Jargon, jargon everywhere
By +Dax Radder
Every office has one, two, three and some even four or more…
Those people who cannot complete even one sentence without using some aimless and banal business jargon.
Some dictionaries define the word jargon as “the language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group: medical jargon.” Although, I rather disagree with that particular definition being in the number one slot.
I much rather prefer “language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning” or “unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.”
Top ten most ridiculous office jargon phrases by Opinium Research:
- Thinking outside the box (21%) (come up with new ideas)
- Let’s touch base (20%) (meet up with someone)
- Blue sky thinking (19%) (any ideas are okay)
- Blamestorming (16%) (sitting down and working out whose fault something is)
- Drill down to a more granular level (15%) (Look into something in more detail)
- Let’s not throw pies in the dark (15%) (we need a plan rather than a haphazard approach)
- I’ve got that on my radar (13%) (I’m aware of that)
- Push the envelope (12%) (Get the most out of something)
- Bring you’re A-game (11%) (Be ready to do something to best of ability)
- Get all your ducks in a row (11%) (Get everything prepared)
Okay, how many of those phrases have you heard? I haven’t been working in an office environment for many years now, but I do remember the countless voice mails, memos, emails and office meetings that were riddled with precisely those most ridiculous phrases.
Each time someone uttered them, it just threw a wrench into their whole conversation, because as soon as I heard one of those phrases, I would silently mutter to myself, “Help me,” and most, if not all, of my cognitive functions would cease. It would take a herculean effort on my part to stifle my chuckles and try not to daydream of sitting on a deserted Pacific island sipping a mai-tai and twirling the little paper umbrella between my fingers.
Jargon isn’t a funny word.
Pronounce it slow, then fast and with different stresses…jar-gon, JAR-gon, jar-GON, JAR-GON. No matter how I pronounce it, the word jargon always makes my mouth seem as though it is filled with marbles. It’s an irritating word.
Much like the phrases that make up jargon are irritating. How many times did you hear “let’s touch base” and want to strangle the person who invented it. Did you think, as did I, that “push the envelope” jumped the shark after “The Right Stuff” was made into a movie? By the way, that movie was made 28 years ago! “Drill down to a more granular level” is just so horrendous that there is no need for an explanation that it’s irritating. I’m surprised it only got 15% of the votes.
What is funny?
If I was Director of the Office of Official Words and Phrases for the Whole Wide World and had to select a much more appropriate and funnier word than “jargon.” I believe I would pick “Mumbo Jumbo.”
As opposed to jargon, mumbo jumbo is funny and it rolls off your lips funny too, because when you say it, it’s like you’re toothless and just gumming the word. The definition of mumbo jumbo is priceless, too: “senseless or pretentious language, usually designed to obscure an issue, confuse a listener, or the like.”
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