• Alex

Talking about Your Job in English


This post is meant to help you practice some common questions and statements related to your job. If you have any feedback about the language below, just let me know in the comments. To hear me talk about some of the things in this post, check out this video, and make sure to do the quiz when you're done. Here we go...


Asking about someone's profession

"What do you do?"

"What do you do for a living?" ("for a living" means "to make money")

"Where do you work?"

"What's your job?"


Note: When you want to mention your job or someone else's job, don't forget to use an article. For example:


"I'm a doctor."

"My sister's a teacher."

"He's a journalist."

"I'm a consultant."


If you want to mention your company and you want to be more specific about your job, or you have a job that no one else has at your company, you can use the article "the." For example:


"I'm the head of marketing at Apple."

"He's the CEO of his company."

"She's the school receptionist." (You have discussed which school she works for already)


Asking about someone's work schedule

"What's your schedule this week?" / "What's your schedule like?"

"What shift are you on?" (People commonly work day shift, afternoon shift, or night shift. You can answer "I'm on day shift" or "I'm on days." Same for afternoon shift and night shift.)

"When do you start?"

"When do you finish?" / "When do you get off?"


Talking about overtime (OT) and work hours

"Could you come in early tomorrow?" (your boss might ask this)

"Could you work overtime tonight?" / "Could you do overtime tonight?" (your boss might ask this)

"Could you work late tonight?" / "Could you stay late tonight?" / "Could you stay a little later tonight?" (your boss might ask this)

"Are you working overtime today?" / "Are you doing overtime today?" (a co-worker might ask this)

"I have to work overtime tonight." / "I have to do overtime tonight.")

"I have to work late tonight." / "I have to stay late tonight."

"I've been doing a lot of OT lately."

"She worked 3 hours overtime yesterday."

"I'm not getting enough hours." (the company isn't giving me enough work hours)


Talking about time off/vacation/etc.

"I need some time off." / "I need a break." / "I need a vacation."

"I'm going to take a day off next week."

"He took two days off for a family reunion last week."

"I'm taking two weeks off this summer."

"How much time off do you get at your job?"

"Do you have any time off left this year?" / "Do you have any vacation time left this year?"


Colloquial idioms to discuss your job

To say you've been working really hard:

"I've been working non-stop."

"I've been working like a dog."

"I've been working my butt off." / "I've been working my ass off."

"I've been busting my ass."


To talk about your boss

"He's been breathing down my neck." ("He's been constantly checking to see how I've been doing my job and has been pressuring me.")

"She's a real taskmaster." ("She's someone who is harsh and who gives a lot of work")


For more work idioms, and a variety of other categories, pick up a copy of 200 Practical English Idioms.


Did you enjoy this article? Do you feel something should be added to it? Let me know in the comments. Good luck with your studies!