Work Jargon We Wish Would Disappear

Work Jargon We Wish Would Disappear
Updated on 30 March 2015

Every office has its own sort of language—vocabulary that people frequently use when they’re at work but probably wouldn’t use that often otherwise. We’re used to office jargon, but we’d like to take a minute to review some of the business-y words that do the job while kind of driving us crazy at the same time. Jargon varies from office to office, but here are five of the words and phrases that make us cringe.

Goal-oriented: At work, it’s important to be goal-oriented. After all, if you aren’t working toward a goal, how the heck are you spending your time? But there is one issue with this term: it has become meaningless in its overuse. After seeing this term on multiple resumés and in countless slideshows, we think it’s time to find a new word.

Optimize: To optimize means to make the best or most effective use of—to improve efficiency. The way some people speak at work, it seems like nearly everything can be optimized, from workflows to team structures to refrigerator organization. If you can think of a relationship or process in your office, you can probably optimize it. Optimization is great—who doesn’t love efficiency?—but the term can become annoying. Optimize your vocabulary by cutting back on your use of this term.

Synergy: The definition of synergy is “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” But when people use the term synergy in the office, it seems to imply something mystical, almost magical, about working together. We would prefer to keep things simple and more concrete by using terms like “cooperation” or “collaboration” to describe the process of working together.

Impact (used as a verb): While impact is often used as a verb (meaning to affect or influence something), this word is so overused and misused that we vote for stopping its usage completely. People want to “impact sales,” “impact the community,” and even “impact the future.” Make an impact in your office by using other synonyms instead of impact.

Disrupt: This word has gained popularity in the startup and technology world, but its use has started to become a bit—ahem—disruptive. Most people use the term to mean something akin to “upsetting the old balance of power” or “bucking expectations and completely changing the way things are done.” There’s even a conference, Techcrunch Disrupt, which underscores the use and importance of the word. Do you know what would be truly disruptive? Finding a new term to describe this action.

Which work-related words or jargon drives you crazy? What are your preferred replacements? Share your pet peeves in the comments!

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