When you’re a corporate shill, your duties may include finding new ways to sell the same old thing and making it sound new and improved. From time to time, you may be forced to think up new ways to use old words to do this. You may then promote the use of these words until everyone has adopted them and then find new ones to push.

For the record, I am not a shill nor a lackey and this leaves me squarely in the centre of things.

A few years ago, the word in the halls here was pushback. Say it with me boys and girls – pushback.

Our company was going through some changes and pushback entered the local lexicon through a particularly impassioned speech given by our CEO.

Pushback, rather than feedback, allowed us the impression that not only could we provide ideas but that they now might actually be considered before being deemed too logical and thrown out in favour of setting up a committee to study the problem.

Within moments of this word having been uttered by such an enlightened being, it seemed everyone found a way to work it into conversation. That scared me a little.

It still gets bandied on occasion although we’ve since realized that our pushback is in fact going straight to a suggestion box that someone long ago lost the key to. That’s okay, I Am Joe’s Apathy.

Following a recent regime change, there has been a spate of new terms provided for everyday consumption, digestion and general pot lucking.

One such example is that the division I once worked in has been rezoned into a cluster. When I think of cluster, candy comes to mind but sometimes also, clusterfuck pops into my head. I don’t know if this is a real or imagined word but I plan to look it up.

Another choice example is now, rather than simply forwarding important email communiqués to others, we are encouraged to cascade them. I’ll get right on that chief.

I would cascade my fear and disappointment in this useless behaviour to senior management but I’m afraid they’d find a job for me as a reimagineer.


chelene said...

Remember when paradigm was the hot word? Those were the days. The term I kept hearing last year was "vet" as in "we have to vet the numbers". For a while I pondered just what was happening to that unsuspecting spreadsheet (spaying?) but then I looked it up. I love knowledge.

Dale said...

Damn! Paradigm shift. I was on the verge of forgetting. Curses Chelene.

justacoolcat said...

I live in a world of buzzwords and acronyms. Sometime in the late nineties they married and produced horribly ugly sticky progeny.

Dale said...

I have to go wash my hands now. Ewww. Very funny.

gizmorox said...

I'm all for buzzwords, but they shouldn't come at the expense of basic english grammar. And you bet clusterfuck is a real word, and one of my favorites.

Holly said...

Academics do their best to come up with goofy buzz words and usually succeed pretty well. When I was in graduate school in English lit, we were always talking about things that "occupied a liminal space," or in words, were in gray areas. I thought that was a bit high-falutin', but then I met a political scientist, who was always going on about things "in an interstitial zone."


p.s. The secret code I have to type in to verify this comment is "mlkflea." I wonder if there is such a thing as a mlkflea? I bet somewhere, there is.

Dale said...

I thought it might be a word. Please feel free to use it in a sentence gizmo.

Cross your eyes in a liminal area, stand on one foot and slowly as your eyes adjust, you will just be able to make out the elusive mlk flea.

Dale said...

And Holly? Anytime you're not using that big brain of yours, I'd like to borrow it. Thanks.

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