Jargon…it sucks

Trying to get ahead but finding yourself time-poor? Then perhaps you are spending too much time with modern jargon!

Every new generation of kids and teenagers comes up with words and phrases that are new and confuse older generations, however it is now the adults that are coming up with new stuff. The trouble is that this new jargon often doesn’t make sense, even though it infiltrates modern language. I have two examples that I want to rant about, because they are really nothing more than excuses for begin miserable and trying to paint oneself as a martyr.

Time-Poor

What does time-poor mean? Has there ever been a more annoying phrase? How has anybody got any less time in the day than anyone else? Don’t we all have the same number of minutes and hours in each day?

Yes, as you may have gathered, this is a phrase that really strikes me as inane. If there is not enough time in the day it probably means that you are trying to do too much. Most of us have a lot of choice about how much we try to fit in. So, if you are finding that there are not enough hours in the day, perhaps you need to slow down a little bit and take some time to smell the roses.

At the end of the day it’s your choice how much you take on, irrespective of whether you feel you have to or not. Learn to say no, or at least put aside time for yourself (and don’t compromise on this one!). There will always be jobs that appear to be, or at least we perceive to be, urgent and it is so easy to get caught up in the rush to achieve for achievements sake rather than for any worthwhile outcome.

Perhaps we need to slow down and accept that there are things we have to let go of. Everything is not urgent, no matter what we may think. Opportunities come and go, but the chances are that more opportunities will come along. We don’t have to fight every battle that comes our way either, the confidence to let an issue go frees up time we can use for our own enjoyment. We can be selective. Put simply, if you find you are struggling to fit everything into your day, don’t try to do so much!

And above all, don’t use the phrase time-poor, it sounds like the workaholics justification for not allowing time for themselves to enjoy life.

Getting Ahead

Getting ahead of what? Exactly how will anyone know when they are ‘ahead’? Who will they be ahead of, and how? I hear this phrase so often and I still wonder what, or who, the users of this phrase are competing with.

The question arises – if you are ahead of someone, on your self-generated scale, surely there are probably people you are ‘behind’. And if you are ‘behind’ people, can you possibly say that you are ‘ahead’? It makes my head hurt.

By all means set goals which you want to achieve, but to use the term getting ahead is tantamount to saying that you are somehow not up to scratch and struggling to keep up. It is a way of reinforcing that you are somehow inferior to others and cannot be good for self-esteem. Is that any sort of way to live a life? I expect a lot people trying to get ahead also use the term time-poor.

Negative Growth

Sorry, this is just drivel. What is negative growth? Growth is an expansion of a substance of a network or some other ‘thing’. It cannot be negative. The phrase is contradictory. What people who use this word mean to say is something like, shrinkage, or contraction, and they usually mean this in relation to a business or the economy.

So when treasury or a business executive say this annoying phrase, they are doing everything they can not to mention other words, but this is pointless. Everyone knows what they mean if they utter this phrase – we’re going backwards.

This is symptomatic of our fear of a bad result, our fear of failure, of admitting that we might not have succeeded. It’s pathetic really. And it’s also very bad English, irritatingly bad English. So economists, executives and bureaucrats, please stop using this phrase.

So, my advice?

Chill out, relax, enjoy your life, and most of all, and avoid meaningless jargon!

Brighten up your day at work

5 Ways to Brighten a Dull Day at Work

Life in the public service, or any other job for that matter, can have its boring moments when nothing appears to be happening. In times like these you will need to have some ways to brighten up your day, or at least give your work life some meaning.

Cultivate a Grudge

All good bureaucrats need to have cultivated at least one grudge during their time in the civil service. A grudge will give you a hobby that you can enjoy whenever you like. It will usually make someone’s life difficult, though preferably without them being aware that it is you that is causing them problems. If you find yourself the subject of what seems to be a lot of bad luck, few opportunities, or even just more boring and soulless work than usual, you are probably the subject of a grudge.

A good grudge can be cultivated where you feel someone of less merit was awarded a promotion, or perhaps where someone has made a decision that has given you more work to do, or even where someone just seems ripe to be the subject of a grudge.

It really does not matter who you choose, so long as you work to make their life difficult and have fun in the process.

The more senior you are in government, the more grudges you will be able to accumulate, and the more entertainment you can devise to make your days go by more rapidly. In fact, by the time you are a Director, you should have at least five well-cultivated grudges that colour your every decision.

