21st Century Cosmodemonic

A jandal from the inside

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Technical terms for nothing at all

OK, maybe there are too many series on this jandal, but this is potentially one more.

Sometimes you have to pretend you know what you're talking about when in fact you don't have a clue. Luckily the corporate world is built around this very concept. Your friendly neighbourhood Lackey finds himself dealing with the odd word or phrase which grabs the attention for the very meaninglessness of it. And recycling those very same phrases the next time he is asked about something new and bizarre, old and forgotten, or real and too hard.

So I'm compiling a list of the most excellent words and phrases to use in that email to your boss explaining everything you've done, when in fact you've done nothing at all.

Of course the email could read Dear Boss, you suck arse. Felch me as I walk on out the door. Nothing personal of course, you've just bought into the system. Laters, Lackey. But that would be disingenuous because the fact is I've bought into the system too. Doing nothing and getting away with it by making it sound like something, and the pangs of corporate ennui that come along with that, is the system. Hence this list, to help us all achieve that stage of ennui that is virtually indistinguishable from nirvana, or at least a lot like that feeling you get when you ate all the lollies and have to lie down for a bit.

Best phrases to use to cover having done nothing:
  • Drill-down - you can use it in lots of ways, because it doesn't mean anything at all. I mean, unless you're digging a hole. So: "Yeah we drilled down into that to investigate the avenues of opporunities that might arise." "The chart has a drill-down mechanism for better your convenience." (Don't worry, no one ever looks at the charts except to see they're pretty.) Etc etc etc.
  • Extrapolate - as in you can extrapolate from what I've told you, and please assume whatever you can think of is what I actually did. Unless it's bad.
  • Proactive - as in actually doing something, so ok, active. It's supposed to be opposite of reactive, but reactive means getting pushed around by others, not doing anything of your own, which is pretty much inactive, so the opposite of that is active I reckon. People think it sounds better because it's silly to say we should be active - sounds like you want to go for a rollerblade or something. So proactive means professionally active, because it means you sound like a professional while you're active.
  • Going forward - this actually mean in the future, but someone thought it sounded much more proactive. "How will this impact us going forward?" "Um, like, I dunno, maybe the opposite way than if we were in reverse?" Speaking of which...
  • Impact - This can also sound like it means anything, when in fact it's usually short for nothing. But a cool nothing, being verb, noun, adjective , adverb and sentence or even paragraph all by itself: "Going forward the proactive impact this will have on the business needs will impact on product development impactingly. This will created impacted demand and supply issues which will then oscilate over the course of time. Extrapolating from there, we see great impact going forward. Jim, can you drill down on that for me please?" "Impact!" "You said it Jim. Thank you all for coming, and goodnight."

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