Urban Dictionary: Workplace Edition

We love hearing new office lingo and office buzzwords.  Every company seems to have it’s own set of office language and, as annoying as we think those terms are, they seep into our brain like a song we can’t get out of our head. The moment you find yourself using them without thinking twice you know you have officially “drank the koolaid” as they say.  While, out of context, workplace jargon may sound like an SNL skit, knowing your workplace vernacular can be an important part of understanding your company’s culture.  The problem with office lingo is when it becomes so overused that the jargon lacks action or meaning.

Here are some of our favorites!  Tell us yours!

There there:
In a sentence: “What’s the there there?”
Translation: What’s the point? What’s the goal?  Although, everyone seems to have a hard time defining this one or knowing where it even came from.  For more answers, Google “there there and Gertrude Stein.”

Pressure Test:
“We can pressure test that idea in our next leadership meeting.”
Translation: Let’s see if this is really a good idea or not.

“Write up a strawman for us to discuss so we have something to react to.”
Translation: You do the work first and then I’ll tell you what I think.

White paper:
“Give me a white paper on that.”
Translation: I’m going to see how serious you are about your idea by telling you to put it on paper.

Put a pin in it:
“Let’s put a pin in that and come back to it.”
Translation:  I don’t feel like talking about that right now.

“Can we take a minute to unpack that idea further?”
Translation: Pump the brakes buddy, we need to talk about that more.

“Let’s take this conversation offline.”
Translation: I don’t want witnesses to our either extremely granular and boring or super controversial side bar commentary.

“I”m concerned about the bandwidth of my team with all of the upcoming additions to our calendar.”
Translation:  We’re overworked, probably underpaid, and we need more staff.

“I’ll ping the sales team for the numbers they promised us.”
Translation: Get in touch, reach out.

Circle the Wagons:
“Let’s circle the wagons to make sure we’re all on the same page for tonight’s program.”
Translation: Huddle up.

Boil the Ocean:
“We’re not trying to boil the ocean here.”
Translation:  We’re not trying to do the impossible. Alternately, it can mean wasting time.

Parking Lot:
“Let’s put that idea in the parking lot for right now.”
Translation: See “put a pin in it”

Swim Lane:
“Data analytics isn’t in my swim lane.”
Translation:  Not my problem, not my area.

Water Through the Pipes:
“Let’s put some water through the pipes on this and see what people think.”
Translation: Where are the leaks/issues? See “pressure test.”

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