Invent Some Jargon

The nature of jargon means that at any one time there is new jargon being invented by some boffin or career bureaucrat somewhere in the world. It would be a shame if you missed out on this. So, a way to pass some time is to invent your own phrases. The minimum you should aim for is a three-phase high-impact neologism. Once you have become comfortable with this you can progress on to four and five-phase jargon. Anything more than a five-phase fustian phraseology will lose its impact on the reader. The ultimate accolade for inventors of jargon is to see their own phrase included in a government document. This shows that your invention is gaining ground and that some poor soul has convinced themselves that they know what it means. This is extraordinary, as you know it was just meaningless crap. Some examples of meaningless drivel are included below.

• Collaborative database nodes
• Enhanced empirical capability
• Interactive operational paradigm
• Relevant talent dimension
• Functional competency matrix
• Replicable human capital synergies
• High-resolution talent protocols
• Emergent executive mission statement
• Corporate risk management feedback-loops
• Multi-phase expanded organisational continuum

Invent Jargon with Acronyms

To take your jargon to the next level, you need to disguise it in an acronym. This adds an extra layer of confusion to the term and sends people scurrying for a dictionary or searching the Internet for an explanation of the term. The more amusing your acronym, the better. Five examples are included below.
• Joint Australian Regional Government Organisational Network (JARGON)

• Notional Organisational Benchmark (NOB)
• Transitory Work Allocation Timetable (TWAT)
• Comprehensive Risk Assessment Protocol (CRAP)
• Global Undirected Feedback Framework (GUFF)

Write a letter to the Minister that you know will come to you to answer

Here’s one for those in government. No matter what area you work in, there will be times when you will have your own views on a particular matter that you are dealing with on behalf of the government. At these times, you can write a letter to the Minister (under a pseudonym of course) and wait for it to work its way through the system and onto your desk (members of the public are often unaware that letters to the Minister go to a civil servant to draft the response that the Minister then signs). You can then spend your time composing a well thought out institutional response to your question. If you write enough of these letters you will also be able to keep track of how well the bureaucracy is working by comparing the time it takes to get a response back to you through the system.

Start a Rumour

Many an enjoyable day has been spent watching the result of a well-prepared rumour. The government rumour mill will spread the word as quick as greased lightning. For example, a well-placed whisper that a major restructure is in the wind after a visit by an unknown ‘suit’ will take off like wildfire. To start the rumour you should make the suggestion to a colleague that you have heard the man is a Human Resources consultant with a reputation for ‘streamlining’ departments. Never directly suggest that you think a review is in the wind; just give enough information to set off the minds of the impressionable into a stream of consciousness that will head in the direction of a dark and scary tunnel. The impressionable person, probably a drama queen or a very bitter and cynical employee, will hit the ground running. Before you know it someone will be saying to you – ‘Did you know that a departmental review is happening?’ and you can truthfully say – ‘Really? I hadn’t heard that before. Who told you?’

Jargon – Get Over It!

I first wrote this some time ago on another blog because over-use of jargon makes me grumpy. It still shits me!

Jargon – get over it!

Trying to get ahead but finding yourself time-poor? Then perhaps you are spending too much time with modern jargon!

 Every new generation of kids and teenagers comes up with words and phrases that are new and confuse older generations, however it is now the adults that are coming up with new stuff. The trouble is that this new jargon often doesn’t make sense, even though it infiltrates modern language. I have a few examples that I want to rant about, because they are really nothing more than excuses for begin miserable and trying to paint oneself as a martyr.

 Time-Poor

 What does time-poor mean? Has there ever been a more annoying phrase? How has anybody got any less time in the day than anyone else? Don’t we all have the same number of minutes and hours in each day?

 Yes, as you may have gathered, this is a phrase that really strikes me as inane. If there is not enough time in the day it probably means that you are trying to do too much. Most of us have a lot of choice about how much we try to fit in. So, if you are finding that there are not enough hours in the day, perhaps you need to slow down a little bit and take some time to smell the roses.

 At the end of the day it’s your choice how much you take on, irrespective of whether you feel you have to or not. Learn to say no, or at least put aside time for yourself (and don’t compromise on this one!). There will always be jobs that appear to be, or at least we perceive to be, urgent and it is so easy to get caught up in the rush to achieve for achievements sake rather than for any worthwhile outcome.

 Perhaps we need to slow down and accept that there are things we have to let go of. Everything is not urgent, no matter what we may think. Opportunities come and go, but the chances are that more opportunities will come along. We don’t have to fight every battle that comes our way either, the confidence to let an issue go frees up time we can use for our own enjoyment. We can be selective. Put simply, if you find you are struggling to fit everything into your day, don’t try to do so much!

 And above all, don’t use the phrase time-poor, it sounds like the workaholics justification for not allowing time for themselves to enjoy life.

 Getting Ahead

 Getting ahead of what? Exactly how will anyone know when they are ‘ahead’? Who will they be ahead of, and how? I hear this phrase so often and I still wonder what, or who, the users of this phrase are competing with.

