we took work home with us at night. Some projects needs to be done in another place. Yes, because we had lot of project, but I also think that our boss could menage better the week for us. No there is no difference because all always will have people accepting more than we can do.


      What does “Need play to sort of play catch up” mean?


      • LOIEnglish

        Alvaro…Good work on the listening. Let’s look at your writing.

        NowadayS-has an S at the end.

        but I have alreadY worked on the weekend on my former job. (I’m confused about this sentence. You are using the present perfect tense ‘have +participle’ but I don’t think that it is correct. I think you should use ‘used to.’ If you are not familiar with this past form, I’m going to include a link for you here: http://www.skypeenglishclasses.com/skype-english-blog/would-used-to-video-exercise/

        We worked on the weekend in order to COMPLETE all THE projects.

        Some OF THE projects needED.

        because we had A LOT of projectS.

        but I also thick that our boss could HAVE managED the week better. (This is using a modal verb in the past tense. Modal verbs include: could, would, should, might, may. When we are talking about something in the past the structure is; modal verb + have + participle; could have managed, should have gone, might have been, etc.)

        No there is no difference because EVERYONE will ALWAYS ACCEPT more than THEY can do.

        Need to play catch up: This means that there is work that has fallen behind and isn’t completed or to the point of progress that it should. For example; if I get sick and can’t work for a few days, I might need to play catch up.

        Thanks for answering.

        • Alvaro Willians

          Thank you!

    • Nguyen Thi Hoa

      I don’t have to work on the weekend, but almost technicians have to work on the weekend. They didn’t receive overtime for working on the weekends because our boss didn’t approve it. I think that we shouldn’t work on the weekends because the job performance will be reduce if we don’t have to to relax.. Almost large corporation have to work on the weekends but they will have a compensation vacation.

      • LOIEnglish

        Nguyen…You have some confusion between: Almost and most
        Almost-means not quite, very nearly. i.g. He almost spilled the milk. (He didn’t, but he nearly did.)
        Most-means the majority. i.g. Most people like pizza.

        So your first sentence: ….., but MOST technicians….

        ‘didn’t’ is for the past simple form. In this case you are talking about something that happens regularly, so we use the present simple. DON’T
        They DON’T receive overtime for working on the weekends because our boss DIDN’T approve it.

        because the job performance will be LOWER if we don’t HAVE TIME to relax. (lower is a better option here; reduce is a verb.)

        MOST large corporationS

    • Mr. V.Pires

      1-) What’s happening.
      2-) around 9:00 am.
      3-) go ahead.
      4-) because they’ve lost some people that weekend…I guess some people was fired from job.
      5-) catch up.
      6-) catch up means ” doind the job you haven’t done yet ’cause you’re delayed.


      Well, as a matter of fact, I almost never have a weekend free, because of my kind of job. I’ll try to explain… I’m security agent, so I work from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM in alternates days, I mean, if I work on Monday, on Tuesday I’ll be taking a rest..this way, if I work on Saturday, Sunday I’ll be at home enjoying my day off. That’s why on the weekends, a have, at least, one day at home. Sometimes I make a deal with a partner ( friend at job) and we go work for each other in our day off and then we can have three days off. isn’t too bad, is it? …Sounds like good ..having three days off. I almost forgot to say…I’ve alredy had to go work on hollidays, even on Christmas day or New Years Day…
      Sometimes I do extra time work…( but not very often ) and of course, I get paid for that…
      In my opinion we all deserves a weekend free from work. .even though only to be restting at home or going out, enjoying our family, sigthseeing, talking to a friends or what else we wanna do..the import is…keep our mind (our brain) away from work on the weekends… Thank you everyone…

      • LOIEnglish

        Mr. Pires,

        Good listening skills! Question #4 has a grammar error; people WERE fired from THEIR jobs. Remember that ‘people’ is plural, so people are, people were. Also job is countable and must have an article (a, the, an) or a pronoun (his, her, their, our).

        Your writing:

        kind of job-you have to be careful using ‘kind of’ because it can be used as ‘almost’ For example: I kind of like pop music. In the case above in your writing it is better to use ‘type’

        I’m A security agent. (all jobs need an article) I’m A teacher. He is AN engineer. She is A pilot.

        If I work on Monday, on Tuesday I REST. (this is zero conditional and doesn’t need WILL). If I work on Saturday Sunday IS my day off. (again zero conditional)

        extra time work=the word for this is called ‘overtime’ Sometimes I work overtime (but not very often) and of course I get paid for it. We all deserve (no S) free from work.

        The IMPORTANT THING is TO keep our mind away from work on the weekends.

        Thanks for answering!