I recently applied for a job and to my great surprise I was invited for interview.
I say this, not because I have the slightest doubt that I will be the best person for the job, but because I have been horizon scanning my potentialities as a symposium of one for a number of years (… err, that means self-employed, folks).
Also, I am no spring chicken; I have been out of the workplace environment with no apparent strategic staircase for a number of years, and despite ticking all of the boxes, there is undoubtedly a 20 year-old who could of done it better while updating her status on Twitbook and painting her nails.
Notice anything wrong with the above paragraphs?
Yup. Two things. Despite what all young people with a grade A**** in English seem to believe, ‘could of’ is not — and never will be — grammatically correct English.
And there’s just a hint of jargon, or what is referred to as ‘management speak’. Which is English… Jim… but not as we know it.
Now, while a friend in senior management assures me that there’s a shift away from this coterminous, stakeholder engagement gobbledegook, I overheard part of his conference call on the beach the other day and I didn’t understand a single word of it.
And so, just in case my (hopefully) new employer still buys into the potentialities of jargon, I thought I’d better do some horizon scanning to bring myself up to speed. If, for no better reason, than to endorse my own ‘can do’ culture.
Management speak, of course, is simply a language that nobody can understand. It’s a bit like Klingon; it has absolutely no function as a medium of communication, but people (like me) feel obliged to learn it. And what’s even worse, when the opportunity arises — such as conferences and conventions — they feel the urge to perpetuate it with utterly unfathomable Powerpoint presentations.
So here are a few things you may find helpful if you want to show your potential new line manager that you’re 500% on board. (It may be worth remembering that Gordon Brown’s problems really began when he admitted that he was only 101% behind Call Me Tony).
There are no such things as problems any more; these are now challenges.
And there is no such thing as brainstorming either. No sirree; that smacks of epilepsy and suggests meltdown, so instead it’s referred to as ‘idea showers’.
And while no one in
the workplace wants to appear negative, it’s important to point out that ‘you can’t turn a tanker round with a speedboat change’. Yes… that’s a tanker. It’s a bit similar to Scotty yelling: ‘I canne change the laws of physics!’
‘I’ve got you on my radar’ means ‘you’re of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever’. And ‘low hanging fruit’ is shorthand for ‘a quick win’. Although, oddly enough, ‘a quick win’ appears, to me at least, to be shorter.
Of course we have the old faithfuls like ‘blue-sky thinking, which will mean very little to those living in the UK, and ‘helicopter view’ which will mean very little to anyone other than Sarah Ferguson.
Then there’s ‘close of play.’ It’s not play; it’s work. Grow up.
But my favourite — beating meaningless phrases such as ‘bandwidth, ‘cascading’ and ‘granularity’ — is the phrase voted in a recent BBC poll as the nation’s most hated: ‘going forward’.
I think that’s enough forward-planning; I now feel adequately pre-prepared for my interview.
Go forward and multiply.