Where Do Phrases Come From – and Can They Hurt You?

Do you ever wonder where we ever get certain phrases? For example, “Sick as a dog”. Where did this come from and why? I pondered that about 2 am this morning as my three were being paid back by karma for raiding the pantry. I had three very ill dogs, but how could I describe this to you? I can’t really say my dogs were sick as a dog because that just does not make sense. Yes, this really is how my mind works…

So, on very little sleep my mind began to wander on this topic. Sometimes we use phrases to describe people, normally it is in a positive manner: “cute as a button”, “always busy as a beaver”, or “a great little worker bee” – I apologize for the limited use of phrases; again, I am working on little sleep! Even though these things are meant to be positive sometimes they can come across negatively because you just do not know how someone else perceives things.

If someone described you as a real tough cookie – how would you take that? Is it a positive or does it infer that you are difficult to get along with? When talking to a prospective employer you certainly do not want anyone to unintentionally do you any harm. That is why it is important to talk to your references to find out just what they would say about you.

This is important for two reasons: 1. To be safe that nothing can be taken out of context and 2. Sometimes people see a positive in you that you do not see yourself. They may mention that you were a very trusted advisor when there is a difficult challenge even if it was not in your department or area, but you think clearly and logically. That is something good to know!

Now if you will excuse me, I believe it is time for round two of carpet cleaning – I want to make sure those carpets are “clean as a whistle”!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.

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