be asleep at the switch

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be asleep at the switch

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to not do or be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through on time before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won if he hadn't been asleep at the switch!
See also: asleep, switch

be asleep at the switch

  (American)
if someone is asleep at the switch, they are not ready to act quickly to avoid problems and do their job well Let's face it, if employees were stealing all that money, then management was asleep at the switch.
See also: asleep, switch