In a recent article called "Why it's so Hard to Deal With Office Jerks,"Stephen Balzac talks about why we tolerate bad behavior among our co-workers, even when they are really unpleasant people. His final suggestion is to fire these "bad apples" before they destroy the whole office. From the analogy with rotting fruit, Balzac is referring to an old saying in English: One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.
Balzac gives good reasons for getting rid of such poisonous workers, even though they are often the most productive workers on the team. His business advice is sound, but a big attraction is his use of many terrific slang expressions for the office. Below are explanations of the tricky vocabulary he uses. After reading the list, check out the article via the link above.
I have highlighted the top ten most useful expressions for you to know.
Vocabulary and Cultural Concepts
palpable = able to be felt
sidelong glances = short looks to the side
set Jim off = made Jim angry
set Jim off he did = This word order is for emphasis. It means: Making Jim angry is what he did.
laced into = attacked, strongly criticized
in no uncertain terms = very clearly, without any doubt
top player = best performer
cut him some slack = be flexible with him, don’t monitor him so tightly
lest = so it won’t happen that
not go there = avoid it, don’t talk about that topic
drag on = continue for too long
get on with = get along with, have a good relationship with
bad apples = people with rotten personalities (like spoiled fruit)
No one approached... = Nobody was even close to (his level).
egregious = horrible, offensive, obviously bad
contagious = spreading, infectious
bite back = criticize in return, attack back
pick on = criticize, be unkind to
edgy = nervous, on edge, uncomfortable
irritable = grumpy, in a bad mood
jerk = person with bad or rude behavior
spiral = increase, continue going
pretty much everyone = almost everyone
thrive = grow, prosper, succeed
After all, = Here’s a logical reason for this.
take = tolerate
obnoxiousness = being really unpleasant or rude
or whatever = or other bad traits
ambiance = atmosphere, environment
take his pick = have a choice of whatever he wants
all the while = the whole time, during
disengage = disconnect, retreat, pull away
mushy = soft, (about fruit/vegetables) over-ripe
this apple is pretty mushy = this guy is pretty bad (We expect apples to be crisp, not soft.)
skyrocket = to increase dramatically, to shoot upward
refrains I often hear = repeated stories that I often hear
inevitable = unavoidable, inescapable, destined to happen
What took you so long? = Why didn’t you do this sooner?
Stephen Balzac is a writer on leadership and organizational development. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.