Tech & Work

Stupid alternatives to hackneyed buzzwords

For those devotees of the buzzword who wish only to replace the old ones with new ones, here are my suggestions.

Oh, but you people crack me up! When I posted a short piece listing CareerBuilder's list of most despised buzzwords, you guys responded in a big way. It appears it's almost unanimous — we hate buzzwords.

One TR member emailed me saying, "If I hear 'price point' one more time, call SWAT, because I'm taking hostages." Another told me she was sitting in her cubicle crying from laughing so hard at the comments following the piece.

Other people emailed me, however, complaining that if those buzzwords are bad, then I should have recommended some better ones. That's when I responded with another blog, called An alternative to corporate buzzwords, in which I explained the alternative is to stop using buzzwords and buzz phrases altogether. Why would I want to contribute to a culture of recycling the same words?

Still some folks weren't satisfied and, defending the ease and clarity of buzzwords, suggested I come up with other metaphors. So here are some old buzzwords and my unsuitable new replacements. I hope that their sheer atrociousness will keep them from catching on.

  • Scope management—-Neutering the dog
  • Downsizing—-Lapbanding the workforce
  • Synergy—-Fred and Gingerness
  • Hit a snag—-Throw a calamari in the works
  • Screw the pooch (make a mistake)—-Scorch the truffle
  • Best of breed—-Scottish Deerhound
  • Incentivize—-bribe
  • Bringing something "to the table"—-Hauling out the good china
  • Elevator pitch—-Upward banality
  • Value-add——Fries with that order
  • Take stock—-Cauterize the wound
  • Executive decision—-Heimlich maneuver
  • Challenges—-unrelenting torment

Now, come on, you guys, let's hear some more from you.


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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