Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Magical Land of Business Speak

If you've been at home with your kids for a few years and you're thinking of returning to work, the workplace may seem like a magical place where you get to talk to adults all day about adult things. But  the corporate world really has become the 'Magical Land of Business.'

The Magical Land of Business has seceded from the real world and has now developed its own unique language.  Everybody speaks this strange new dialect fluently. You will find yourself quite befuddled by it if you've been at home with toddlers who say, "I'm hungry," when they are hungry, "I'm bored," when they are bored or "in triangles," when they want their sandwich cut into triangles.

In the Magical Land of Business, people engage in a lot of double-speak, no one really says what they mean and there's alot of 'pea under the cup' stuff going on (as opposed to the relatively simple conundrum of 'pea up the nose.')

So for those of you who are making the transition from straight-talking toddlers to double-talking executives, I have provided translations for the top 10 business phrases to help you ease back into the workforce:

1. “Loop me in”
Translation: “I am too lazy to keep up with this myself so can you spoon-feed me by telling me everything I need to know in concise digestible form.”

2. “Low hanging fruit”
The easy stuff that requires no effort to achieve but has not been done because everyone is too busy on Facebook.

3. “Think outside the box”
If you are asked by someone to "think outside the box," that person is really saying: 
 “Think of something that I haven’t yet thought of because I am too important to think.”

4. “Let’s shop that out”
Unbeknownst to me (until recently) this does not mean, "go to Target and indulge in some retail therapy after you've finished work." 
When a superior or colleague says, "let's shop that out," what they are really saying is: 
 “I have no idea how to think for myself and would like other people’s opinions to inform me as to what I should be thinking about this.” 

5. “Action items”
A phrase designed to make mundane office tasks sound like impressive pectoral-pumping activities similar to those undertaken by Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

6. “I want you to give 110%”
Translation: “I want you to do your job and a little bit of my job as well.”

7. “Give me the net-net”
Translation: “Your extraneous facts are boring me senseless please get to the point before I faint from lack of circulation.”
(Interesting factoid: in Police Speak this translates as: “Just the facts, ma’am.”)

8. “Screw the pooch”
To “screw the pooch” means to cause a monumental stuff-up.  If you are told: “don’t screw the pooch,” it means you are dangerously close to being fired and you should log onto asap or consider having that third child.

9. “What would that look like?” 
You will hear this a lot.  It does not mean start painting a vivid word picture and embellish it creatively.  If someone says this to you, what they are really saying is: 
"I don't understand what you are talking about, but am too embarrassed to say, 'I don't understand what you are talking about.'" 
(Just say it again, as if you are talking to your two-year old.)

10. “Socialise internally”
To move from desk to desk talking to your co-workers about irrelevant stuff.  If you herald it like this:  “I’m just going to socialise internally on that.” It will appear that you are actually doing something important, when really you are just gossiping.

Just one more tip, I know it's difficult to resist, but when you return to the workplace you'll find yourself fitting in much better if you don't:

 • confiscate sharp objects from your colleagues 
 • say, "do you want a smack?" when someone is frustrating you

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