March 27, 2008

#01-090: Office Animals - Part III: Straight Shooters and Stuffed Shirts

photo of four men: an older one seated in the foreground, cigar in mouth and arms crossed; clockwise to left a handsome, movie-star type; above, an easy-going looking guy in a cap; and to the right, scowling, strong-looking black man with something like a Mohawk haircut and a beard, shirtless and wearing many gold chains
When some people hear "A Team," they think of these guys.

Note: Jordan and Joanne have to recommend someone from their sales department to be a new rep. Meet ten more "Office Animals."

Get Ready: Have you ever had to work with a do-nothing, a has-been, or a know-it-all? Which do you think is the worst?

In Lessons #01-050 and #01-051, we discussed strange animals in the office in "Veeps and Gofers" and "Deadbeats and Windbags." Let's hear about some more members of the professional menagerie. Read the conversation. Then do the Practice; check your Answers in the first comment below; and then read the Explanations.

Jordan: Hi, Jo. Got a minute?

Joanne: Sure. What's up?

Jordan: Well, I was talking to one of the HR execs--I think she was the V.P.--and she said the higher-ups wanted us to recommend for a new rep for one of our VIP accounts. [HR=the Human Resources Department] 

Joanne: Yeah, I heard that, too.

Jordan: I think they want someone aggressive, a real go-getter, not one of those has-beens from the old sales group.

Joanne: Yes. They're trying to build a new A-team, and get rid of the do-nothings that have been holding us back.

Jordan: Let's look at the four remaining reps: John, Paul, George, and Richard.

Joanne: Not Richard! He's too much of a know-it-all. He won't listen to anyone.

Jordan: And John? I heard he's kind of a stuffed shirt.

Joanne: That's right. He's so dull, no one wants to work with him.

Jordan: That leaves us George and Paul.

Joanne: George could be good. But he's kind of a wheeler-dealer, so some customers don't always trust him.

Jordan: Paul never has that problem! He's a real straight shooter.

Joanne: You're right. So shall we recommend him?

Jordan: Paul it is!


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. A-team
  2. do-nothing
  3. exec
  4. go-getter
  5. has-been
  6. higher-up
  7. know-it-all
  8. rep
  9. straight shooter
  10. stuffed shirt
  11. VIP
  12. wheeler-dealer

  1. someone who thinks he or she knows everything
  2. a representative; can also be a verb
  3. an honest or direct person
  4. a pompous and/or boring person
  5. a lazy person
  6. executive
  7. somebody who is no longer effective
  8. an aggressive worker
  9. a superior in the company
  10. the most effective group
  11. Very Important Person
  12. aggressive and good negotiator

Answers are in the first comment below.

Explanation of the Answers: After you check your answers in the first comment below, read on for more information on the terms above.

  • A-team: This is the most effective group. "A" is often used to mean "Number 1," as in "Grade A eggs" or a "AAAA Tourism Rating." The sports term "A Team" was made popular as the name of a TV show about a group of "experts" who went around helping people. "Our previous ad campaign failed; it's time to send in the A-team."
  • do-nothing: A person who (you might guess) does nothing. "We would have finished the project sooner but my colleague is a real do-nothing."
  • exec: short for "executive." "She's the chief exec of Reginald & Jeeves, Inc." Also used as an adjective: "the exec suite," etc.
  • go-getter: an "eager beaver," an aggressive worker. "We want Harry on our team; he's a real go-getter."
  • has-been: somebody who is no longer effective. "When we hired Dave we thought he'd be a real go-getter, but not anymore; it turns out he's a has-been."
  • higher-up: superior in the company; often used in the plural. "This new policy was handed down by the higher-ups."
  • know-it-all: someone who knows everything--or thinks he does. This is usually derogatory. "I hate asking Scott questions; he's such a know-it-all."
  • rep: short for "representative." "Martin is the rep for several artists in L.A.." It can also be used as a verb, in which case it means, "represent": "He reps for several artists."
  • straight shooter: an honest or direct person. "Bob won't lie to you; he's a real straight shooter."
  • stuffed shirt: a pompous and/or boring person. "I can't relax when I'm with Archibald; he's such a stuffed shirt."
  • VIP: A well-known abbreviation, it means "Very Important Person." It is also used as an adjective: "VIP Service," "the VIP Lounge," etc.
  • wheeler-dealer: Somebody who negotiates freely and well--sometimes in a way that causes concerns about their honesty. "Send Christopher into the talks; he's a real wheeler-dealer." We sometimes see it as a verb: "He's been wheeling and dealing in there for hours."

This lesson (published in two parts) received 317 visits on my old site between March, 2012, and July, 2021.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 27, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. e; 3. f; 4. h; 5. g; 6. i; 7. a; 8. b; 9. c; 10. d; 11. k; 12. l