Office Jargon

big-redDifferent professions have a different language, and software development is no exception. Over the last decade in the field I’ve run into some words and expressions that occur more frequently than others, most of which irritate me to the point where I sometimes consider self inflicted bodily harm as an easy escape route out of situations where they’re used.

Keep in mind that these phrases are mostly used by managers talking to their underlings, rather than underlings conversing with their own kind.

Rock star

Usage: This guy is crap. We are only looking for Rock stars for this project.

I might be too literal, but rock stars wouldn’t help your project. They would most likely trash it, and your hotel room as well. Sticking a word like Rock star in a sentence referring to software development hardly makes what you talk  about, or you, any more interesting. It actually accomplishes the opposite, leading us to believe you have no friends and are desperate to fit in with the rest of society.

Proactive

Usage: You need to be proactive about reading the clients mind. We have to proactively use proactivity to to achieve great levels of proactiveness. Blah blah blah proactive.

Here’s an expression that’s used so loosely it lost its meaning to me about a minute after I first heard it. I understand the meaning, but when you hear it applied to every sentence as both verb, noun and adjective, you immediately want the person using it to open a dictionary and become more proactive about updating their vocabulary.

It is what it is

Usage: I can’t help that this project is failing badly. It is what it is.

I’ve been know to use this one myself. And every time i do, I feel a part of me dying.  You’re basically saying that there’s nothing to be done to this situation, so just give up. You’re a drone and the galactic overlord has written on his paper scrolls what your destiny is. Be complacent. Stop thinking for yourself. Nothing you do can change anything. Smile, because you’re completely useless.

Self-starter

Usage: We need someone who can be a self-starter on this project.

Not only do I not like this expression, but it also means that you are going to be abandoned in the basement of your place of employment with a red stapler, trying to figure out spaghetti code without any help from anyone. No one will hear you scream.

When I think of self-starter, I think of the car Christine from the book with the same title by the author Stephen King. That car sure was a self-starter. It also killed people. Ok, I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this one….

Be Creative

Usage: You have 24 hours to finish this 8 week project. Be creative!

If you mistakenly confuse pure insanity with creativity you are  1)A Moron. 2)Delusional 3) A Delusional Moron. By telling me this you leave me these [creative] options:

1) Outsourcing on the fly to a random undeveloped nation with an overabundance of eager software developers. And fail.

2) Employ an army of monkeys to help out. And fail. Why? Because they’re monkeys. And don’t know what a computer is.

3) Pray (creatively). Fail.

As you can tell, each one of these three options lead down the same path of failure and blame. One that can and will be taken by many corporate projects everywhere. Because, one thing you can reliably bank on in this world, is most people’s utter lack of backbone and responsibility.

I hate to sound jaded, but I think Jerry Seinfeld said it best: “People, they’re the worst!”

So, what is some jargon that annoys you?

6 Responses to “Office Jargon”

  1. Jonas says:

    På jobbet säger vi (med glimt i ögat) att “jag ska ta det med mig” och “jag ska lägga ner lite energi i den frågan”. :)

    Jag tror att det där Seinfeld-citatet kan vara det bästa någonsin och helt klart det jag brukar citera mest från den showen.

  2. chan chan says:

    “thinking outside of the box!”

    Augh! I hate this one and I’m totally guilty of using it. If everyone is thinking outside of the box than it means we all are just thinking the same thing in a new and different BOX, hello people!

    When I was at the “mouse trap” they were a big fan of using “blue sky thinking” which roughly translates to “let’s go so far out of the box that we are out in space!”

    And no I think it is safe to say that “Who Moved My Cheese?” will not make it on my reading list this year, thank you very much….

    I’m tense and my skin is crawling from reliving these moments….

  3. peteDog says:

    Chan: Funny you’d say that, it was actually on my list till the last minute when switched it out for self-starter. I couldn’t think outside the box well enough to come up with anything mildly sarcastic to say about it….

    Jonas: Seinfeld citatet är helt klart det jag minns bäst från den serien också….. Kan för övrigt inte så många andra Seinfeld citat, men jag ska helt klart lägga ner lite energi i den frågan framöver ;)

  4. Brittany says:

    Hmmm, it seems you aren’t the only person with office jargon on your mind: http://www.savvysugar.com/2921258?page=0,0#comment-4815765

  5. Onk says:

    As Health Net was sinking they _all_ said, “It is what it is.”

Leave a Reply