Paradigm shift

“Paradigm shift.” “Value-add.” “Win-win.” “Customer-centric.” “Outside-the-box.” “Leverage our core competencies.” Clich?d terms like these buzz around the office like flies at a hot summer picnic … and they’re just as annoying.

Language is alive, and when it’s not, it’s time to liven things up. Here are some fresh examples (just for fun):

1. Hallway Trapprehension

The anxiety we feel at the approach of a coworker we’ve already passed multiple times in the hall in a single day (as we fret over something new and witty to say).

2. Shingling

Excessively pitching our kids’ candy bars, cookies, bowl-a-thon pledge requests, or anything else to coworkers, especially when a child’s value as a human being is apparently at stake.

3. Zombieland

The in-and-out, slow-eye-flutter, head-nodding state people fall into in many after-lunch meetings.

4. Octoboss

Supervisors who clasp onto so many tasks and special projects that subordinates often get deflected by an inky cloud whenever they approach … as the supervisor escapes.

5. Embuggeration

The act of filling coworkers’ email with huge files, impenetrably convoluted or lengthy messages, irrelevant Reply All copies, or any such encumbrance that causes said coworkers’ productivity to slow to a deathly crawl.

6. CC Frighter

The sudden, desperate feeling we get after realizing the wrong person is going to see the email we just sent, usually because we’ve written some embarrassing or completely inappropriate statement about that person.

7. Epstein’s Mother

Any whopper, extra-lame excuse people give after letting down their coworkers, especially when there’s a pattern of undependability or when coworkers were really counting on the person.

8. Pushmi-pullyu

Any time individuals or groups have trouble finding traction on a common strategic mission due to open disagreements (and backbiting) about the tactics of how to proceed.

9. The Shirley Temple

Any big change initiative at work that is the apple of everyone’s eye one moment — tap dancing all over everything — then disappears before reaching adolescence. (It can also refer to any innocuous initiative that isn’t very effective; i.e., bubbly and flavorful, but with no real lasting kick.)

10. Unobtainium

The rarest and most highly sought state of any workplace, where strong business results are born from clearly stated and uncompromised ethical, socially responsible, and mutually respectful values, consistently and pervasively demonstrated at every level of the organization.

Using any new terms in your workplace? Share with us, and we might help spread the word.

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