Changing Careers - Idioms in Context

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Here is a short reading giving advice about deciding to change one's career. It's chock full of idioms in context which you can find definitions for after the short story. Try reading the dialogue one time to understand the gist without using the idiom definitions. On your second reading, use the definitions to help you understand the text while learning new idioms. Finally, take the quiz after the reading to practice the idioms and expressions you've learned.

 

Changing Careers

We can never really know what's in the cards for us. The future will always remain a mystery for most of us. Some of my friends tell me to not worry and play things by ear. Just wait to see what will happen they say. Others insist that it's important to take the bull by the horns. Make lots of plans and zero in on what it takes to be successful in life. The one thing I know to be true is that past mistakes are just water under the bridge. It's best to learn from them and then continue on. If you need to change jobs, change jobs!

However, it's sometimes difficult to stay in a career that's just not working for you anymore. Once the honeymoon is over, you need to asses whether you've chosen the right career path. It's true that changing horses in midstream makes success in other fields even more difficult. However, sometimes starting from scratch is what you need to do. If you're not firing on all cylinders at work, it might well be worth your while to push your luck and look for something new.

Be careful not to choose some career that's just a flash in the pan such as becoming a real estate agent. As soon as the boom is over, you'll go bust! If you decide to to change careers, talk to friends and let them give you a short in the arm because you'll need it! Finally, don't worry about ruffling anyone's feathers.

You'll need to focus on what you need to do rather than thinking about others' opinions. At least, that's how I see it. 

Idiom and Expression Definitions

be in the cards = planned for the future, something that might happen in the future
change horses midstream = change plans on how to do something while doing it
firing on all cylinders = be functioning perfectly, or at a very high level
flash in the pan = popular for the moment, but won't be popular for a long time
honeymoon is over = the hard work is about to begin, the infatuation is finished
piece of the pie = one's own share of success
play something by ear = improvise, do something without a plan
poetic justice = irony when someone who has criticized an action or someone ends up making the same mistake 
push one's luck = take chances, risky behavior 
ruffle someone's feathers = bother someone, upset someone 
shot in the arm = boosting or increasing someone's confidence
start from scratch = start from the beginning again
take the bull by the horns = take charge of a situation
water under the bridge = something that is past, something you can not get back
zero in on something = to focus on one thing 

Idiom and Expression Quiz

  1. Many people are just focused on getting their own __________. They don't care how their actions might affect others.
  1. I'm afraid the __________. They love my work, but they're putting the pressure on me to produce more. 
  2. I hate to make any plans. Let's just play the afternoon _________ and see what happens. 
  3. I think you should take _________ and start work next week. If you wait for others to do it, it will never get done.
  4. Unfortunately, I ruffled her __________ and now she wants to fire me for speaking the truth!
  5. What exciting adventures are __________ for your future?
  6. Remember that any negative experiences are just so much __________. Learn from them and move on.
  7. That fashion trend is just a __________. It won't be around next year. 
  8. Your words of encouragement are a __________. Thanks!
  9. Wow, Tom is firing _________ today! He's already sold four cars and two trucks. 
  10. Why don't you __________ the Smith account, so we can finish early and go home for the day.

    Quiz Answers

    1. piece of the pie
    2. honeymoon is over
    3. by ear
    4. the bull by the horns
    5. feathers
    6. in the cards
    7. water under the bridge
    8. flash in the pan
    9. shot in the arm
    10. on all cylinders
    11. zero in on

     

    Learn more idioms in context with these resources