Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tolerance of Jargon

Most of us are so time constrained and "brand-washed" (if there is such a phrase) to the WSJ, that it borders on being an epiphany to discover that there are actually other newspapers that deal with the world of business.

I have to confess that I while I am still a "loyal" brand-washed Journal reader, during the past year I was introduced to the Financial Times by Lauryn Franzoni, our Vice President and Executive Editor. I haven't gotten around to asking her when she became addicted to FT, but my guess is it was when she was running a publishing company in London a few years back. No matter, she turned me on to the FT, and while I still don't seem to have the time to read the Journal every day, much less the Financial Times, Lauryn very kindly sends long an article or two that she thinks would be of interest.

For example, last July it was Lauryn that turned me on to Martin Lukes Chief Personal Ethics Champion aka Martin.Lukes@a-bglobal.com. Maybe it's just because I am such a fan of British humor or have been gone from the big-time corporate world long enough that some of what goes on just makes be laugh until the tears come. Not sure, all I know is that I have been a faithful reader of Martin Lukes' business happenings every since.

Well, now it seems there is another one! Lauryn stops by and showed me a column in FT's Business Life section written by Lucy Kellaway that was titled: Why there has been an uptick in my tolerance of jargon. Unfortunately, the FT has gone the route of the NY Times and you now have to pay to read the work of their regular columnists, so I can just give you a link so you can check out this particular piece. Suffice it to say I thought it was pretty funny (otherwise why am I taking the time to blog about it).

In the column she directs the reader to a couple of books on business jargon. One is by, as she calls him "...a frightfully nice man with a PhD from Oxford" and is titled: Ducks in a Row, an A-Z of Offlish. To give you an idea of the author's approach, Lucy tells her readers that in his introduction to the book, the author tells us "As offlish is highly contagious, it is vital that these people are mocked, ridiculed and undermined in order to prevent its spread." I love it!

On the other side of the pond, comes the U.S. entry written by Ron Sturgeon, someone that Lucy describes as a "...former scrap-car dealer." This one is titled: Green Weenies and Due Diligence. She says the book as some 1200 terms and phrases many of which I assume covers the well-worn territory that with which most of us are all too familiar. She did, however, offer up a couple of newer ones (at least to me) such as "chair plug" and "square-headed girlfriend." The first being someone who simply sits in a meeting contributing nothing (aka an empty suit?) and the "girlfriend" turns out to be your PC.

What does it all mean? Nothing of course, but as we struggle through the crashing and thrashing of getting to our numbers by year-end along with creating our numbers for the year coming, it's kind of fun to take a side trip to columns like Ms. Kellaway's.

1 comment:

Wily said...

Regarding office jargon - I created a game that might entertain you...

I posted at MY blog:


Feel free to use it, just source me when you pass it on.