Friday, February 25, 2011

Work Speech

One of the benefits of being employed is that you never run out of pithy expressions to share with family and loved ones.  This is secondary to the financial security of a steady paycheck but in the grand scheme of things how does mere money compare to the amount of humor can be delivered with the following business phrases?  If you have used any of these in public I forgive you, but please know that everyone else you work with HATES you. 

“At the end of the day…”  (This phrase must be interjected sporadically a minimum of 34 times during the average 60-minute conference call or any PowerPoint™ presentation)

“We must change our paradigms to fit our evolving business model” (A variation of the classic,

“Our business model is changing to meet the needs of a changing business model”)…”   

“Remember, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’” (But there is an ‘eam’ as in ‘scream’ which is what you’ll do if you spend too much time with THIS guy) 

“You can’t spell ‘team’ without ‘m-e’”  (Same guy, different day) 

“’Team’ to a dyslexic spells ‘M-e-a-t’”  (Same guy after a single beer – I don’t want to be around for the three-beer version of this conversation) 

“We celebrate the diversity of our workforce -- unfortunately, we’re laying off all of you 45 year-old heterosexual white guys.”  (Okay, I made this up, but you know a VP said this to another manager somewhere) 

“No, you don’t have to sell a lot – provided, of course, that you don’t want to eat a lot.”  (This manager missed most of the required Dale Carnegie classes.) 

“I managed Tom out of the role.” (Translation:  “I fired Tom.”) 

“Tom’s position was ‘surplused’.”  (Translation:  “I fired Tom but blamed it on upper management’s fiscal irresponsibility.”) 

“Tom’s position, while vital, was deemed to be ‘at risk’.”  (Translation:  “I’m mere minutes away from firing Tom”) 

“Consistent performance in the customer-centric model necessitated a change in the team’s employment paradigm.”  (Translation:  “I fired Tom.”) 

Corporate e-mail announcement to all employees:  “Please be sure to review the attached ‘Employee Handbook’ for new sections added under ‘Sexual Harassment in the Workplace’ and ‘Proper Use of company-provided Computer Resources.’”  (Translation:  “I’m getting ready to fire Tom and the rest of you perverts.”) 

“We are pleased to announce that Tom is going to be heading up our new ‘Scientific Customer Account Management’; or ‘SCAM’ division, with dotted line responsibility to Fred and Marjory and with direct report responsibility to John.  (Translation:  Tom caught Fred and Kathy making out at work.) 

“Tom has been selected to lead our ‘Customer First’ program.  In such context he will provide the management team with periodic reporting of the overall customer-branded experience and will be self-managing in this area of responsibility.”  (Translation:  “Tom caught Fred and Kathy naked at work and has photos.”) 

“Consider this a ‘learning experience’.”  (Translation:  Good Lord you have screwed up like no one else in the history of the planet.  You’ll see this again in your performance review right next to the “Reason for Termination” section.) 

“We have adopted a new sliding-scale compensation plan which takes into consideration customer satisfaction, billing accuracy, and shareholder value.”  (Translation:  You’re making a lot less this year than last year because you’re being paid based on other people’s performance – and they’re union and we can’t fire THEM.) 

“Management has decided to rescind the recently announced Fast Fiscal Finish Incentive program due to reporting irregularities from the Sales Team.”  (Translation:  We don’t know how you knew that were going to have a sales contest.  And we don’t know how you sold so much.  But what we do know is that you guys must have cheated because we didn’t put enough in the bonus pool to pay you based upon your sales results.  None of you gets the bonus this year, but I’m getting a Lexus.)   

I have collected of the above expressions at actual jobs that I’ve had over the years.  I take great pride in the fact that I’ve made a conscious effort to purge them from any real-life conversations with customers or co-workers.  With effort, and years of expensive de-programming therapy, you too can purge these expressions from your everyday life.  With patience and practice you’ll be able to have a conversation with another human being without falling back to ‘corporate-speak’.  By effectively managing the change of your speech paradigm, at the end of the day you’ll, you’ll, you’ll…..   

Oh, rats, never mind.      

For more Work Verbiage you LOVE to HATE:  50 Office-Speak Phrases

Have a nice weekend folks!

But wait, there's MORE!!! 

Office Speak BINGO!

Print out and take to YOUR next business meeting!  Circle phrases until you get BINGO! 
Then, of course, you get FIRED...  But hey, you're a WINNER - right!?!?!?
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