Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “least-favorite word.” Use your least-favorite word in your post. If you can’t decide on one, use a word that just really bugs you. Enjoy!

Note that this is from 1994…

Oh, blasted corporate speak, how I loathe you so. It was very difficult to choose a word from the current buzzword bingo world. When things like lean in, circle back, unpack, and the pain points of low hanging fruit are ubiquitous, my least favorite may surprise you.

Technically it is not a word, but a phrase, and that is close enough for me for this blog post. The winner of this shit show for me is: reach out.

I think one reason this is particularly annoying is that this phrase has migrated out of the boring business meetings and is now pervasively, invasively everywhere. I can’t get a call or email without someone wanting to reach out to me.

I envision tentacles.

source unknown

If not tentacles, then at least it reminds me of the creepy guy in accounts receivable who needs a refresher course in sexual harrassment in the workpace and how to avoid it.

I’m also an introvert (INTP!) and for the love of gawd, send me an email, text me, but don’t reach out. I might bite. For an introvert, answering the phone is a nightmare. That’s why god invented voice mail. So imagine the horror of picking up the phone from the doctor’s office only to be met with, “We’re reaching out to you…” We’re?? Holy cats, now it is a group of people groping me!

Everyone makes fun of office speak, and how awful it is, but it isn’t going anywhere. It is just morphing from things like bottom line and running it up the flagpole to not having the bandwidth or mind share (right up there in “ick” factor) to my favorite, recurring theme of restructuring to create operational efficencies. Companies are nurturing this manner of speaking; managers make it de rigueur. At the same time people think it is nonsense, they have cognitive dissonance and buy into the whole thing, making this obfuscating communication the norm and welcoming it into society’s everyday speech. It makes you one of the cool kids. #barf

The latest incident I had with reach out was a few days ago. I ordered a quarter-pounder from McDonald’s with just cheese and ketchup, and so it was a special order. When I got to the pick-up window the manager handed me my drink, told me to pull around to the waiting spot, and that they would reach out with my order.

Actually… that did happen. The runner came out with my bag. He handed it to me with outstretched arms, and I reached out through my open window and retrieved the bag. Never mind.

16 Comments

  1. Looooooove this and have shared with my office buds. I’m also posting to my FB feed, if that’s ok with you. If you really don’t want the exposure, reach out, circle back with me, and we can solution it together.

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    1. No need to table the discussion. Feel free to repost where ever, but thanks for the heads-up. Pretty sure this post qualifies as low-hanging fruit, but I’m up for the mind share. (Oh god, we really could keep this jargon going for a long time…)

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  2. LOL, fun post! When working for a government agency, our issue was not the corporate speak but tons of acronyms. Everything had an acronym and for a new person on the job, it must have drove them crazy. Our HR department was BPHR (we would say beeper), but then they changed it to BHR (brrrrrr?) and it just wasn’t the same.

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    1. Glad you liked it. 🙂 I’ve known folks in government, and oh yes, the acronyms! I think that is true (to a lesser degree) of lots of bureaucracies. I worked in medical insurance billing (of course that has its government portion too!) and oy vey. Acronyms. Blargh. Laughed at “beeper.” (Won’t tell you how I referred to HR… I’m trying to stop swearing.)

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        1. I went through a period of being “downsized” or whatever HR jargon was at each place. The hiring/lay-off games of HR, and the fact that HR has nothing to do with making the employees’ lives better but… ok ok ok… gotta stop myself here before I go deep end. 🙂 I should revive some of the rants about HR I posted here years ago. Then again, maybe not.

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  3. Yes, I’m glad I’m out of the work place (or should that be space?) now, so I don’t have to put up with all that mumbo jumbo. I’m just trying to think of my least favourite word or saying, but they’ve all been erased from my memory – thank goodness for that!

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