 The question arises – if you are ahead of someone, on your self-generated scale, surely there are probably people you are ‘behind’. And if you are ‘behind’ people, can you possibly say that you are ‘ahead’? It makes my head hurt.

 By all means set goals which you want to achieve, but to use the term getting ahead is tantamount to saying that you are somehow not up to scratch and struggling to keep up. It is a way of reinforcing that you are somehow inferior to others and it cannot be good for your self-esteem. Is that any sort of way to live a life? I expect a lot people trying to get ahead also use the term time-poor.

 Negative Growth

 Sorry, this is just drivel. What is negative growth? Growth is an expansion of a substance of a network or some other ‘thing’. It cannot be negative. The phrase is contradictory. What people who use this word mean to say is something like, shrinkage, or contraction, and they usually mean this in relation to a business or the economy.

 So when treasury or a business executive say this annoying phrase, they are doing everything they can not to mention other words, but this is pointless. Everyone knows what they mean if they utter this phrase – we’re going backwards.

 This is symptomatic of our fear of a bad result, our fear of failure, of admitting that we might not have succeeded. It’s pathetic really. And it’s also very bad English, irritatingly bad English. So economists, executives and bureaucrats, please stop using this phrase.

A Critical Case

A Critical Case

 

Doctor Tony Carter watched as the stretcher crashed through the doors to the Emergency Room. Trailing behind, half running, half sobbing was a young woman. Carter looked down at the patient. ‘How bad is he?’

‘Bad. Really bad. It looks like he might go critical!’

‘Where was he found?’

‘He was just comatose in the street.’

Carter nodded, ‘Ok then. I’ll take it from here. Just move him into Room 7 please.’

‘Can I come in?’ The young woman tugged at Carter’s arm, her voice breaking.

‘Not yet. I’ll need some time alone with him…er…you’re husband?’

‘Yes. Joel. Joel Barham. I’m Cath…oh tell me he’ll be ok…please!’

‘I really can’t say at the moment. I’ll let you know once I’ve had a look at him.’ He watched her crumple onto a bench as he hurried after his patient. Damn! He hated leaving people hanging.

 

Joel Barham sat up as Carter entered the room. ‘I have a vision…and a mission…and I’m committed to value-adding.’

Carter ignored him and sat down to commence his work. He spent a little bit of time jotting a few notes on a pad before he turned to his patient.

‘I believe your name is Joel Barham. Is that correct?’

‘I’ve met my KPIs this month, and that means our deliverables are going to match our targets.’

‘Yes I’m sure they will, but can you…’

‘Moving forward I think we should challenge our ingrained paradigms and possibly rewrite our Mission Statement. What do you think?’

‘Try to concentrate Joel. I just want you to answer my questions. I want to make sure that you’re OK.’

‘I’m fine doc. It’s just a misunderstanding. I have to get back to finish my quarterly reporting and reinvigorate my flexible resource units. We need a rapid prototype strategic plan to avoid the possibility of negative growth, and to also undertake some corporate capacity building in order to provide synergistic programmatic specificities.’ Joel looked at Carter with a sparkle in his eyes. This was fun. Lots of fun.

Carter had a sinking feeling. He’d seen all this before. ‘Ok then let’s see if you can still logically reason. Are you able to do that?’

Poly-dimensional functional competency matrix!’

‘Yes. Well I think I have my answer. Next question. Do you have any difficulty in reading plain English?’

‘Outcomes, outcomes, outcomes.’

‘I think we’ll call that a ‘yes’. Don’t you?’

‘Unintended quantum leakage!’

Carter sighed and bowed his head. ‘There’s no point in taking this interview further. I think I’ve heard enough. You just sit there and relax and I’ll go and a talk with your wife.’

‘Systematic rationalisation of the operational paradigms.’

‘Quite so.’

 

 

Carter sat down with Cath Barham and looked into her pleading eyes. She was desperate for good news, but he had none to give. He really did hate this part of the job.

‘What’s wrong with him? Is it bad?’

‘I’m afraid your husband is suffering from an acute case of compulsive jargon. I’ve seen a lot of this in recent months. It’s a condition that can strike at any time. There isn’t much you can do about it.’

Tears welled up in Cath’s eyes. ‘Is it really that serious? He’s only thirty-two…is there any hope of recovery?’

‘Not really. He’s destined for a career in middle management, or if his symptoms get worse, which they might, he will become a management consultant.’

Cath Barham began crying uncontrollably. At that moment her husband was wheeled past. ‘Oh Joel,’ was all she could say between her heaving sobs.

‘‘Enhanced synergistic benchmarking!’  he replied.

 

 

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