Corporate Speak That Pisses You Off

Back when I was in USAF one of our more humorously cynical officers got custom made Christmas cards one year. The cover art was similar to the USAF logo / seal with some snow piled atop like the Sherwin Williams “paint the globe” logo. It also had some snowy pine trees nearby and an airplane.

The pre-printed interior said “Have a Military Christmas and a Professional New Year!”

Massive smirking all around us junior officers. Some of the brass were Not Amused.

A few days ago there was a site-wide email informing us that we had a new HR representative. Our previous HR person, the email said, had “transitioned to a new position outside [our company].”

I think the thing that frustrates me the most about corporate-speak is that new terms evolve frequently, doesn’t seem to add much in the way of clarity, brevity or sense, and finally that the old terms never really go away.

It feels a lot like being in middle school/high school with the “cool kids” using certain terms.

That is not the goal of corporate-speak.

I used to be in charge of sending out an email to all employees detailing promotions, transfers, new hires, and terminations. Once of our senior vice presidents called me one day to tell me to stop using the word termination and begin using separations. He thought it sounded too harsh. My VP, the VP of HR, called and said we should just using the heading “Buh-Bye” for separations. That does sound less harsh than terminate or separate I guess.

And for gosh sakes, never include “… with extreme prejudice” after anyone’s termination announcement. :wink:

In the last 6 months, people at my company have stopped quitting after finding a new job. Now they “transition to outside opportunities”.

That makes them sound like Doctor Who.

This begs the question of finding an alternative collective noun phrase that covers the whole panoply of establishments that cater for visitors.

Or Voltron.

And this gross misuse of “begs the question” is addressed by several posters over here in this sorta similar thread:

This blog post dissects a whole corpse of corporate blether

What is the ask in this thread?

We’d like to shift the narrative to message our customers, internal and external, that we are achieving our platitudes of greater corporate citizenship.

“We are currently experiencing more calls than expected” or “an unusually high number of calls” and therefore you’re just going to have to wait. Probably for a loooong time.

No, you SOBs, you are expecting a perfectly ordinary number of calls; there’s just a queue because you don’t have enough service people to answer them all quickly.

Regardless of the opinion of a Texas student, when I say “begs the question”, I mean it literally.

If someone makes a proposition that needs questioning I will use that phrase and I doubt that many people will misunderstand.


As in ’ How Social Media Has Changed How We Consume News ’ or even ’ How Younger Generations Consume News Differently - Reuters …

Pass me the knife, fork & napkin - I’m going to watch/read the news…

I have an employer who typically refers to us as associates (or even worse, an acronym with the last letter being “As” for associates). But the worst is when they sometimes call us owners or co-owners, like “We are all owners here, in this together.” This is due to a since retired benefit of RSUs, which almost no one accepted in the form of stock since the upfront taxes were too much. The number of working class stockholders in this company is very very low.

Is “Social Distancing” of corporate origin, government origin, media origin, or…what? It has always struck me as an awkward and infelicitous phrase.

It does have that euphemistic tenor that smacks of corporaticia, but also of the kind of cautious politic language that pervades the public sphere. Its origins are most likely manifold and not specifically corporate, as such.