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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Business jargon bleeds over to the real world

A lot has changed since I graduated over a year ago. I’ve been at three different companies, two as an intern, and my first full-time job since leaving school. I could produce quite a list of all the things that have transpired over the year, but I’ll save that for another post. This post has more to do with one observation I’ve made since joining the workforce.

Most, if not all, of my friends who graduated in May of 2009 now have full-time jobs. The positions span a wide variety of industries, sectors and departments, but one common denominator holds true: they’re all entry-level. Being entry-level has many implications, not the least of them being what this post is about: we’ve all acquired and adopted a new language.
The day-to-day business jargon that can get border-line ridiculous is now bleeding over into our every-day lives. Here’s what I mean:

Was: “I’ll send him another e-mail to ask him again.”
Now is: “I’ll shoot him a note to follow-up/circle-back/touch-base/tie-off.”

Was: “What do you mean, dude?”
Now is: “Can you add some color to that?” or “Can you provide some context for clarification?”

Was: “We just don’t see eye-to-eye.”Now is: “We’re not in sync/on the same page/singing the same tune.”

Was: “Peace out.”
Now is: “Kind regards.”

The list goes on.

I’ve noticed that business-related terminology like ‘efficiency’ and ‘productivity’ are now in more of our day-to-day conversations. I catch myself adding “-ize” to the end of words, creating terms that don’t actually exist. Operationalize is not English. All this 3-syllable diction is now permanently embedded in our vocabulary: effective, productive, efficient, proficient, transparent, concurrent, in tangent, blah-blah-blah, blee-blee-blee, bloo-bloo-bloo

Before you know it I’ll be ‘having a 1-on-1’ with a friend at happy hour in order to ‘touch base’ on an ‘action item’ that needs ‘following-up’ in ‘order to ensure alignment.’ AKA: Meeting a buddy for a drink to talk about that thing.

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