Saturday, August 16, 2003
W O R D   P O W E R

Good and bad go together

I still remember my first job with mixed feelings. I was thrilled to bits when I got my appointment letter. When I told my sister about it, she jumped for joy. For a week after that I was walking on air. And then when I found out that I was going to be paid more than I had imagined, I was truly over the moon.

But just one day in office was enough to put a damper on my enthusiasm. If I was expecting some sort of a welcome, I was in for a rude shock. All I got was a cold shoulder from all my colleagues. When I came home from my first day at work, I was feeling down in the dumps. When I narrated my experiences to my sister, she said that since it was my first job, I was in no position to call the shots and just had to grin and bear it.

I tried my level best to come to terms with the circumstances but that was easier said than done. All my efforts to find out what the matter was, drew a blank. And as if that was not enough, my boss too was giving me a hard time.

Just two months at that place and I was the end of my rope. I was sick and tired of trying to humour everyone. But when my boss put me down in front of everyone else, it was the last straw. The very next day I resigned.


Key to phrases used

Have mixed feelings about something: to be unsure about whether you like or agree with something or someone

Thrilled to bits, over the moon: both these phrases are used to mean extremely happy

Jump for joy, walking on air: used to express happiness over something good that has happened

Put a damper on something: stop an occasion from being enjoyable

A rude shock: a situation in which you suddenly realise something upsetting or bad

Give someone the cold shoulder: to deliberately ignore someone, especially because you are upset

To be down in the dumps: to be unhappy

To call the shots: to be in a position of authority so that you can give orders or make decisions

To grin and bear something: to accept a situation you donít like because you canít change it

Come to terms with something: to accept a bad situation or event and not feel upset about it anymore

Easier said than done: used to say that it would be difficult to actually do what someone has suggested

Draw a blank: to not be able to think of or find an answer to a question

Give someone a hard time: to criticise someone a lot

To be at the end of your rope: to have no more patience or strength to deal with something

To be sick and tired of something: to be angry and bored with something that has been happening for a long time

Put someone down: to criticise someone and make them feel silly or stupid

The last straw: the final thing in a series of annoying things that makes a person very angry

Interesting origins

To throw the baby out with the bath water means to get rid of the good parts of a system, organisation etc., as well as the bad parts, when you are changing it in order to try and make it better. In former times, before people had bathrooms, all the family would bathe in one bathtub. First the master of the house would bathe, then his wife, then the children, and last of all, the baby. By the time the baby was washed, the water was so dark and dirty, there was a risk that no one would be able to see the baby and it would be thrown out with the water.

(Reference Longman Advanced American Dictionary)