corporations as a foreign language…

by santoki

From a corporate America perspective, I have been a bit out of the loopy. Not that it is that difficult to jump right into, but I will admit as readily as the next gal. I am a bit behind on the jargon. Take comfort, dear hearts. I was not completely lost. There will always be the gems that won’t die, no matter how much they should.

“Out of the box” is one. I think that Miss Boom Boom said it best: “If you actually use the term ‘out of the box,’ it could actually be considered ironic.” For those of you still inside the box, that means that the tired phrase is so overused, it is the box. In any case, paper cut to the eye. Fortunately, I have only heard that wretched phrase once since I started at the new gig. Unfortunately, I have only been there since Monday, but hey.

Some of the jargon comes right back, no matter how hard I tried to avoid this distress. The one phrase that sets me on nails is “speak to that.” You know how it works: “There is no milk left in this container. I am not sure who left it in the fridge, but I am sure that Mr. Generic can speak to that.” Speak to that. Is that even correct English? Every time I hear that phrase, I keep thinking, I am not sure why he will speak to that. A milk carton won’t answer back. Speak to that. No. I don’t think it will ever sound right. Chime in Al?

Not saying that I am an expert, or even an enthusiastic amateur on the language we call English. I will say this. Corporate America has a language all its own. It reminds me of when I see little kids dress up in their mothers’s clothes. They will start with the dress, then the shoes, then put on as much of mom’s jewelry as their tiny arms can handle. Then the hat. Always the hat.

postit.jpgIt seems that the machine is like that with language. I can just hear the collective wheels spinning: Here is an obscure word. We should try to use it as much as possible. People will think we are wicked smart. While I am sure that there is an honest way to say what we are trying to say, let’s try it this way. Let’s novate. Much better. That is fun to say! What a fait accompli! Even Todd says so, and verbiage is of Todd’s core competencies. I am sure that it won’t negatively impact our bottom line. In any case, let’s brain dump on this. I will get back to you by end of day. I will have to speak with control to make sure that it is within the appropriate processes, but either way, I will better speak to that by our 3:30 call. If I can’t find you, I will just leave a sticky.

Welcome back, me.