Talking about previous jobs past simple and continuous



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Using past simple and the past progressive (You were working in a cocktail bar when I met you…)
1. Describe Tenses . Past simple and past continuous
2. Do worksheet on the difference
3. Give some key phrases when talking about our previous jobs
4. Find out what the class wants to know about the previous jobs people have had
5. Write up note and read out – Example story: “The staff came from all walks of life and made entertaining colleagues”

Podcasts about first jobs

The Soda Jerk – Difficult – 2:53

Video Dating Service – Intermediate – 1:50

1. Describe tenses. Past simple and past progressive

Using Past simple. Activities that were finished in the past – usually with a time indicator.

I worked at the bank yesterday

I drank too much at the weekend

I sold 35 mobile phones last week

10 years ago I joined Amstrosica.

Using Past continuous. Also in the past.
a) Emphasise activity. – I was working there for five years!
b) Or interruption. You were working in a cocktail bar when I met you

2. Do this exercise:

Check answers together.

3. Some phrases about previous employment (on the board)

I was working/studying at ….. when….

It was an interesting period until….

I loved my time at …… but in the end….

Overall it was a great/not such a great experience because…

I wish I had realised…

It was a great start to my working life as it taught me……

4. What do we want to know about each others previous jobs or first jobs?

We’re going to tell each other about our first jobs. But first some questions?

What do you want to know about each other’s first jobs? – 4 or 5 questions or statements on the board.

5. Sit and think about your first job. Write out a few phrases – not the whole thing. And be ready to use them. Each of you has to tell your story.

Example story:

What was your first job and did you enjoy it?

In 1997 I was working in a tele-sales call centre in Padington. The company sold advertising space in magazines which nobody bought. It was a bit of a con trick, but I enjoyed working there because the people were fun and we partied a lot.

What did the company do? How did it operate? What did it produce?

The company was mad. It was run almost purely around a massive sales hall, full of reps cold-calling America. The product itself barely existed. It produced some magazines, but nothing like enough to justify the high prices of the advertising space offered.

What were your colleagues like?

When I was working at the sales company I made several good friends, but they were all nuts. We slaved away, 9 or 10 hours a day in a massive open plan hall, banging out the calls, mainly getting nowhere and being sworn at. The staff came from all walks of life and made entertaining colleagues. We often went out together after work and drank the evening away with much laughter and sarcasm.

Can you tell me a story from the time when you were working there?

I was working for this money machine during Christmas and my best memory of it was the party that they threw at the Dorchester hotel on Park Lane. It was totally wild. The wildest partying my twenty-year-old self had ever seen. Dancers, magicians, a huge dinner and an endless flow of champagne. I was very quickly high as a kite. Though generally a very shy twenty something, I didn’t even blink when there was no response to the prize draw (one of the many entertainments put on for us that night). I stuck my hand up and shouted a full-voiced “it’s me!”. Everyone was far too drunk to question or care and I walked away with a £200 Marks and Spencer gift voucher, pleased as punch.


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