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  • Hello and welcome to The English We Speak.

  • It's Feifei here.

  • And hello, it's Rob here too. Oh Feifei, why the glum face?

  • I didn't get it.

  • Get it?

  • I didn't get the job.

  • Oh yes yes, the job. You went for a new job, one you really really wanted, one that you said would be perfect for you.

  • Clearly I'm not. Look at this rejection letter, it says I did not have enough experience.

  • How dare they! But if I don't do the job, how do I get the experience?

  • Oh dear, it sounds like catch-22.

  • Catch-22? Is that some kind of qualification I need?

  • Nope, it just describes a situation where you can't win.

  • Basically, you can't do one thing until you've done another thing which you can't do until you've done the first thing.

  • So it's an impossible situation.

  • It is. Let's hear some examples of this phrase in action.

  • I need my parents' car, but my mum says I need permission from my dad, then my dad says I need permission from my mum.

  • I can't get permission from either.

  • So I'm in a catch-22 situation.

  • To apply for a short-term student visa to study English in the UK, you have to be able to speak some English, but you want to come to England to learn English!

  • It's catch-22 for many potential students.

  • You're listening to The English We Speak and Rob has told me I'm in a catch-22 situation.

  • That's a situation I cannot win.

  • Yes Feifei, so you can't get a new job without some experience of doing it, but you can't get the experience without doing the job.

  • So it's catch-22 !

  • It's a strange phrase, Rob.

  • Yes, it comes from the title of a book, Catch-22, written by Joseph Heller in 1961, which describes bureaucratic constraints on soldiers in World War II.

  • But look Feifei, don't be too sad about the job, you've got plenty of experience for doing this job.

  • That's because I've been here for 40 years!

  • Oh, yes. But we respect you for expertise, especially in one task.

  • What's that?

  • Making the tea. Now could you put the kettle on please?

  • Oh, I really need a new job.

  • Bye.

  • Bye.

Hello and welcome to The English We Speak.

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A2 US feifei rob job situation permission experience

Catch-22: The English We Speak

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/03/01
Video vocabulary