Work duties conditions and pay

What do you do?

People may ask you about your job. They can ask and you can answer in different ways:
What do you do? I’m (+ job) e.g. a banker / an engineer / a teacher / a builder
What’s your job? I work in (+ place or general area) e.g. a bank / marketing
What do you do for a living? I work for (+ name of company) e.g. Union Bank, ICI, Fiat

Note: ‘Work’ is usually an uncountable noun, so you cannot say ‘a work’. If you want to use the indefinite article you must say ‘a job’, e.g. She hasn’t got a job at the moment.

What does that involve? (= What do you do in your job?)

When people ask you to explain your work/job, they may want to know your main responsibilities (= your duties / what you have to do), or something about your daily routine (= what you do every day/week). They can ask like this: What does that (i.e. your job) involve?
Main responsibilities
I’m in charge of (= responsible for) all deliveries out of the factory.
I have to deal with any complaints (= take all necessary action if there are complaints).
I run the coffee bar and restaurant in the museum (= I am in control of it / I manage it).
Note: We often use responsible for / in charge of for part of something, e.g. a department or some of the workers; and run for control of all of something, e.g. a company or a shop.
Daily duties/routines
I have to go to / attend (fml) a lot of meetings.
I visit/see/meet clients (= people I do business with or for).
I advise clients (= give them help and my opinion).
It involves doing quite a lot of paperwork (a general word we use for routine work that involves paper e.g. writing letters, filling in forms, etc.). Note the -ing form after involve.


Most workers are paid (= receive money) every month and this pay goes directly into their
bank account. It is called a salary.We can express the same idea using the verb to earn:
My salary is $60,000 a year. (= I earn $60,000 a year.)
With many jobs you get (= receive) holiday pay and sick pay (when you are ill). If you want to ask about holidays, you can say:
How much holiday do you get? or How many weeks’ holiday do you get?
The total amount of money you receive in a year is called your income. This could be your salary from one job, or the salary from two different jobs you have. And on this income you have to pay part to the government – called income tax.

Working hours

For many people in Britain, these are 8.30-9.00 a.m. to 5.00-5.30 p.m. Consequently people often talk about a nine-to-five job (= regular working hours). Some people have flexi-time (= they can start an hour or so earlier or finish later); and some have to do shiftwork (= working at different times, e.g. days one week and nights the next week). Some people also work overtime (= work extra hours). Some people are paid to do/work overtime, others are not paid.