Feb 25, 2010
This week I'm trapped in (aka a random Hampton Inn meeting room in Arlington, TX) for 3 mandatory days of employee meetings. Prior to this recession-ridden year, the whole company has gone on a company-sponsored vacay to Hawaii to bond and hold these events. Due to the economy, we're just taking care of business here in South Arlington. This location feels like a hot air balloon (see above).

We are here to review the last year's projects, brush up on policies/procedures/skills and discuss a lot of little company things. Of the 50 employees at my company, around 15 of them live out of town and I had never met before. This was the most exciting part because what I had imagined in my mind for these people was mostly wrong. I got over that excitement real quick.

Today I want to discuss one thing that has really grated my cheese for some time now. I am irritated by business people talking in metaphors and using dumb figures of speech sprinkled into bland topics like rhetorical potpourri. It causes me to understand what's going on less and zone out more. I like my job and the people at it, so this is really more about all businessy people. Here are a couple of doozies from the day:

  • Using the term "out of the box" has become so cliche that it really is like the most "in the box" thing you can say. Drives me so stinking crazy. I work at a creative company and they routinely tout our team as "out of the box thinkers," which I guess works on dowdy businessmen, but as the creative thinker myself, makes me want to jump off a cliff.
  • I'm so over the economic doomsday situation. Not going to Hawaii is not even the big thing for me. It's using the bad economy as a catchhall for all things sucky. The recession is so 2000 and late.
  • "We should have a better plan as we gain more intelligence about the project." What is this, the Pentagon? Why not just say, "I'm waiting for an email with more details"? This is communications consulting, not modern warfare.
  • "This synergy is really giving us a boost in energy as we are conquering the task." Using "synergy" and "energy" in a single sentence has almost no value to me, not to mention the embarrassment that such a non-effective piece of information poured from the lips of someone at a communications company. That was the moment that caused me to really power down for the day.
  • We got a run-down on sales strategy and news. In reference to re-tooling the company approach in this new digital world we live in, it was said we might need to "build a better mousetrap." Huh? I honestly don't know what that means. So weird. What's the cheese in the trap? Who's the mouse? Why are we trapping them? Is a "trap" really the right way to go about it?
  • We also had a discussion about keeping our client list confidential and someone chimed in: "let's not let anyone know what's going on underneath the covers." This is wrought with sexual innuendo, so obviously my mind went wild with whatever could possibly be going on underneath any covers anywhere. Maybe I'm the pervert, but this is exactly the kind of business metaphor speak that is totally inappropriate and makes me crazy. The room kind went quiet as we all imagined what we've done beneath the covers. Weird.

All of these things basically just slow us down. Or at least they slow me down. Corporate talk like this causes my synapses to immediately start firing slower. Its like by brain is wearing a backpack full of bricks and climbing stairs...and only has one leg.


  1. In the words of Jack Donaghy, "First of all, never bad mouth synergy." But great post! One of my faves - reminded me of the glamour mag one.

  2. I hate work metaphors...my boss always tells me its "time to take of the training wheels"...when I personally already feel that I'm on an effing unicycle.


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