Talking about rumours

Talking about rumours

Listen to two people talking about a colleague to practise and improve your listening skills.


Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


Will: Kiera, have you heard John isn't coming back and they might even fire him?

Kiera: No! I knew he was away but I thought it was for personal reasons?

Will: I'm pretty sure that's not the full story. Have you ever worked with him?

Kiera: A long time ago, but … well, I've heard stories about him for years.

Will: I've never worked with him directly but I know people that have and they say he was always shouting and screaming, threatening to fire people. And Susanne told me he took credit for one of her ideas. She had this idea for a project and she brought it up at the monthly creative workshop and he liked it – everybody did. But she saw the notes from the meeting and there was no mention of her name anywhere. John had agreed with her and repeated some of the things she said and the notes made it look like they were his ideas in the first place. He made her do all the work planning it, then when the project actually got started – it was that cars one – Susanne was moved to something else.

Kiera: It won an award, didn't it?

Will: Yeah, but Susanne didn't get to share it – there was zero recognition of her contribution. She was furious but she couldn't do anything about it. Not if she wanted to keep her job.

Kiera: Yeah, it's almost impossible to report people who are as high up as John is, or was.

Will: How did you find working with him, then?

Kiera: Well, you know what you said about him shouting at people? I've been in meetings with him and we all learned to keep our mouths shut. It was horrible. People were genuinely afraid of him.

Will: Did you ever see him stealing people's ideas?

Kiera: It was never that obvious. He was a genius. He had incredible vision but, you know, there was a whole team of people working with him. Not every single idea came from him and after a while it's not easy to say, 'Oh, this idea was mine and this idea was yours.' For me, the bigger problem was that you could be in his good books and then suddenly, with no explanation, you were out. And if you were out, life got very difficult.

Will: I heard women in particular had a hard time working with him.

Kiera: Yeah, well, like I said, you had to stay in his good books. So, if there was a comment that made you feel uncomfortable, you didn't say anything.

Will: Did that happen to you?

Kiera: Not to me, no, but we all knew … and no one said anything. And I was lucky I didn't have that much contact with him myself.

Will: They're doing a full investigation so I suppose a lot of these stories are going to come to light.

Kiera: I hope so. I really hope he's not coming back.


Worksheet80.16 KB

Language level

Average: 4.6 (20 votes)
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Submitted by I P on Fri, 03/01/2020 - 21:16

I think that the boss need to have authority at some point, but to give democratic atmosphere - to listen everyone and vaule them as a person, and everyone have to participate during project, and bring ideas, reaching throughout the their goal and achive it.
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Submitted by Magedelabd on Wed, 11/12/2019 - 16:20

What makes good boss is , he is a quit man , kind , fair and gentleman. What makes bad boss is nervous , unfair .

Submitted by HelianG on Tue, 26/11/2019 - 18:20

I think that a good boss is who knows how to give feedback to his employees,recognize the work of his employees,also is important that he listen to his workers's complaints,otherwise,they will to have to deal with people like jhon and that is a huge problem because the others will not feel like giving their opinion or ideas which help to improve the business

Submitted by Leandro Aguilera on Thu, 31/10/2019 - 15:28

A good boss is who when you are wrong do not annoying with you, instead he teach you with the final pourpouse of you to develop better and in that way the company or the team group can reach the final aim.

Submitted by nikisyazwani on Wed, 02/10/2019 - 18:40

I have completed the lesson for 'Talking about rumours'. The level I chose was Upper Intermediate B2.
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Submitted by kamicounciler on Mon, 30/09/2019 - 13:51

the least thing a good boss has is acting according to accepted laws and his commitments.also if he or she has a close relationship with others and a good understanding of their situation,that ll make him/her much better boss. on the other hand a bad boss is one that ignores his workers rights or worst, behave them inappropriately because he/she knows that they need the job and cant leave.

Submitted by corflz on Tue, 10/09/2019 - 13:20

Hello, "then when the project actually got started – it was that cars one – Susanne was moved to something else." What does 'it was that cars one' mean? Thanks in advance. Regards,
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Tue, 10/09/2019 - 21:19

In reply to by corflz


Hello corflz

I'd say the speaker is specifying which project got started, i.e. it was the car project that got started just when Susanne was moved.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Morteza on Wed, 07/08/2019 - 07:37

I think a good boss is who has a good behaviour, gives out assignments fairly, and doesn't take it upon themselves to interfere personal lives of employees. Also having a good relationship and open to constructive criticism are very crucial factors of a boss for a good collaboration with other colleagues.