This is another exercise on idioms. How does it sound to a native speaker?
Put in idioms and words in the text.
1. outsourcing (n)
2. to operate leanly
3. a plum job
4. to be left hanging in limbo
5. to snap at one’s heels
6. backlash
7. to hit pay dirt
8. to tap a gusher
9. to nickel and dime
10. to find your sea legs
11. country-in-the-making
12. to flatten the organization

To: Pilar Rames
From: Jane Morgan
Subject: bumping into Eric

Hi, Pilar!
It looks as if I am going to be up to my ears in work next week. Year-end reports, statements, balance sheets and all the jazz.
But guess who I bumped into at the HQ today? ERIC HENDERSON!
Yeah! I had just left my supervisor’s office, and here he was, larger than life, in the reception area.
He has changed a lot. He is slim, suntanned, all smiles. He was on a short visit from Mandanga (Malaysia) to submit reports on the performance of the subsidiary he runs.
You know, Pilar, since the ousourcing our manufacturing facilities down to Mandanga, cutting off all the dead wood, the company’s profits have soared.
Eric should be proud of himself. He has flattened the subsidiary. I know what he has ben through and I wish all those who kept telling what a plum job he had got himself had been in Mandanga when Eric kicked off his implementation plan.
Well, according to the internal information, the Mandanga subsidiary has been able to find its sea legs without looking back at the parent company.
We, at the HQ, were worrying at the time that the Mandanga subsidiary would not go it alone. The Asian tigers were snapping at our heels in the region.
But Eric, can you believe it, Pilar, turned the tables on them. First, he did not nickel and dime the local companies for every service we provide. Sometimes the subsidiary even bore part of the cost, within reason, to make our offers more attractive.
Second, we tapped a gusher when we allowed local businessmen to invest their capital in some of our facilities and operations. Kind of franchising. We are still majority stake holders in those ventures, generate enough cash flow, which is why there is no need to borrow heavily, and our bottom line keeps improving.
Well, since then, Pilar, the Mandanga case has been a household name at the HQ. Eric has managed to launch a successful business operation and all this time he has operated leanly.
We did hit pay dirt back then. But the going was tough. What with all the backlash we received when our own employees got angry? The whole idea of outsourcing was left hanging in limbo for a couple of months. Had it not been for Eric and his team, I do not know what situation we would be now.
Anyway, Pilar, there is a Chinese saying: ‘Every journey begins with a first step.’ We took that step, and we achieved our goals.
Well, I am sure the situation down there in Mandanga is a hallmark of processes taking place in countries-in-the-making.
But at the end of our chat Eric invited me to the new Thai restaurant just round the corner from us. He wanted to catch up with the latest developments here.
So, after hesitating for a few seconds, I accepted the invitation. I insisted on going Dutch, but we ended up with him paying the bill.
So, my friend, Pilar, this is the news I wanted to share with you.
Drop me a line if you are not too busy, OK?


Jane Morgan