by Simon Henry @simlington
Since I wrote this, I’ve collected an A-Z of office jargon. You may just want to go there.
If not, I hope you’l enjoy this first attempt to collect these horrible words.
Almost everyone hates jargon, according to a recent survey by the Plain English Society.
People clearly need to re-baseline their expectations – going forward.
Jargon, gibberish, gobbledygook and plain, old-fashioned bull are here to stay in the modern office.
So here’s an A to Z to help you navigate the Wonderful World of Weird Wasted Words.
It has gaps (See N – Negative Space). If I couldn’t think of something good or funny, I just didn’t write anything.
This, I’ve found, is a really good line to live by. I’ve also provided some commentary on the jargon. You’ll find it’s pretty positive.
A: Action – When used as a verb this makes me want to action an immediate voiding of my bowels.
B: Basis – As in ‘weekly basis’. Why not ‘every week’? Even if you’re feeling weak. I am – and we’ve only reached ‘B’.
C: Challenging – Why not just ‘sh*t’ or – if you don’t like swearing – ‘crap’?
D: Decisioning – I think this means ‘calculate’, but I’ve made the decision to leave ‘D’ and move on to …
E: Evangelise – This just gives me the creeps because I hate religion as much as I hate jargon. Possibly more.
F: Forward – Managers think they can stop people bitching about past mistakes by saying ‘Going forward.’ Stalin said this whenever he wiped out 9/10 of his Politburo.
G: See ‘F’.
H: Heads-up – How about ‘warning’? But not ‘giving head’. That’s for a different blog.
I: Issues – See C.
J: James (Blunt) – This is, strictly speaking, Cockney Rhyming slang and not jargon. It’s a good description for someone who uses too much jargon.
K: Kit – What people who don’t really understand technology call hardware, when they’re desperately trying not to look stupid (and failing). Example: ‘Great piece of kit, the new Samgsung iPhone device’.
L: Leverage – Is so awful you’ll have to look it up yourself if you haven’t already abandoned this in despair.
M: Manage expectations – Means ‘No’.
N: Negative space – Used by designers who don’t have any imagination.
O: Offline – This actually means ‘elsewhere’ but is used by people working on the internet to show they understand computers and that.
P: Partner with – How about ‘join’? Join is a nice clear word. It also feels nice in your mouth when you say it. Have a go. You might enjoy it.
Q: Oh, thank Christ, a break from this horror.
R: Radar – Used by people stuck in an office who failed to get an exciting job that actually uses radar, like fighter pilot.
S: Stakeholder – I blame Blair for this with his ‘stakeholder society’ crap. I think this was shorthand for selling more council houses.
T: Transitioning – This means making people redundant in possibly the ugliest way known to humans.
Usability: A discipline that should help make websites easier to use. Actually a discipline that uses jargon like ‘satisficing’, ‘heuristic’ and ‘ribcaging’. See Smashing magazine for more if you can stand it.
V: Value add – Horrid and reminds me of VAT. Never a good thing to remind me of.
W: Workstack – what’s this? A 21st century Woolsack? Or just a moronic way to say ‘work’?
X, Y, Z: (I love you, you difficult, end-of-alphabet letters with no office jargon attached to you.)
I also love Steve Jenner of the Plain English Campaign.
He says wise things like this: ‘Some people think that it is easy to bluff their way through by using long, impressive-sounding words and phrases, even if they don’t know what they mean.’
And if all this jargon gets too much for you, try Mindfulness Meditation before you start crying.
If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my post about why Failure is often better than success. Or just have a browse around – there should be something that makes you a bit happier.
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