Poor Timekeeping

This is a role-play scenario to work on with your teacher.

You will play someone who works in a small startup company. Your teacher will play your manager.

The Scenario

You've had some problems at home - a sick mother and some money problems - and haven't been sleeping well. As a result you've been late to work several times in the last few weeks.

Your manager has asked to talk to you and you expect she will bring up your timekeeping.


You need to explain that it's a temporary problem, but don't want to say too much about your personal circumstances.

Useful Vocabulary

It won't happen again.

"I apologise. I know I made a mistake, but I won't repeat it."

My door is always open

Said by managers to encourage people not to be afraid to email or otherwise contact them


Honest and direct in communication. Sometimes meaning "too direct"

To escalate

To talk about a problem with someone more senior. You might escalate to your manager; a customer might do the same.

I’ve heard all this before!

Said if someone is trying to promise that something will be done, when they have previously said the same thing - and you are sceptical. Not rude, but very direct

Personal Problems

Things outside work which may be affecting your performance or timekeeping. Implies you don't really want to discuss details

To be hot on

To carefully look for or notice. “You should wear a shirt and tie. The new boss is very hot on personal appearance.”

Trouble at home

Used to indicate there may be a reason your performance or timekeeping isn't as good as usual. Implies you don't really want to discuss details

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