A Field Guide To Workplace Terminology – Part III

2016-01-06 21.13.36

The start of a new year seems as good a place as any to publish this, the third part of the lexicon of corporate bullshittery. You can read Parts I & II here and here.

Accountability – What dimwit recruiters in the Financial Services sector go looking for.

Action – Doing things for someone whose ego is bigger than their testicles.

Agility – Getting out of the office un-noticed at 3:30pm on a Friday.

Align – The thing that gets drawn under HR efforts to get all cosy and strategic with “the business”.

Amplify – Shouting down efforts to discuss gender pay equality at the AGM.

Augmented reality – Steve from the Sales team has been inflating the pipeline again.

Authenticity – When the boss finally gets round to having that open and honest chat with Bob from Accounts.

Autonomy – The half hour enjoyed by the rest of the department when the manager slips away early on a Friday afternoon.

Bae – Your rather shifty BFF who works in the defence, security and aerospace industry.

Blended learning – Googling the answers to your company’s e-learning questionnaire whilst completing it.

BYOD – An unofficially sanctioned initiative to avoid employing an IT helpdesk.

Co-creation – An offer to put in all of the effort for none of the credit.

Collaboration – Delegation, but with nicer biscuits.

Community – Enough people to get a really good group rant going about the place you work at.

Competitive advantage – A permanent formatting feature of any pitch document.

Content – Something comforting to read beside the pool whilst happily on holiday with your bonus.

Curation – A very small trumpet, earnestly blown.

Disruption – A tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Ecosystem – The cultured slime that grows in the petri dish of workplaces.

Elevator pitch – The heightened tone of voice adopted by someone asking for a raise.

Empowerment – The feeling you get when you finally find somewhere to recharge your various devices whilst enjoying a bout of flexible working.

Equality – The standard of WiFi connectivity you get in your workplace versus that which you were led to expect.

Ethics – A county to the east of London.

Fail forward – AKA Passing the buck

Game changers – The workplace equivalent of your stroppy teenage daughter sweeping the Monopoly set off the dining room table in a fit of pique because she came second in a beauty contest after drawing a card from the Community Chest.

Gamification – The inter-office Fantasy Football League.

Happiness – What wellbeing consultants have in lieu of mortgage payments.

Helicopter view – Staying well out of the way as a project fails in spectacular fashion.

Human-centred – A confection commonly filled by breaking butterflies on wheels.

Impactful – Facepalming done by employees when they discover what the latest workplace change programme is supposed to achieve.

Innovation – Spending all that time you saved going #noemail managing all those productivity apps you’ve downloaded.

Internet of things – How the CEO views your company’s internal social network.

Interoperability – The futile hope that, just for once, you can have a project on which HR and IT don’t end up actively working against each other.

-ize – As in “Uberize”. The uncontrollable desire of the marketing department to jump on any passing bandwagon.

Ladder up – On being promoted, to pull the ladder up after you so nobody else can share in the glory.

Leverage – What Roy from IT has over you after he stumbled on those candid photos of your girlfriend on your laptop.

Machine learning – The relentlessness of the corporate L&D function.

Mastery – The art of being just good enough to keep getting away with it.

Millenials – To recruitment consultants, everybody (i.e. they think we were all born yesterday).

Mindfulness – What we can all now say we are practising when someone catches us staring wistfully out of the window on a dreary, damp Thursday afternoon.

Mobility – Moving desks to avoid the office bore.

Neuroscience – Giving an air of respectability to crackpot theories about what motivates us at work.

On my radar – “…so I can avoid it.”

Peel the onion – Sobbing quietly to yourself after finding you’ve been passed over for promotion.

Ping me – Your boss asks you to warm up his leftover curry in the communal microwave.

Pivot – A corporate u-turn (e.g. now we want you all to come back and work in the office because it’ll improve collaboration and innovation).

Purpose – The steely glint in Dan Pink’s eye as he bounds on stage to tell us the surprising truth about what motivates us.

Rocket science – The fireworks that ensue if any really does challenge the status quo.

Scalability – Corporate ladder-climbing.

SEO – Pay-per-view relevance irrespective of usefulness.

Serendipity – What Gavin from Facilities is hoping he’ll get with Stacey from Sales Support when he spends every afternoon hovering by the water cooler.

Sharing economy – Team pizzas instead of team pay rises.

Sustainability – How much longer you can stand to work for people who don’t value your contribution.

Synergy – The energy expended lying to your spouse about why you’re late back from work. Again.

Tipping point – When your spouse finds out why you’re really late back from work. Again.

Transparency – The apparent consistency of those at the top of public bodies at a time of regional crisis.

Trust – What they give you right before telling you something that compromises your ethics.

Un- – A prefix used to put a cigarette paper between what you’re doing and the flabby, out-of-date, irrelevant thing you did yesterday.

Unicorns – Mythed opportunities.

Values – Bulk purchased laminate wall decals.


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