Saturday, March 27, 2010

Go Wash Your Mouth

There are some things I miss about working in an office environment now that I'm working from home. Mostly, I miss having work friends. There's a certain comfort in poking your head over a cube and seeing a friendly face, a friendly face you can talk to and who really understands your working girl world. Sigh.

But, one thing I definitely do not miss is "office speak." Before I left my job, a term that I had been hearing way too much of was "low-hanging fruit." And no, I'm not talking about old granny bosoms :) Low-hanging fruit seemed to be the best way for our execs to express how easy something should be to do or obtain. For example, "We haven't saturated the market yet, there is still a lot of low-hanging fruit out there," or "To interest a retail reporter about our nationwide retail store expansion, it's like picking the low-hanging fruit."

So what you're saying is ... it's really that easy, huh? Just like picking that low-hanging fruit ... yes, OK, I'm imagining myself right now in a grove of lemon trees and surrounding me are these lemons within an arm's reach. I get it! It sounds so simple. Piece of cake. And then, wait a second here, I don't think I'm liking this new feeling of a lot of pressure.

Another phrase I can't stand is, "Bubble up," as in, "Why don't you send me an email with your thoughts, and I'll be sure to bubble it up to management." Woa! That's an amazing visual, like, my thoughts and breakthrough ideas all captured in beautiful rainbow-colored soap bubbles and eventually they'll float their little way on up to get paid attention to by big important people ... what a nice concept. And sounds very likely, too.

Probably my least favorite office phrase in the whole wide world is "buckets." Oh my gosh, the first time I heard the term "buckets" used in an office setting was during a job interview years ago when the HR lady kept referring to the job description as a bunch of buckets! Such as, there was an infrastructure bucket, an executive visibility bucket and a shared services bucket. Here I was, a nervous little girl and so uncomfortable and twitchy from wearing a suit that made me feel way too masculine, and trying very hard to to follow what this crazy lady was saying.

OK, so there's all these buckets (here I was talking things quickly through my head while the HR lady kept going) ... and I'm assuming these buckets are all a different color and made of bright shiny plastic, like the kind you take to the beach, right? Wait, what? They're all part of a larger bucket? That doesn't make any sense. How many buckets are there? What am I supposed to do with these buckets? I'll be part of a bucket? Part of more than one bucket? Is that possible? Do we all stand in giant buckets or something and type away on our laptops and then jump from bucket to bucket?! AHH! It wasn't until after the interview that I figured out buckets was just a fancy - and not to mention the most incredibly ridiculous word EVER - for "team." Unbelievable.

What is your least favorite "office speak" phrase or term?


eemusings said...

"Let's tee something up". Or, "let's lock that in." (It's not bloody Who Wants To Be a Millionaire..)

Or, "Let's have a conversation about this."

tris1978ton said...

My ex boss used to say "Let's have a chat". That normally means something bad, otherwise he needn't chat at all.

Becky said...

That's really funny because I've never heard any of those phrases! I work with a lot of active military personnel and the two phrases that drive me crazy are, "let's find the disconnect" (like there was a miscommunication between two people - that would be a DISCONNECTION not a disconnect!), and "he's all spun up," meaning someone is irritated/upset about something. That one doesn't even make sense and it makes me want to scream!

Kelly Jo said...

Ewwwww....I hate those too!!
Here are a few more that make me want to urp....

"At the end of the day"

"engaging customers"

"high level"

"put a stake in the sand"

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Don't these people feel like idiots when they hear themselves spewing out these terms?

Jessie said...

evangelism or evangelist. stupidest. word. ever!!

Freck said...

"Let's think outside the box"

It's got to be one of the worst office phrases.

Second least favorite, "we need to look at this with a fresh set of eyes here"

Makes me cringe just thinking about it.

Chelsea said...

March 8th's Dilbert was my job to a T.

Everything has to be a catch-phrase. Everything is profound philosophy from this year's "hot" business book. (My ex-company's favorite was QBQ: The Question Behind the Question or, IMHO, It's Your Fault, Fix It)

Corporate Chickee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corporate Chickee said...

Ooh, I'm familiar with "low hanging fruit". In my past fundraising career we were told to "go after the low hanging fruit first." ugh... Other favorites:

"let's circle the wagons.."

"Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water"

"it is what it is"

And finally.... "Quite frankly..." This last one was used by SO many managers that our team developed a little game. At staff meetings whenever someone would say "quite frankly" we'd all lift up or pop cans/water bottles/coffee cups in a mock mini-toast and drink. By the end of each session there was usually a mad dash to the restrooms. :)

Lost said...

"low-hanging fruit" is one I can't stand. The one I hate is when anyone uses the word STRATEGY in any format and you know they have NO idea what it really means or how to develop one...

Other annoying overused ones in my current job:

"breakdown the silos"

"cirle back"

"we need to diversify"


Brittney said...

I cannot stand


all i can ever think of is someone taking a dump in my hand. hands down worst saying.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Kelly Jo, thanks. "At the end of the day" is my least favorite. It's like saying, "Ummm....."

Also, "Low hanging fruit" has an interesting story. It's actually not the fruit any farmer would pick first. hehe

Domesticated-Bliss said...

It is what it is.

Man that is the worst phrase ever because 9 times out of 10 it's true :(

Katie said...

The big one going around the office right now is "sanity check." It basically just means double check, which in my opinion is not the same as a sanity check (a sanity check is what I need after a day in the office) and it would make much more sense just to say "double check," but what do I know? I'm just a lowly underling.

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo late in commenting on this one, but I just read it. There are so many at my office that I CANNOT STAND anymore.

"We're about to ramp up on this project." (Puke face)

"Use it judiciously" (dry heave)

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