"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
 
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Feature Corporate buzzword dictionary, vol. 3
Continuing to decipher the corporate lexicon.
March 19, 2005
Corporate buzzwords are the terms and phrases tossed about by executives and managers to make themselves appear important, or to cover up incompetence.  Lame.  This brand of office-speak makes me insane.  So annoying.  This dictionary is Volume #3 of your guide for seeing through the smokescreen and understanding what your boss is really trying to say.

Agenda, hidden
Example:  "Don't come to me with any hidden agendas!"
Intended to mean:  Be straightforward and honest.
What it really means:  "Don't keep anything from me, I need to steal all the ideas I can get my hands on!"

All-hands meeting
Example:  "The company is having an all-hands meeting Tuesday at 3:00 pm!"
Intended to mean:  The meeting is mandatory for everyone.
What it really means:  "The company is announcing layoffs Tuesday at 3:00 pm!"

Apples and oranges
Example:  "You are comparing apples to oranges."
Intended to mean:  Those things are so different that your analogy doesn't hold water.
What it really means:  "It hurts my pea brain to think abstractly about things that are dissimilar in any way whatsoever."

Bar, raise the
Example:  "We are raising the bar with our new widget!"
Intended to mean:  Setting a new standard of the highest quality.
What it really means:  "The new widget is totally average, so we need to use a fancy-pants phrase to make it sound insanely great!"

Buy-in
Example:  "We need to get buy-in from the marketing department."
Intended to mean:  Getting approval.
What it really means:  "When this thing blows up in my face I'm taking everyone down with me!"

Day, at the end of the
Example:  "Look guys, at the end of the day it's all about profit."
Intended to mean:  The bottom line.
What it really means:  "Because I am superior to you, I will speak to you as if you are two year-olds who can't comprehend anything on their own."

Dog and pony show
Example:  "We're taking our dog and pony show to our prospective client's headquarters."
Intended to mean:  A sales or marketing presentation.
What it really means:  "I enjoy belittling what you do by giving it a stupid name, dismissing it as insignificant."

Extra mile
Example:  "We need to go the extra mile this month!"
Intended to mean:  Put in extra effort to make sure things get done.
What it really means:  "You slackers never do any fucking work!"

Fast track
Example:  "Let's put that on the fast track!"
Intended to mean:  Place at the top of the priorities list.
What it really means:  "I have no intention of getting that done any sooner, but I know how to sound like I do!"

Future-proof
Example:  "We need to future-proof all our widgets!"
Intended to mean:  Cover all contingencies.
What it really means:  "I want you to be able to predict the future of the market and have a product ready for it, because I'm a moron!"

Hands, holding
Example:  "Are we all holding hands on this?"
Intended to mean:  Are we all in agreement?
What it really means:  "You just signed yourself up to manage blame central station."

Hardball, play
Example:  "Looks like these guys want to play hardball!"
Intended to mean:  They are tough negotiators.
What it really means:  "I think I'm badass, so I'll build these guys up and if I stomp them it will make me look all the more badass, but if they stomp me I have a prefabricated alibi!"

Heavy lifting
Example:  "I'll do the heavy lifting on this."
Intended to mean:  I'll handle the most difficult tasks.
What it really means:  "I'll take all the credit."

Make it happen
Example:  "We need that new widget in three days, make it happen!"
Intended to mean:  This is critically important, get it done no matter what.
What it really means:  "My idea of motivating you is to bully you with catch phrases."

Radar, blip on the
Example:  "I appreciate your input, but that's barely a blip on the radar."
Intended to mean:  It's not important.
What it really means:  "You and your ideas are insignificant to me, the all-powerful corporate overlord!"

Regroup
Example:  "We need to regroup."
Intended to mean:  We need to rethink our strategy.
What it really means:  "I need some time to figure out who to blame."

Speed, up to
Example:  "You need to get up to speed on this system."
Intended to mean:  Learn everything you can.
What it really means:  "Your current knowledge is woefully inadequate."

Table, bring to the
Example:  "For tomorrow's meeting, bring something to the table."
Intended to mean:  Present your best ideas.
What it really means:  "I think you're grossly under qualified."

Touch base
Example:  "After the kickoff, let's touch base."
Intended to mean:  Let's report on current statuses.
What it really means:  "I like to micro manage, I'll be on you like crunchy skin on fried chicken."

Train wreck
Example:  "Our new widget is a train wreck!"
Intended to mean:  Everything went horribly wrong.
What it really means:  "Our new widget is a fireball and smoke cloud which captured the lives of 200 innocent passengers."

Value-add
Example:  "I keep the budget balanced and schedule on time, that's my value-add."
Intended to mean:  That's what I "bring to the table".
What it really means:  "I'm afraid I offer no useful services, so I'll point out to everyone when I think I might be helping."

 

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