(to be) asleep at the switch

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - asleep at the switch

"(to be) asleep at the switch"

not paying attention;

not attending to one's job;

failing to do one's duty at the proper time


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - asleep at the switch

Two policemen are talking ...

Policeman 1:  Why didn't you catch that speeder? He must have been doing a hundred and fifty kilometers an hour.

Policeman 2:  I was asleep at the switch.

Policeman 1:  Well, you had better pay more attention in the future.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - asleep at the switch

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I heard you lost the big Herschel account.

Colleague 2:  I did. It's terrible. I think I might lose my job.

Colleague 1:  What happened?

Colleague 2:  I thought that all was well as we have had the account for so long. I wasn't paying attention to details and there was a major issue that I had not been aware of.  It cost Herschel a lot of money.

Colleague 1:  Not good that you were asleep at the switch.

(to be) asleep at the switch - Usage:


(to be) asleep at the switch - Gerund Form:

Being asleep at the switch may mean missing something really important at work and getting fired as a result.

(to be) asleep at the switch - Examples:

1)  ... to the USA we have almost no competition for produce. The government has been asleep at the switch allowing the concentration in processing and retailing that has developed here.

2)  They don't know a thing! They're asleep at the switch!

3)  ... you know we can not fall asleep at the switch because if we do, they'll run over us.

4)  The watchdogs have been asleep at the switch and so has most of the media which still treats this crisis ...

5)  But it's not a time to fall asleep at the switch. Given the broken support levels anything can happen.

6)  ... very serious about who is sitting in boardrooms and ensuring that boards are no longer asleep at the switch.

7)  You really have to wonder who was asleep at the switch years ago when these rich contracts were being negotiated.

8)  ... being in Canada with the Harper government asleep at the switch we have even more work to do.

9)  ... the Federal Reserve and the SEC enforcement division were asleep at the switch - called deregulation - and everything hit the fan.

10)  After two years of being asleep at the switch, Congress is finally stepping up and taking action on financial reform.

11)  And I've apparently been asleep at the switch the whole time because I sure never found any such evidence!

12)  Americans sat, on 9/11, with their military " asleep at the switch, " their president in a daze and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld ...

13)  ... and are missing the big picture. We (Developed nations) are asleep at the switch while others are preparing correctly.

14)  We were asleep at the switch for too long unfortunately, but it's never to late.

15)  You can't afford to be asleep at the switch or be slow at reacting.

16)  I am sick and tired of reading that our politicians are asleep at the switch, or Obama has no idea what to do.

17)  Newark City administrators appear to have been asleep at the switch when they learned of pending services and burial in their city.

18)  And the Islamic world smells blood in the water, and America is asleep at the switch and showing itself weak -- militarily, defensively, financially, morally ...

19)  ... delivered late and in insufficient quantity to have any effect. The Federal Reserve, asleep at the switch as this calamity developed, ...

20)  I am so lucky that everybody was asleep at the switch and I was able to sneak that picture in.