3 English idioms you’ll need at work!

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Hi there!

Are you happy in your job?

Well, I guessed so… 😉

Well, I have three idioms for you that you can use to talk about your current situation, to share your misery ( = cierpienie) with others and get their sympathy! ( = współczucie. Nie, nie sympatia. Współczucie 😉 ).


And… I also have a solution for you! But we’ll get to that in its own time ( = we właściwym czasie)… 😉

28 wrze pon blog newsletter

Idiom number one: a dead-end job. Literally ( = dosłownie), a dead end is a road which has no way out at one end. In Polish: ślepa uliczka. And a dead-end job is a job with no chances for promotion ( = awans). In Polish: praca bez perspektyw. 

You can say:

Being a shop assistant ( = sprzedawca w sklepie) is a dead-end job.

I’m fed up with this dead-end job! I’m quitting! ( = rzucam pracę)

Idiom number two: to burn the candle at both ends. This is when you work too hard, while also trying to do other things, such as taking kids to school, washing the dishes, or eating (eating is overrated ( = przereklamowane) anyway, so why bother ( = po co sobie zawracać głowę?) ). As a result, you have very little time for sleep. In Polish: zarywać noce, although that’s not a perfect equivalent. 

You can say:

I still haven’t received that promotion, even though I’m burning the candle at both ends.

Why can’t YOU take the kids to school today?! I already am burning the candle at both ends!

Burning the candle at both ends is never good. It will soon leave you burnt out ( = wypalony), hating your boss (OK, you already do that…), and hating yourself… Dum dum dum – that’s ominous ( = złowieszcza) music playing in the background ;).

Idiom number three: to be stuck in a rut. Literally ( = dosłownie), a rut is a deep narrow mark in the road made by wheels. We have lots of them on Polish roads. Yup, koleina! When you’re stuck in a rut on a dirt road, you can’t get your car out of it. And if you’re stuck in a rut in your job, you’re doing things which are boring, and the situation seems impossible to change. In Polish: popaść w rutynę.

You can say:

I’ve been doing these excel spreadsheets for 5 years now! I’m stuck in a rut!

If you’re stuck in a rut, change your job.

Yes, you guessed it. Being stuck in a rut is also nothing to write home about ( = nic fajnego, nic szczególnego)

So, that’s the three idioms I’ve promised! Do they fit your job? I hope they don’t, and I really hope you will never need to use them to talk about yourself!


But… if you do have a dead-end job, are stuck in a rut, and burning the candle at both ends – then come on, man (or gal!), it’s time to change something! Get a new job, and I can help you a little with that!


Tomorrow – September 29th, Tuesday – at 11 am I’ll be hosting live online training: 10 most common mistakes at a job interview in English, and how to avoid them! It’s a must if you want a job in a multinational corporation, foreign company, or a Polish business with foreign partners. A job interview in English is guaranteed to be part of your recruitment process! You can still make it for the training!

PS: Gotowce, przykłady, strategie, pułapki jak ich unikać – to wszystko już jutro! Praca Twoich marzeń dzięki udanej rozmowie o pracę po angielsku! Zdążysz się jeszcze zapisać!

See you on tomorrow’s workshop!


Kasia Sielicka, doktor filologii angielskiej. Konsultant kariery: rozmowa o pracę po angielsku.


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