A recent Gallup pool found that a full 78% of Americans, upon hearing someone use the phrase “Let’s Touch Base”, are overcome by an uncontrollable urge to grit their teeth, wrap their fingers around the speaker’s neck, and squeeze until they hear the wet, satisfying pop of a crushed trachea.
And who can blame them? The absurd language of “business” has no place within a civilized society such as ours. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that a brutal, fully-conscious strangulation may even be too merciful a punishment for those who willingly use terms like “Team Player” and “Think Outside The Box” without hint of shame or sarcasm.
But anyway, if you want to ensure you’re not gonna be throttled to death by some guy who doesn’t like you talking like a corporate piece of shit, you should probably go ahead and check out this list of awful business terms which fill me with an impotent rage.
1. SIX SIGMA
I’ve heard the phrase Six Sigma a whole lot in various places I’ve worked, but I’ve never had even the faintest idea what it meant. I attempted to do a bit of research online, but every definition I found appeared to be more meaningless and confounding than the last. Finally, in a desperate rage, I ended up searching for “six sigma” on Wikipedia. This was similarly worthless, as The Page For It is simply 15 paragraphs of nearly meaningless business jargon and a couple of graphs I didn’t even bother to attempt to understand.
In case you don’t feel like clicking, I have taken the liberty of translating the introductory paragraph of said article for you using a Businessspeak-To-Actual-English translator. As is the case with most online translators it came out a little wonky, but I think you’ll probably get the general idea:
All the people on the deck! Six Sigma is a collection of corporate stool invented in 1986. Six Sigma is to improve the outside of the box thinking. Six Sigma is to minimize the changes in production. Six Sigma, it uses the series of the quality control and knock the ball out of the ball park!
Names for the staff members as follow: black belt, green belt, belt belt, he felt that circumcision belt. Each Six Sigma organizations in the following sequence of steps to determine the financial targets (cost or revenue validity conglomeration increase) quantified.
Word comes from the long-term short-term Six Sigma manufacturing-related issue. In yield to maturity expressed as a percentage standard deviation of the survival rate of defective created or destroyed within a period of time which is 99.99966% defect-free and free of products or standard deviations from.
Add value. Tackling the palace. Six counties of the load. Do not expect any chickens. Do not rock the boat for us. Heuristics! Please to bringing skeptical. Dead horse beaten to death. Drag the lake. Turtles all the way down.
All in all, I’m pleased with the way this translation came out. And I can assure you that you won’t find a better overview of what Six Sigma is all about anywhere else on the internet..
As I’m sure you can figure out, “blamestorming” is simply an insufferably cutesy bastardization of “brainstorming”. As it was explained to me, a “blamestorm” often occurs in meetings which have been called to discuss why a particular project or idea has failed. For obvious reasons, nobody in the meeting believes (or wants to admit) that they are responsible for the failure, resulting in a “storm” of “blame”, as desperate accusations fly.
While I will grant that this word technically makes sense, this does not make its use any less offensive or unnecessary. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but here in The United America there are some lines you just don’t cross, and saying ‘blamestorm” aloud is almost certainly one of them. It’s right there in the first five articles of the US Constitution:
- Article I: Show respect for Lady Liberty
- Article II: Keep voices down, and refrain from using foul language
- Article III: No black soled shoes on the nation’s floors
- Article IV: Freedom of The Press
- Article V: When entering the country, shut the door tight behind you to make sure no Mexicans get in.
I would direct your attention to Article I: Show respect for Lady Liberty. You might not see what this has to do with saying “blamestorming”, but you must understand that when you use this word (even in jest), it makes Americans look like even bigger morons than they actually are, which encourage (if not requires) other countries to make fun of us.
Just imagine what the British must say when they hear an American using ridiculous made-up words like these:
“Oi! Didja catch a blundersnog ‘o the yip-yips those bloody Yank tossers ‘ave been slogging off wif’? Disrespecful to the ol’ Queen’s English it is it is! I’ve ‘aff a mind to gollyfap me bloody chuzwallas out across the pond and slog their kippers to a lovelyjovely, an’ I would too, ‘cept me mum’s got a thousand-stone growth in her slogswailer. But if those Yanks ain’t cruddlerin’ the hornsbyfinch, I’ll be a snookered skiffa!”
So in summary: Use of the phrase “blamestorming” is tantamount to allowing a goggle-eyed, fish-smelling, inbred British drunkard to bend the statue of liberty over a ferryboat and rail her till she bleeds rust. And in case you hadn’t heard, we don’t abide that sort of behavior here in the land of the free.
