Wednesday, 13 July 2005

From "Office Speak"

By D. W. Martin.

Passive Voice [...] Thus, no one can take the blame for "doing" something, since nothing, gramatically speaking, has been done by anybody [...] Circular Reasoning [...] It's a wonderful way to give a seemingly substantial answer so as to appear in control of the situation [...] Rhetorical Questions [...] there's a split second when you think you have a say in the matter, when you believe your opinion counts [...] Hollow Statements [...] make it seem as though something positive is happening (such as better profits or increased market share), but they lack any proof to support the claim [...] On my first kayak trip down the Amazon River I trapped a chameleon and even named him "Hollow Statementsw" out of deference to the aforementioned technique [...] I Think, I Guess [...] It is always best to leave yourself wiggle room [...] They and Them [...] "They" are faceless and often nameless. And their decisions render those beneath them impotent to change anything. "They" fire people, "they" freeze wages [...] "They" and "them" have more in common with the tooth fairy and "student athletes" than any CEO or chariman of the board. "They" don't exist [...] Obfuscation [...] They hope to obscure the truth and camouflage their own lack of knowledge about the issue at hand [...] They will resort to one of the above techniques to make it seem as though they are addressing your issue, when in reality they are either sidestepping it or giving you the runarond. (Remember those last two phrases -- you'll be using them a lot when complaining to your colleagues).

Sunday, 15 May 2005

From "Office Speak"

By D. W. Martin.

Flaubert wrote that somewhere in the moldy remains of a notary's heart lies a poet. The same could be said for the modern businessman, except we would have to change "notary" to "modern businessman" and "poet" to "jock" [...]

"Great job, Kate, you knocked it through the wicket."

Figure Skating
"I just read your report, Brad. You landed a triple salchow with this one, congratulations. I always knew you had it in you."

Competitive Hot Dog Eating
"Squeeze the air out of the bun, then dip it in water, then break the hot dog into pieces and alternately eat the hot dog and bun, that's how you're going to meet your deadline."

In the Trenches: War and Officespeak

For some people, sports aren't enough. These people crave the confrontational, the aggressive, the violent. They scorn today's youth as being a bunch of hippie-dippie louts who could use a shave and a haircut. They walk around the office with corncob pipes wedged between their teeth, service revolvers hanging at their sides. When you go into their offices, you notice tapestry-size maps of the company's floor plan tacked up to the walls. Red and green arrows swarm around the blueprint and tiny army men and tanks seem to have set up camp right outside your cubicle. These people dreamed as children of riding with Genghis Khan, raping and pillaging across Central Asia. These are the warmongers in your office, and their language reflects this passion. Sure, they might be terrifying and irrational, but when the walls are crumbling about you, there's no one you'd rather have lead the charge to profitability [...]

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

From "The Smart Money is on the Tortoise"

By Miles Kington.

The Cuckoo

One spring day a cuckoo, who had recently arrived from overseas, landed on a nest where a bird had just laid some eggs.

"I know you!" said the bird. "You were here last year! You pushed all my eggs of the nest and filled it with your own, leaving me to bring them up! I don't want that to happen again!"

"Nor will it," said the cuckoo. "This year I have a totally different business plan."

"Oh?" said the bird. "What is it?"

"This year I intend to put in position a young birds' empowerment scheme. The successful candidates will be given every opportunity to acquire skills and multi-task. The project will be survival-driven. In order to facilitate this, you will be given overall charge of the delivery of the results."

"Well, I suppose that sounds all right . . ." said the bird.

So the cuckoo pushed all her eggs out of the nest and filled it up with her own, and left the bird to bring them up.

Moral: When someone starts talking management talk, run for your life.