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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Office Types 1


What sounds like an exciting job in an office? What sounds like a boring one? Is there any office job you would like to have?


Following are slang words to describe five office jobs. Match the job title to the job:

1. number cruncher
2. rainmaker
3. troubleshooter
4. veep
5. whistleblower

a. next in line after the president
b. a "mover and shaker," one who can improve a company's sales
c. someone who can solve problems
d. someone who calls the authorities (police, government, etc.) when a company is breaking the law
e. an accountant who does a lot of calculations


1. number cruncher (e): "Crunching numbers" refers to doing a lot of calculations, so this is a not-very-nice word for an accountant.
2. rainmaker (b): Traditional peoples sometimes had a member of the group who used magic to bring rain. Now, we use the term to describe people who can "make things happen" for an organization, such as increased sales.
3. troubleshooter (c): One whose specialty is finding the source of a problem and solving or eliminating it. This is naturally a valuable contribution to a company.
4. veep (a): A pronunciation of "V.P.," meaning "Vice President"
5. whistleblower (d): This is not really a "job"; he or she is an informer, who sees some wrongdoing or corruption in a company, and tells the authorities or the public.


Use each of the above terms in one of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. I don't know what's wrong with our computer system; maybe a __________ can check it out.
2. No one was surprised when the __________ was fired.
3. Our sales are low; we need a __________ to come in and get things going.
4. The __________ were very busy when the sales increased 700%.
5. When our company's leader is sick, the __________ is in charge.


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Which of the above jobs sounds interesting to you? Which sounds boring?
2. Do you know anyone who has jobs like these? Talk about what he or she does.
3. Which of the above can be connected to a definite job, and which could be done by almost anyone in the company? Why do you think so?


1. troubleshooter; 2. whistleblower; 3. rainmaker; 4. number crunchers; 5. veep

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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