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Words You Should Never Use at the Office Unless You Have To

By Marlys Harris | Aug 28, 2009 |

This article is from Money Watch.  You can click on the above or below link to read the full article.  Marlys Harris, “The Consumer Reporter”, has been covering personal finance at least since “the time of the Pharaohs”, first in 12 years at Money and then as finance editor at Consumer Reports. She has written and edited stories on just about everything having to do with money, from workers comp to marrying for money. Enjoy!

Once upon a time and about two jobs ago, one of my colleagues who was so officious that she carried around three clipboards to make sure that she was getting on everybody’s nerves, constantly used the expression “going forward.” She usually said it after you made a minor mistake that she deemed outrageous, like filling out a purchase order incorrectly or routing a file to the wrong person. At the end of a long chastising lecture, she would announce, “Going forward, you should blah blah, blah.” For some reason, it grated. “Why can’t she say ‘in future?’” I used to grumble.

Such office jargon is pretty annoying, and it’s an assault on the ears even to hear it. Some frustrated employees have taken to playing “Buzzword Bingo,” during meetings, using cards with expressions like “outside the box” or “on the same page.” Fortunately, such jargon goes out of style pretty quickly. I haven’t heard “going forward” in years. On the flip side, old expressions are almost immediately replaced by new, even more irritating ones.

Fortunately for all cubicle rats, staffing firm Accountemps periodically surveys executives to find out what they deem the most annoying and overused office clichés. Here are this year’s latest results and my own cynical translations and usages:

• Leverage. Deployment of an insufficient amount of something to do that which was previously done with much more. Example: “After the layoffs, we can leverage our staff of three to cover the entire Eastern seaboard.”

Reach out. Deliver the bad news. Example: “Reach out to the customers with a letter announcing that their interest rate just doubled.”

It is what it is. Get used to it. Example: “Your administrative assistant doesn’t know how to answer the phone. It is what it is.”

Viral. So prevalent that you want to barf when you hear about it. Example: “Twitter has gone viral.”

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