Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Obsession with Buzz Words

Welcome to the 1st edition of my new blog. It will hopefully make some of you laugh and also give you an outlet to vent, if necessary. Anyway, here goes...

I work in the profession of accounting (tax/audit, whatever). And let me just say, before I get too far along, that I have worked and do work with many, many great people. Super-intelligent, funny, great at their jobs, and not-to-mention good-looking. I definitely think of these people as colleagues and friends.

They will read this and just laugh because they know what I am saying is true. The one thing about these people is they know that it’s lame and they are happy to laugh about it and make fun of the lame things they encounter.

Having just attended a week long seminar, I’ve had about a year’s worth of lameness to witness. The positive thing that comes out of such an experience is a lot to write about. One of these lame things is buzz words.

Buzz words. Anyone in that has ever worked in the Corporate World knows exactly what I’m talking about. Those annoying little words and phrases that you hear over and over in the form of metaphors, analogies, and the like.

Why, why, why on earth do people in the corporate world use buzz words? Because they heard someone else say it? Because they actually think that it makes it easier to understand something? How about because someone is JUST PLAIN LAME. There are so many lame people in the corporate world. Not lame in the sense that they aren’t good people but perhaps that they are just boring people. The way they dress is lame, the food they like is lame, and definitely the way they talk is lame.

Here are a few examples of buzz words that drive me up the wall:

· Best practices – refers to common methods used in one’s industry or practice that has proven to be affective for one person but usually results in a complete debacle for everyone else

· Hot topics – subjects of interest affecting one’s industry or business. Typically hot topics become something that everyone tires of hearing about and phase out of being a hot topic to “this shit again?”

· Head’s up – involves someone notifying you in advance of something that they are going to tell you about in the future. Typical response to a head’s up might be: “Thanks for warning me that I’m going to have to talk to your lame-ass again”.

· Any football metaphor (e.g. blocking and tackling, quarterbacking, kick-off) – the usage of football metaphors are immensely popular among sports-loving men. However, women who love football have been known to use them as well. All sports, all the time happens to be tremendously lame. Sorry, guys.

· Credit crunch or credit crisis – this is an example of implementing current events to buzz words. This is mostly the fault of producers in the lame business media (CNBC, Fox Business News)

· Quick question – When someone has a question for you that, on the surface is simple and will be “quick” to give the answer to. For example, a truly quick question may be “what day is it?” I can quickly respond, “Friday”. A “quick question” in world of accounting and auditing may be: “are you familiar with Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement 157 and its potential impact on the valuation of hard-to-value investments held by investment companies?” This is neither a quick question nor a quick answer. Hence, what the hell is quick about it?

· What’s on your plate? – A disgusting way of asking someone how much work they have to do. Typically gets asked late in the evening when a manager needs something done that he/she doesn’t want to do themselves and asks someone who already has enough work to last until the end of the year.

· Pretty straight forward - A phrase utilized to wrap up an explanation that is anything but "pretty straight forward". This phrase, in fact, means that whatever was explained to you is actually, completely bassfuckingackwards.

· Circle back - refers to someone going to check on something that they don't know the answer to and communicating back to you once they do know the answer. Usually when you hear this, no one plans on getting back to you at all.

· What if what you said/wrote was on the front page of the Wall St. Journal? - This is a hypothetical scenario that management thinks you should consider before forwarding an email, picking up a DOJ authorized tapped phone, or hitting on a hot co-worker.

Now if after reading these, you find yourself thinking, “these seem to be effective ways of communicating to a large group or to anyone in general”, please stop reading my blog.

This is by no means an exclusive list. Please feel free to comment with some of your more annoying examples. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

  1. Another buzz phrase is "best practices." I hear this all the time now in my new role. However, what everyone refuses to realize is that something that works well in NYC will not work well in Toledo, Ohio (and vice versa).