Job (pronunciation)

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Beware of a pronunciation trap when you see Job.

As a proper noun, Job is pronounced to rhyme with 'globe', robe and 'strobe' (IPA: /dʒəʊb/).
  • Job is the name of a person in the Bible, and the name of the Book of the Bible that tells his story. Other Jews and Christians have used Job as a forename. The original Job was a good man who was tested by god by being afflicted with more and more sufferings. These he bears with virtue and patience ("the patience of Job" was a cliché for great, indeed super-human, toleration of the unpleasant). "Job's comforters" are those who pretend to comfort an unfortunate person, while actually making the situation worse, or harder to bear.
    • The surname of the developer of computers and co-founder of the Apple company, Steve Jobs (1955-2011), is pronounced like the plural of the common noun: /IPA: /dʒɒbz/.
As a common noun, job has the vowel of 'got', 'odd' and 'Bob', etc.: IPA: /dʒɒb/. 
  • The common noun has several meanings:
    • 'an employment', 'a position of paid work'; sometimes 'a post', as in a position with specific responsibilities. Some students may have part-time jobs in local shops; another may hope to have a highly-paid job in a merchant bank after graduating. The current writer's main job was in teaching, as a Head of Department. Jobs (and job losses etc) form a common statistic of economic performance.
      • In the general sense of 'a post', it can also mean 'a function' or 'a duty', as in "A policeman's main job is to keep the public safe. He may have other jobs, such as catching criminals and keeping traffic moving." This general sense may be applied to machines and other non-humans: the job of an ABS is to prevent a car from skidding when the brakes are applied, and the job of the lungs is to provide oxygen to the system.
    • 'a task' or 'a piece of work', for example "I'll speak to you when I've just finished this job". A copy-shop or binder may treat one student's dissertation as 'one job' among hundreds; criminals may refer to a specific robbery or other crime as 'a job', as in the film The Italian Job. A garage may give a car 'a paint-job'. The sexual services of prostitutes may be called hand jobs or blow jobs.
      • A jobbing worker, for example a jobbing gardener, is one hired to complete a particular task, as opposed to performing regular and frequent maintenance or upkeep.
    • In slang terms, job is often used to mean something very unspecific: an off-road vehicle may be a "very substantial job", and a young woman may be [admiringly, or dismissively] "a smooth, cool, long-legged job". Cosmetic surgery is often labelled as a 'nose-job' or 'boob-job'. In nursery and local slang, a 'job', big job or (particularly in Scotland) jobbie/jobby may be a piece of solid human waste, a turd.
    • In a rather dismissive sense, jobs can be occasions for corruption, nepotism etc. 'Jobs for the boys' is a phrase descriptive of employing those whom one favours personally (friends, family etc) rather than the best qualified or most diligent. In the eighteenth century, when such practices were common in public life, scandalous examples were known as jobbery.
    • In the field of commerce, to job some commodity was to deal in it, to buy and sell it. On the Stock Market, a jobber was one who bought and sold shares, until 1966. In general trade, a jobber was one who jobbed or dealt wholesale in a particular range of goods. A job lot is a miscellaneous range of things, as in a 'clearance sale' of the complete contents of a house, which may be sold separately at a profit.
    • There is sometimes a strong implication of effort in colloquial phrases such as "you'll have a job [to do that]" (~ you will find it very difficult). The vague phrase 'good job' may mean no more than 'well done', but it may refer broadly to a set of circumstances, a situation. "It's a good job you [remembered your notebook]" means roughly 'it's a lucky circumstance'. To make the best of a bad job is to manage to retrieve some benefit from a difficult or unpromising situation.
You may also like to see AWE's article on jobsworth.