Saturday, August 14, 2010

What phrases drive you crazy at work?

I'm working on a project (more on that later) and I need to compile a list of all the terms you hate to hear in the workplace.

You know, things like:

1. Man hours

This is my all-time most-hated phrase ever! Sometimes I pipe up in a meeting and say, "Is everybody working on this project a man?"

People love that.

Why can't we just say "staff hours" and make everyone happy?

By everyone, I mean me.

2. Bodies

As in, "We need more bodies on this project." This term gives no respect to the people who will be working on the project. I mean, if all you need is bodies I'm sure there are plenty of unclaimed ones at the morgue.

What we need are engineers, we need soldiers, we need help, we need more resources.

We don't really need more bodies.

3. Please tell me what you would put here.
What are the phrases you hate to hear in the workplace? And what do you wish people would say instead?

You're also welcome to disagree with me about my pet peeve words. Leave a comment.

12 comments:

Linda said...

"My people."

Melanie Gao said...

As in "I'll have my people look into it", right? Yes, that's really annoying. Thanks Linda!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Yes to all the above and "I'll get it to you tomorrow" which actually means "never". :)

ellis said...

hi melanie! i would say my least favorite is, "i'll get back to you within the week," which really means "i will probably not call you back ever."

and of course i don't mind if you use the incense photo. i'm flattered! :)

Melanie Gao said...

Laura and Ellis you are so right! Those are completely annoying ways to say, "I will never follow up on this issue."

I also like, "Let's take this up off line." Which means "Let's stop talking about this and hope no one remembers we ever did."

Thanks Ellis for the permission to use your lovely picture! I'm happy I can add you to my gallery. :)

Dalton said...

I really dislike the term 'thought-leadership'. I don't know why, it just seems that everyone uses it, so its not really a 'leading' thing is it?

I also kinda hate being bcc'd. How many times have I nearly replied all because I didn't realize I was bcc'd? If you are blind copied, you shouldn't be able to reply. It's just weird and makes me feel like I'm spying!

Ulyana said...

Hmmm, let me think...

1) pipeline - simply because of the imagery
2) value add - just too business speak-y... "is this a value-add?"... so many better ways to say this!!!!
3) a quick question - because it never is, and why can't it be just a "question"?
4) "lining my ducks in a row", "crossing my t's and dotting the i's" - these are not so much pet peeves, but for some reason it bothers me when a person relies heavily on such phrases rather than saying exactly what they are doing.

Not sure this can help with your project. I agree about "bodies".

Melanie Gao said...

Ulyana and Dalton, those are great ones! And yes Dalton, bcc:s are dangerous. Why do mail clients let the bcc:ed reply to all? That makes no sense at all.

An said...

I hate "clear as mud?" followed by the person saying it laughing at how clever he (it's always a "he") is.

Melanie Gao said...

Good one An. Whenever people laugh at their own canned jokes it makes me want to smack them.

Amanda said...

I say "person hours," and, maybe I'm kidding myself, but I *think* it may be catching on at my office. I also say "person power." Maybe it sounds awkward, but at least I don't have to hear myself say "man power," and maybe, each time I say it, it makes "person power" sound a *little* more awkward to others when they hear it. And my *favorite* phrase to hear or say at work? "I'll be responsible for that." Love, AJ

Melanie Gao said...

Here's one from alert reader Caroline: "Let's divest this so we can invest in that." Love it.