Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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The Corporate Jargon Jamboree

In the corporate coliseum, where buzzwords battle it out for supremacy in boardrooms and by the water cooler, we’ve witnessed the rise and fall of many a jargon juggernaut. These phrases, once the shiny toys of the business elite, have been loved, overused, and stretched thinner than a budget at a startup.

“Thinking outside the box” has been trapped inside the box of corporate clichés for so long it’s basically in a cardboard cube of shame. It’s the mantra of the uninspired, the go-to for the unoriginal. A phrase that once danced on the tongues of mavericks is now the tired twerking of corporate try-hards. And before we discard the box, can you at least learn about the box, the tools in the box, and the dimensions of the box?

“Work hard”—it’s a malicious attempt to enslave people. A porter works really hard; hard work lies in the thinking we do. Thinking is really the hard work here, not the mind-numbing, boring tasks assigned by bosses who want to look busy, as they are “result-oriented.” As opposed to what? Effort-oriented? As if businesses anywhere celebrate the journey over the destination. “Well, team, we tanked another quarter, but didn’t we have a blast?”

But still, in the industry, we have our own TLAs, the alphabet soup where letters go to die. Initially, they made us feel like cool spies with our secret codes. Now, they’re the verbal equivalent of a pocket protector: more awkward than effective. “Just send me the EOD report by COB.” Great, I’ll get right on that, just after I decipher the Rosetta Stone.

When it comes to HR, they are the gurus of jargon, “Strengths and Weaknesses”: The Corporate Confessional.

Ah, the strengths and weaknesses question, or as I like to call it, the humblebrag and the endearing flaw revealed. It’s a chance for interviewees to say, “My greatest weakness? Probably my compulsive need to complete all projects ahead of schedule, which, now that I say it out loud, sounds suspiciously like a strength wrapped in a weakness wrapper. How droll.”

And for strengths, well, it’s the buffet line of “I’m a perfectionist,” “I’m a team player,” and “I have a great work ethic.” All of which are code for “I’m going to tell you what you want to hear while trying to sound modest.”

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years: The Clairvoyant Candidate

Nobody has the foggiest idea where they’ll be in five years, but oh, the corporate dance demands a performance. “In five years, I see myself in a senior role within this company, contributing significantly to strategic goals and mentoring young hopefuls who are now, as I speak, in middle school.” It’s a response that is as rehearsed as it is clairvoyant.

Adding Value: The Corporate Alchemist

Then comes the grand finale: “How can you add value?” Well, if we really knew the alchemical formula for adding value, we’d probably be sipping something expensive on a yacht, not sitting across from you trying to decipher which version of “I work well under pressure” you haven’t heard yet.

But sure, “I will add value by synergizing the team’s dynamic capabilities with industry best practices to innovate and drive growth.” In other words, “I’ll do my job, and hopefully, things will get better around here.”

What happens when the corporate world overdoses on its own word salad? Innovation gets stifled. We start to blend into one grey blob of synergistic ideation and leverageable paradigms. We say a lot without saying anything at all, nodding like bobbleheads as if a string of nonsensical syllables just changed our lives.

Can We Speak Like a Human, Perhaps?

What if we just said what we meant? Revolutionary, right? Instead of “leverage,” how about “use”? Instead of “synergize,” try “work together.” Language was invented to communicate, not to confuse the living daylights out of interns.

About Author

Jargon Jamboree

Hamzah Abu Zannad is the co-founder and managing director of Axiom Prime Real Estate Development, with over 20 years of experience in Dubai’s real estate market. He has played a key role in shaping urban living in Dubai with innovative, community-focused projects. His work at Axiom Prime Real Estate Development has introduced a Dutch-inspired coziness to Dubai, mixing luxury with a welcoming atmosphere.

Under his leadership, the company has initiated several pioneering projects in Jumeirah Village Triangle and Jumeirah Garden City. Dedicated to sustainability and advanced technology, Hamzah is steering Axiom Prime Real Estate Development towards creating high-quality, sustainable living spaces that promote community and belonging. His commitment and leadership have made Axiom Prime a notable name in Dubai’s real estate sector.

For more information, visit Axiom Prime Real Estate Development.

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