3. GOING FORWARD
Example: “It essential that, going forward, we satisfy the customer’s needs.”
Translation: “Ladies and gentlemen, while I realize that up until this point we have been focusing on satisfying our customer’s needs by slipping backwards through time, quickly performing the services we know they will request in the future, and then returning to the present mere moments after we had left, but we have discovered that this is not a sustainable way to do business.
That is why, my friends, I propose a “forward going” business model, as opposed to the regressive model we have relied so heavily on in the past. The benefits are many: For one thing, we will no longer have to worry about “Negation”. Negation, you will remember, is what occurs when we travel back and fix the root cause of a problem for a customer before it even occurred, preventing them from ever coming and asking us about it in the first place, causing a tear in the space-time continuum and destroying that particular layer of the multiverse (along with the warpgate through with the jump was originally made) forever, forcing us to start from “square-one” each time we receive a contract. This has proven to be both time-consuming and fiscally untenable.
But no more! We shall now strive to satisfy our customer’s needs in the present, as well as in the near future, but not in the past.
To long have we gone backwards. So now, my friends, we shall go forward. And in going forward we will have hypothetically succeeded in the future which we did our best to ensure would be fruitful in the past (which is currently the present), and will no longer be shackled by the chains of the past’s past, or indeed, even the future’s past.
Good luck to us all, and may Chronos, the incorporeal serpent god of time, have mercy upon our collective souls
4. HUMAN RESOURCES/HUMAN CAPITAL
Alright, corporations, we get it: You only see your employees as faceless, replaceable cogs to be utilized in your tireless march towards wealth and world domination, but is it entirely necessary to refer to them as a resource? Talk about twisting the knife. At the very least you could try to dress it up a little, you know?
But hmm…come to think of it, maybe being a resource isn’t such a bad thing after all. At least by calling you a resource, your employer is valuing you at least as much as petroleum, bauxite, or olives. I mean come on, olives! I can only assume that those are pretty rare.
Think about it: When’s the last time you saw an olive? That’s right, never. You never saw an olive, and that’s because they’re the rarest vegetable. What do you mean “Actually, Olives are fruits, they’re also one of the most extensively cultivated crops in the world, and I just ate one yesterday”? Are you calling me a liar? Huh? Are you? I don’t see anyone else here talking about olives, so you MUST be! How dare you speak to me like that in my own home!? No. No! You shut up! You shut the hell up! SHUT THE HELL UP YOU SON OF A BITCH! GET OUT! DO YOU HEAR ME? GET OUT!!!!
In conclusion: Olives.
Grassroots was originally a term which was meant to describe small groups of like-minded individuals working together on a project on a local or community level. Some examples of true grassroots movements would be:
- A Neighborhood Watch Program
- Free Yearly Dance Festival Featuring Only Shitty Jam/Reggae Bands
- Distributing Anti-McDonald’s Fliers While Sporting Unwashed Dreadlocks
- Local Vegetable Garden Co-Op
- The KKK
- Group Of Concerned Parents Getting Together To Spraypaint “RAPPERS [sic] GO HOME” On The Garage Door Of That Sex Offender Who Just Moved In Down The Street
A perfect counterexample of a grassroots movement would be ANY MOVEMENT BEGUN BY A CORPORATION OR ANY SUBSIDIARY OF A CORPORATION. For instance, when I worked for Walmart in the early 00’s, they decided to begin (or at least step-up), what they called (and apparently still call) “The Grass Roots Process“. The idea behind The Grass Roots Process is that even “the little people” (meaning the hourly employees) can make a difference within the Walmart corporate culture.
I don’t remember much the grassroots training materials, but I do remember that they tried to prove that they respected the ideas of us grunts by giving a bunch of examples of all the awesome ideas hourly employees had come up with in the past. Mostly though, these were just depressing things like “Joe in store #2229 came up with the idea to stack the canned goods in his store to create a haunted house for Halloween. The children loved it and storewide grocery profits increased by 0.016%!”
Of course they failed to add that even after Joe’s amazing idea, he continued to be a widower who made starvation wages and still had to rely on medicaid and food stamps to support his two young children, and that Joe was fired a few months later for taking a sick day, fell into a deep depression, drowned both his kids in a bathtub full of Dr. Thunder, and then blew his brains out.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some gentle grassroots weeping for the future of humanity to catch up on.