Sunday, May 1, 2011

10 Phrases In The Corporate World That Are Stupid and Pointless

1. “That’s a great coaching opportunity.”

Official Gloss: Thank you for this chance to make my employees even better than they already are.

Reality: I completely despise you for pointing out, in front of critical people that can affect my career, that one of my employees has done something so incredibly insipid that it directly reflects on my management skills. I will now plot a painful retaliation against you with every breath that I take. You suck.

2. “Work smarter and faster.”

Official Gloss: When times get tough and budgets get tight, if we all just band together and hold hands, the work will magically get done.

Reality: Us bigwigs have to make things look good on paper so the stockholders are happy and people continue to buy the product that we can’t possibly get to them on time. This means that you, the peon employee, must do the work of 7 people with no overtime pay. You’re screwed.

3. “Think of the customer.”

Official Gloss: Do the right thing to ensure the happiness of our customers.

Reality: If we would only do the right thing to begin with, we wouldn’t be having this emergency meeting where the Director of Escalations is pulling a power play cloaked in a fake show of concern for the customer. And we wouldn’t need a Director of Escalations. The mere fact such a position even exists belies the fact that something is rotten in Denmark.

4. “Circle the wagons / Circle back.”

Official Gloss: Let’s all pull together and work out the issues.

Reality: We don’t have any idea how to fix this crap that‘s been going on for a while, so we’re going to have a big-ass meeting and invite everybody we can think of and hope that somebody has a clue what we need to do.

5. “My door is always open.”

Official Gloss: Even though I am a god-like executive, you can just wander in my office anytime you’d like and we’ll chit-chat.

Reality: You will be shot on sight if you come anywhere near me. Assuming that you can even swim to the yacht where my “office” is located.

6. “Service Level Agreement.”

Official Gloss: A handy, mutually-agreed-upon document describing how two intra-company organizations can help one another succeed.

Reality: One of the “partners” in this relationship has the political upper-hand, and is thereby demanding that the other partner sign off on completely unrealistic commitment times that cannot possibly be met without a total restructuring of the entire planet. The lesser partner is now the greater partner’s “bitch”. Suffering ensues.

7. “Diversity.”

Official Gloss: We’re going to have special classes and webinars and “cultural” events to show that we love everybody. We’re even going to have a Director of Diversity, because when you name a director, well then, doesn’t that solve the problem?

Reality: The special classes consist of brief online tidbits wherein people act out skits showing scripted respect and adoration for co-workers that they normally wouldn’t have anything to do with. The webinars are run by managers who can’t even properly say “Iraq” or “gender identity”. And the cultural events consist of an “international cuisine” day where the office cafeteria celebrates our neighbor Mexico by offering nachos at a special serving station where somebody has plopped a dusty sombrero as decoration.

8. “Piggyback on an idea.”

Official Gloss: I’m going to totally champion your concept by adding a few supportive comments.

Reality: I don’t like your idea at all, because it means that I actually have to do some work, but I’m going to act like it’s the greatest idea ever and hopefully gain all the credit because I was the last one to speak and that’s what people will remember.

9. “We’re a green company.”

Official Gloss: We love the planet!

Reality: But only on the one day when we are sponsoring the “Recycle Toner Cartridges!” campaign. The other 364 days we don’t care what the hell you do, just don’t impact the departmental budget in a negative way. And quit bitching about having seen the cleaning staff throw the paper products into the regular garbage despite the fact that you have a special trashcan (that we made you pay for) just for recyclable items. That hypocritical activity is considered proprietary information and cannot be shared with the public.

10. “I see what you’re saying.”

Official Gloss: I respect your valid and reasonable position on the matter.

Reality: But you are completely wrong. My idea is way better. And because I’m the Director of Diversity and currently riding the wave of buzzy catch-phrases, I am going to demand a Service Level Agreement from your organization wherein you can never again dispute any of my commands. Circle the wagons, coach your players, work smarter and faster until you have a mental breakdown, and never, ever knock on my door. This is America, and you’re completely on your own unless the newest catch-phrase happens to be “Support the actual working class of this country.” Good luck with that.

To Be Continued…

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