Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lame Lingo

You know how management has its own special language? Words and phrases used constantly to ensure maximum productivity? Well that's what they are taught is the reason for this new vocabulary, what it actually achieves is a high level of annoyance in your underlings. But can make for a rousing game of BINGO during a meeting. More on that later.

This morning I was eavesdropping (I do that fairly often in the office, its the only way to really learn anything) and I heard the most heinous manager expression ever. It was horrific. I am debating with myself if I should even post it here, I don't want to be responsible for spreading this around like the Plague or Ebola. Once its out there, its going to be pretty difficult to clean that up again.

OK in the interest of full disclosure this is what I heard:

Turd Fergason: Morning.

Underling: Oh hey, morning (this is a co-worker who has not fully realized yet what a tool Turd Fergason is so she is still pleasant to him, had it been me, there probably would not have been a verbal recognition of his presence)

T.F: Hows things going?

Underling: Um, I guess they are ok.

T.F: I just wanted to do a quick temperature check

The rest of the conversation doesn't really matter. Can you believe that he said that? A temperature check? Are you a doctor? Really? Did this just happen? I was horrified. Am still horrified. Its just such a lame expression, leave it to management to use it. There is no excuse for thisHe totally thought he was being all suave and cool about it too. I think its just the imagery that it evokes, that for me is just too too much!

So anyway, this little exchange got me thinking about other annoying little words and phrases that management likes to use. These are a few of my manager's favourites, feel free to add your own.

Challenging. This is one word that I have had to strike from my vocabulary. It evokes too many painful memories of my former never-to-be-named-again manager. He was such a tool (partially responsible for my having to move my blog to a new address) and I swear this was the only word he knew for something that was difficult. He used it for everything from work "challenges" to personal trials. There was nothing he wouldn't christen as being "challenging". I seriously hate this word. Weird right? To hate a word? But I do (when I was a kid I had a healthy abhorrence for the word "and", thats kind of an odd thing to admit. I still prefer not to use it). Its probably partly to do with who was using the word all the time, but I like variety too and he just used it for everything. Not everything is challenging you know? Learn new words!

This outside the box. I think that this is one that gets leftover from university days when professors are encouraging their students to be creative. I also think that it has no place in my office because this is not a creative space. This is an efficient space and creative thinking is regarded asdangerous. So why would we expend valuable resources thinking outside the proverbial box? It must be used to make themsleves feel better about the pathetic state of their professional careers. I'm safe because this isn't a career for me, its a paycheque.

Cover it off. Putting aside that this is not actually even physically possible, what the hell does that mean? Are you covering it? Or crossing it off a list? Its just confusing jargon, designed to make a manager feel smart and important (like we need more smug managers). Its also annoying because it is used when I am trying to get an answer to a question, or a solution to a problem I'm having and this is used to pawn me off: "yup, OK that is a valid point, let's cover it off later OK?" and then of course, its never visited again (I know, I know, I'm shocked too). Learn a new phrase that actually makes sense please. And while you're at it, please try and actually follow up when you say you will. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish when you don't pass the buck.

The peak of the crap. Yeah you read that right. I am positive that this is one unique to my office. Sadly. And I think that the only person that fully understands what it means, is its creator, John. We were really bogged down and behind and he came up with this analogy that had to do with tsunamis and riding waves? I think basically its supposed to be encouraging- that we have reached the top of this wave of stuff that we have to get done? Maybe? Yeah it doesn't make all that much sense. What is even more infuriating is that it is used in like every meeting that John heads up. AND he actually sent out certificates with a nauseatingly "adorable" surfer riding a huge wave and it said something like Surfer All Stars Award. The intent was to encourage but it might have backfired as we all looked at each other in silent wonderment, one thought between us "Who is this guy?". At the time, he was our manager and he was so proud of himself. The whole thing is horrific even now, months after our certificates of non- achievement were handed out. He has time to create certificates? He can't help us out at all? I know who gets my award for Manager of the Year.

So there you have it, my shortlist of the most annoying things that come out of management mouths. I'm sure that if I really gave it some time I could come up with more. Oh before I forget, I mentioned BINGO at the beginning. Its affectionately known as BullS**t BINGO. Basically you round up words and phrases that your manager says a lot and you make a BINGO-esque grid on your notepad in a meeting. Discuss with your colleagues and agree on a line or a blackout and then cross off the words or phrases as your manager says it. Extra points if you actually scream BullS**t in the meeting when you win.

I dare you.


  1. I love Bulls**t Bingo, that is a great idea!! Too bad we don't have meetings where I work, actually scrap that, by the sounds of it I am glad we don't have meetings!

  2. OMG we play this game already! And our boss knows about it too so sometimes he'll even play up to it and say extra words. He's favourite terms are "Moving Forward," "Bubble it up," "Massage out the message" and "Step up to the plate."