Office Jargon

I am in awe. Awe of my fellow bloggers who somehow make time amidst their erratic schedules to blog. Wow. How do they do this? I seem to be permanently lagging in striking off things from my to-do list which seems to be growing steadily 😦

So let me quickly tell you what kept me away for so long. Last week has been crazy. We had brought home Lord Ganpati (the elephant God), for the first time ever, on the occasion of Ganeshotsav. Which meant that the whole house was in a kind of frenzy you would only otherwise associate with a home hosting a wedding. Steady string of relatives and friends made a beeline for our home for his darshan and this kept us thoroughly consumed and occupied as hosts. The whole house was enveloped in peace and serenity for whole two days due to lord’s presence.  When we bade adieu to the lord, the house suddenly felt empty and bereft of his loving presence. Here’s a dekko of the lord.

Ganpati and me

But the commitment I made to you guys about posting a blog about office jargon kept gnawing at me. So on a Sunday evening, when I was supposed to be out and having fun with friends, I decided to stay indoors and do this post. Amidst all the distractions – door bells, phone calls, TV, hunger breaks. Oh no, I am not making it sound like I am doing you a favour. Not at all.  Am just saying that I was equally eager to do this post.

I remember having read somewhere that one in five employees use jargon to impress their bosses and increase their chances of promotion. Whatever the reason, most of these ‘safe’ sounding jargon are anything but innocent. They sometimes even have malicious undertones. Like for example… I find the word ‘pink slip’ the silliest. Will giving a termination notice to someone and calling it ‘a pink slip’ make it any better for the employee to receive it? Will it take some sting away? Lol

“Restructuring”, “Resizing the workforce”, “Rightsizing the company” will any of these non-negative sounding terms make “laying off”, which is also just another term btw, any less painful?

Then there is more:

We offer “competitive salary” means what? Means we will stay competitive by paying you less than our competitors might pay you? Or we will try to find out if we can hire “more or less similar talent” at any cheaper price?

I have a major problem with employees being referred to as “resources”. What does that even mean? How insensitive is that! After all, there is some difference between a thinking, feeling human being and iron ore.

One of the most overused and abused word perhaps is “Strategy”. It has almost become a filler. People have a strategy for everything. Seriously?! Wasn’t strategy supposed to be a big, secret plan to achieve something big and substantial? At least that is the meaning imprinted in ‘my’ mind from my school days. Don’t know about ‘you.’

Following closely on the heels of “Strategy” is the term “action plan.” It sounds so big, no? You bet! “An immediate action plan” is more often than not  an unpleasant chore that was swept under the carpet for too long and is suddenly resurfaced because some prick decided to bring this up in front of ten people at least. Now what choice you have? You have to save your ass. No more procrastination.

“Thinking out of the box” is another abused, clichéd phrase in office. The moment someone uses that phrase, he/she stops thinking out of the box, don’t you think?

“I am doing the field today” means I want to go home early and that is only possible if I am out on field for “an important meeting”.

When in a group meeting, your boss suddenly interrupts your talk and says that ‘we will take this offline’, it doesn’t mean that he is aiming to have a one-on-one private conversation with you on this ‘important’ matter. It means that what you are saying is totally absurd, unnecessary, incoherent and beyond point. You are rambling.

So many people use the terms “bottomlines” and “toplines” even without really knowing what they ‘really’ mean. Because they not just sound fancy, but they make you sound so intelligent… a la Bill Gates.

Another term that a lot of Sales and Marketing people use is “touch base”, as in ‘let’s touch base at 10 am tomorrow’. I ask, WHY? Sales and Marketing people love “talking in riddles.” After all, they need to build up some story in their pitches. They can’t just say that ‘Look dude, you have to buy this insurance/pen/mediclaim/car, because I have to meet my deadlines.’

“Let’s hit the ground running.” What?! Don’t you want to at least assess what’s the race all about and who all are running?

“This needs to be taken up on Priority.” But then, everything in office has to be done on a priority. So the “moot point” is how do you ‘prioritize’ your priorities?

“Do you have the bandwidth?” means I know it’s nearly impossible to do this in ‘so’ much time, so am asking ‘you’ to pull this one off for me.

There are some more phrases that we hear in office all the time, whether we like them or not, and they rarely mean what they are supposed to mean:

It’s a win-win situation.
Going forward
It’s on my radar
My plate is full
Keep me in the loop
You can reach out to me on phone – Cant you just say you can call me? Are you going to be underground that I have to reach out to you?

“Active” Participation…Can there also be ‘passive’ participation? If it’s passive, then it’s not participation, right? But on second thoughts, I think this one term is kind of acceptable to me.

I can go on for some more time… but this is getting too long and my dinner is growing cold. Besides, don’t you have to get back to whatever it is that you were doing? But before you go, do let me know how you feel about these jargon. And if you can remember more, put them down here in comments 🙂



18 thoughts on “Office Jargon

  1. Zipped……. 🙂

    Best of the lot… !!!

    BTW, How does a dinner grow? like in carrots growing underground or Puri’s will split into two upon ‘growing cold’ 😛

    My cent –

    There was strategy touchbase workshop derived from ‘Thinking out of the box’ thought shower session to rightsize the organization by priortizing issue-the-pink-slip action plan to tackle WOMBAT situation. The target audience were cubicle monkeys who were to be delayered in the blamestorm which could lead to win-win situation for both resources and mgmt to leverage bottomlines, Since authority is within the radar of mgmt and feeling is mutual of plate being full, It has been discussed and decided during all-hands meeting to push the envelope to stop Blue-Sky thinking expectations from employees. This was in all respect to Dead Cat Bounce of companies stock prices 😛 😛 😛


  2. I quote “Jargon’s are boring, completely useless and make you only look like an arsehole”. My mentor during my internship at a private bank said this to his client, who get clarity market terms. It stayed with me and also the use of daily use English/regular English.

    Talk the Talk of your audience. Great post 🙂

  3. Ha! 🙂 LOL It was a treat to read this post. Awesome stuff, Zinal.
    Do not worry about the length of this post. I hope there is a possibility of continuation of this post and if you go with that idea, then make sure you are going to write it after having the dinner, so that you will not have to worry about your dinner getting cold. 🙂

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