Disenfranchisement | Starah

Or why does corporate wanker speak suck? | see also; why is corporate jargon lame?

So we have a new, temporary line manager where I work, and other than being obnoxiously annoying by saying they are a ‘leader’, and not a ‘manager’, and constantly posting they’re food pictures in the group chat, and laughing at other team members publicly when they make a mistake, trying too hard to copy the natural leader by being funny, but no one’s laughing, not really knowing processes, and generally saying too many words more than necessary, like the team members don’t know anything, this person uses over-the-top corporate wank-speak to make themselves appear superior.

But what is corporate wank speak or corporate jargon, and why does it suck?

Wikipedia (For lack of any other verifiable source.) defines corporate jargon as, “…jargon is typically derogatory, implying the use of long, complicated, or obscure words, abbreviations, euphemisms, and acronyms.”

A term I found rather perplexing before entering the corporate mine-field, “I just wanted to touch base with you,” or ‘touch base.” Like, eww, can you not touch my base, thanks. Other than feeling like my physical rights have been violated (Use of the word, ‘touch.’), and ‘base’ (The base of my physical centre…what?”), it makes no logical sense to use either of those words together in a business setting.

There are a number of articles online that suggest avoid using jargon such as this, so I won’t ‘list’ it here, so I don’t assimilate myself with a lack of journalistic integrity. However, I will mention two that this temporary person used, that makes me want to vomit all over my corporate computer I use at home.

“Unpack” – after unceremoniously being threatened with loss of job if I didn’t mask (Autistic survival method of fitting into the neurotypical world.) up and push on. This is not the space to ‘unpack’ my feelings about the issue that occurred here. This isn’t therapy, this person has no qualifications in any psychological background, I have seen right through them, and I do not trust them, especially with how I handled a situation.

Previous to the situation, they wanted to ‘workshop’ it. Ummm, oh ok, how about no. What in the ever living heck in this world would a tenured staff member need to ‘workshop’ anything? The term ‘workshop’ for a non-corporate related matter suggests trying to commercialize activities that does not have any direct benefit to those involved. This created a sense of cynicism and skepticism when observing that person’s behaviour that they are more concerned with advancing themselves rather than portraying support, like they state they do. Not even the senior manager, or executive uses that language with any of the other staff within the business.

So, how is corporate jargon harmful?

While this style of language may be intended to ‘soften the blow’ it can also create a sense of distrust among employees who may feel that the company is not being honest. Again, as someone on the spectrum, I find people that can’t use the correct words, to be immature, or lack strength and honesty.

Corporate phrasing can also create unrealistic expectations or projections that are not grounded in reality. This can occur when companies use buzzwords or jargon to describe their products or services in a way that makes them seem more innovative or revolutionary than they actually are.

So stop doing it. Please, if you are in a corporate atmosphere. Please stop using unnecessary jargon.

But what are your thoughts on corporate jargon? Do you love it or hate it?


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