Worst case of "manager speak" you've heard?

When asked a question that he clearly didn’t understand, one of our managers writes back “I can’t seem to grasp the ask on this one.” Took me a minute for me to figure out what his “ask” was, as well. :confused:

I work with real people who speak actual English, and I communicate like a real person, in actual English. Verbs are verbs and need to stay that way.
If I ever start talking like that, I hope they take me out back and shoot me.

I know there are worse examples than this, right?

I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for, but my last director started every third sentence with “At the end of the day…”

At the end of most days I wanted to shoot my brains out.

Is “ask” as a noun the hot new thing? I can’t guarantee that this isn’t confirmation bias, but I swear that I heard it used that way* for the first time no more than a few months ago, and now this is like the fourth different context that I’ve heard it used as a noun.

I generally don’t mind nouning verbs, but this one is just horrific.

  • Actually, the first usage was slightly different: the sentence was “I have an ask of you”, which I guess meant something like “favor”. Close enough.

Band name!

Sounds like he was trying to grope his secretary and made a spelling mistake.

The first time I heard the phrase, “You’re good people” was from a manager trying to sweet talk me into working a weekend. It took a while for my brain to process it. “Who are my good people and why doesn’t he finish the sentence?..Oh, he means I’m good people…but I’m only one person…”

Ha! Good luck with that one.

“Ask” as a noun has been used in the UK for years, most commonly by footballers/coaches etc. It’s used to indicate a difficult task. e.g

“We need to beat Arsenal by 28 goals to go to the top of the table on goal difference… it’s a big ask.”

I’ve never heard “ask” [mis]used that way and I pray I never do.

“In the absence of my presence…”
“Use the reconcile to derive your new impairment and valuation.”
“We have to VAR every new trading position.”

Same here. “What’s the ask on the spend?”

Actually I don’t mind “the ask” so much, it’s a polite way of saying “I’ve listened to you ramble for 10 minutes and I can’t find an actionable request here, WTF specifically are you asking me to do?”

I hear it all the time and it’s not particularly strange.

“Actionable”? :dubious:

An actionable request is something specific you’re asking the manager to do for you.

It’s the difference between bitching to your manager about your budget being cut and saying that you need your manager to find you 10% more to cover anticipated marketing expenses.

It’s dopey phrasing but a good concept. Sometimes your folks need to vent but at a certain point you want to ask “ok, what do you need me to do”.

Actionable is one of the important learnings from this thread.

It means some information that can be acted upon. And unfortunately it’s a necessary word, because people will ramble for paragraphs without clearly stating what they’re asking you to do, or even give you a hint what you’re supposed to respond to.

So in that context, an obnoxious phrase like “actionable ask” starts to seem like a concise and merciful way to express “WTF does this blathering idiot want from me?”

Well, this is hardly huge, or even new, but please use the noun “invitation” and not the verb “invite.”

No, I didn’t get your “invite.”

Too late.


This is not the worst I’ve heard, but it comes to mind because it got under my skin somewhat recently. Any time I hear the words “my people”, I know I’m hearing some Grade-A management bullshit.

Such as in, " … all of my people use the Agile methodology."

Whenever I hear it, I either think, “I AM NOT your people!” or I think, “Let my people GO!”.

But can we verb nouns?