Friday, June 20, 2008


As part of her practice of the fine arts of procrastination (and very productive and useful procrastination, I might say), Kirsty at Galaxy has linked to this great collection of corporate jargon and cant on the BBC website – 'Fifty office-speak phrases you love to hate'. I love it.

My favourite ones to hate are real viruses in Australia – 'going forward' (number 20) and 'at the end of the day' (number 30). Both make my skin crawl, and the later makes me wonder if they really mean at sunset. (As in, when the sun goes down, I will turn into a word-wolf and tear out the throats out of language zombies.)

But I shuddered at another one that's new to me: number 39, 'cascading'; or for the tautologically compulsive, number 40, 'cascading down'. What?

It supposedly means "to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards". For me, it's the beer under that brand name, and the stuff that comes out the other side an hour later.

I'm looking forward to playing my first game of meeting jargon bingo next week, though my colleagues don't tend to use such crap jargon – the benefits, I guess, of working outside the corporate sector.

'Go forward' and poke fun at the pinstripe suits.

Labels: , , ,


At June 20, 2008 3:44 pm, Blogger Kirsty said...

I've responded to your comment over at Galaxy, but meanwhile, if you really want to be tagged... You're it!

Can I specify that the book come from your bedside table rather than your work desk? Just so you know, you gave me that idea : )

At June 22, 2008 11:58 am, Blogger Ariel said...

'incentivise' and 'actioning' ... arrgh!

At July 01, 2008 2:57 pm, Blogger unique_stephen said...

In my last job (top tier law firm), I had two staff members sing out "bingo" in a meeting I had called to talk about market forces and why we needed to change our approach bla bla blah.

I turned bright red. Composed myself then handed the white board marker to Mr smart arse number 1. He stood up, did an OK to good job without using management speak.

After that I agonised over everything I said. In defense of management speak - like any jargon - it can simplify large concepts into a short phrase which makes communication easier. Think of the term "Junk Bonds" for example. Rather than describe them as "a bond that is rated below investment grade at the time of purchase", simultaniously implying that "These bonds have a higher risk of default or other adverse credit events, but typically pay higher yields than better quality bonds in order to make them attractive to investors." (apologies to Wikipedia from whom I just stole the definition). You could just say "Junk Bonds" and everybody knows what your talking about. The problem is when people don't know what your talking about or when the jargon is just silly or used in an elitist way. And what the hell, its fun to take the piss out of your manager any way.

At July 01, 2008 9:25 pm, Blogger phil said...

As a suit-wearer (well a little less so now) I've heard most of these and used a few of them over the years. I recall a meeting in about 1999 when young Treasury bloke used "going forward" at least 4 times. More recently, a Treasury mate told me that whenever he saw "leverage" in a submission from a line agency about why they needed more money ("we'll leverage additional funds from x, y and z") he consigned it immediately to the bin.

I loved a few of these but missed one that I (regrettably) used to say: "that's in the mix."

At July 09, 2008 2:06 pm, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

I guess as the users we are also victims of this language that we perpetrate on others.

I want a little action figurine with a karate chop hand actions and the sound effects 'Kapow!' – I would make the action and sound whenever i heard some weasel words I wanted to crush!

The closest thing I've come across is a Shrek figure from one of the fast-food outlets that said "I'm an ogre!" and uttered various 'Shrek' obscenities when you pressed a button. The batteries died from too much use.

At July 09, 2008 2:27 pm, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

Oh, and Barista has another bunch of goodies.

At July 10, 2008 4:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At July 11, 2008 6:40 pm, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

Are you a betting person? What's the betting that comment spammers who abuse the hospitality of my blog to sell their crap will have their comments DELETED?!

I say it is a sure thing. Go away.


Post a Comment

<< Home