IT Employment

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.

About

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.

17 comments
Trilln451
Trilln451

I've always like responding to obviously bad scenarios with "Another Opportunity to Exceed Expectations".

mkp67
mkp67

Yes - I exaggerate. But I prefer Brittany Spaniels to Scottish Deerhounds. And why do Elevators go up? The pitch may be the swaying of the lift (British English - obsure to many, but not Canadians) as the car plunges to the Ground Floor (Yes - Past 1) The Buzzword is supposed to communicate a complex idea more quickly and effectively to a time-poor audience . But this only works if we are all tuned into the same lingo/jargon. And this is a rather big IF. After all, we are time poor. The metaphors (apologies for not using an analogy - or buzzword) used to create buzzwords are by their very nature SIMPLE. Meaning MAY be in the word or phrase - but does it have linguistic value? (GASP - apologies for trying to convey a complex idea WITHOUT BUZZWORDS) Since buzzwords attempt to be analogies (one meaning in langauge ) but are really metaphors (Like a dog - Deerhound, Pomeranian, or German Shepard) Your rather simple minded boss may look far more clever than he really is because his abilty to learn is based solely on his ability to mimic the phrases of higher mamagement. More often Buzzwords are Newspeak that is used to limit employee's ability to effectively analyse management decisions. All to often during my career I have asked for clarification of a requirement for a business process or software feature only to be met with a combination of buzzwords that pass as a Q & A session for my supervisor, who feels good he has managed the project well. Employee feedback is well received, and the output (sic, but more with a k) is improved. Of course if you are more interested in a mutual display of buzzword mastery, even if it is completely out of context to the point of being absurd, than this work discussion may be is a very satisfying encounter. But be warned. Deliver a buzzword endorsed process or application and your customers will be critical of you because the product many not be up to the expected standard.. Try plain English (not that this exists in business or IT but try) and you may be better at at doing your job.

GSG
GSG

If we don't use the traditional words, then I have to reengineer my buzzword bingo cards. I guess that I'll have to shift my paradigm and think outside the box as I optimize the team synergy and collaborate on an innovative solution. Or, we could go back to skittle hockey, or paper footballs.

grayknight
grayknight

These are hilarious. Replacing buzz words with these will be more fun than buzz word bingo.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I hear any of these at our next employee meeting, I'll beat you with an assortment of style guides and thesauri.

barrynovak5
barrynovak5

Whenever companies organize events for the sole purpose of forcing their employees to network, I like to call it 'corporate-sponsored fun' events. I'd like to think we all know how to network on our own and don't need to be cattle-prodded into doing it, but maybe I'm wrong.

markp24
markp24

I can just see everyone at the conf table looking at me like WTF?

Slayer_
Slayer_

The Fred and Gingerness of our Scottish Deerhouse has thrown a calamari in the works and we now need to lapbanding the workforce so we can cauterize the wound for future unrelenting torment. It sort of works....

Ubercuda
Ubercuda

I only hear crickets so far!

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

I'll dive out the nearest window if I hear one of them being used.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"I'd like to think we all know how to network on our own and don't need to be cattle-prodded into doing it, but maybe I'm wrong." I have no idea how to network on my own. However, you're right in that company picnics and Christmas parties (Gods, is its that time again?) in and of themselves will make me any better at it. I just hang out with the same people I see during lunch or in the hallways. These events aren't going to aid me with comfortably approaching relative strangers or those outside my normal work interactions.

v r
v r

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? (grins)

Slayer_
Slayer_

The other meaning is I bent over, farted, and left behind a scorched "Truffle" :D

GSG
GSG

Sorry, my allergies are so bad (they really are), that I can't go to the picnic if you want me to be able to work that week. Of course, if you're willing to take the workers comp claim, I'll be glad to come. Oh, the Christmas party is at XYZ? Do they allow smoking? They do? Sorry, I can't come. I just can't tolerate the smoke or the live greenery.

markp24
markp24

I can just see everyone at the conf table looking at me like WTF? .