Opening the Kimono on Work Jargon

When I wrote the corporate-slacking masterpiece back in April titled “How to avoid working while giving off the impression that you’re working,” I made reference to “generic work speak” and even referenced one of my favorite corporate expressions.  Here’s what I said: “…bonus points for using ‘it is what it is.’  People will get off to you saying this.  Business people like this phrase more than they like sex.  The same goes for ‘at the end of the day.'”

What I should have done was write a separate blog post dedicated to all of these ridiculous work expressions.  Lord knows there are hundreds of them, not just the two I mentioned in my post.

Well it looks like someone did my work for me as Forbes published this article on their website way back in January: Jargon Madness.  Of course they went with the ultra-annoying angle of putting all of these funny phrases into a “March Madness-like bracket” for people to vote on.  That’s one of my least favorite trends going right now…March Madness bracket of the 64 hottest women on the planet!  March Madness bracket of the 64 best Will Smith movies of all time!  March Madness bracket of your favorite March Madnesses of all time!  Make sure you vote!

Anyway, I think Forbes did a decent job with the 32 expressions they selected, though I’ve never heard someone use “Tiger Team or “Swim Lane.”  I think Forbes made those up.

And how do they leave “At the end of the day” off this list?  Am I just crazy and people don’t say this all the time?  If you haven’t heard it, “at the end of the day” is the long-winded, douchey way of saying “ultimately.”  As in, “At the end of the day, I think this is a deal that works out for both parties.”  It’s supposed to make you sound slick I guess?  My hope is that any business person who reads this starts laughing at himself the next time he’s on the phone with a client and catches himself using it.

Some of my other favorites from the Forbes list:

-Hard Stop: As in, “I have a hard stop at 4PM so we gotta be done by then.”  Does anyone ever have a soft stop?  Just say, “I have to be done by [insert time].”

-Price Point: As in, “Our price point for that service is $500 per hour.”  Just say “price.”

-Lots of Moving Parts = It’s complicated.

-Bleeding Edge: Apparently it’s not good enough anymore to be on the “leading edge” of what you’re selling.  Someone invented a phrase to describe how you can be leading that leading edge…bleeding edge.

-Open the Kimono: As in, “On this call we’re gonna open the kimono so you can see what’s really going on.”  It sounds so dirty, and you could just tell the person you’re going to reveal all of the information they need to make their decision.  Opening the kimono makes me think I’m about to see a Japanese person’s genitals.

Final thought: How did “It is what it is” not advance to the finals and win the championship?  “Leverage” was a better choice?  Why does the general public screw up every important vote?  Oh well.  Like they say…it is what it is.