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Office buzzwords you love to hate

'Outside the box' should be banned

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:47PM

Are there office clichés that you find overused, tiresome and extremely annoying? Take "outside the box." "Outside the bun" is clever; "outside the box" is not. Thankfully, that phrase is no longer around -- after a long and painful death.


You can compare your most hated phrases with those selected by a variety of executives, reports Marlys Harris, The Consumer Reporter at CBS Marlys shares results from Accountemps, which did the survey, in a post called "Words you should never use at the office unless you have to." She also offers her own often hilarious translations.


For example, Marlys wrote: "Value-add. A gain, usually financial. Example: "She refuses to donate to charity unless she sees some value-add, say, eternal salvation."


The list includes "reach out," "circle back," "game changer," "disconnect," "interface," "viral" and "cutting edge." Here are a few more, in Marlys' words:

  • Leverage. Deployment of an insufficient amount of something to do that which was previously done with much more. Example: "After the layoffs, we can leverage our staff of three to cover the entire Eastern seaboard."
  • It is what it is. Get used to it. Example: "Your administrative assistant doesn't know how to answer the phone. It is what it is."

This list reminds us of one of the things we miss about office work. Righteous indignation toward co-workers is difficult to come by when you work at home alone.

But Marlys' little exercise is fun. Let's all try it. Here's ours:

  • At the end of the day. When it's all said and done (OK, another cliché, but at least it's not painful). Example: "At the end of the day, I knew you were incapable of original thought."

Do you have an office cliché that you love to hate?


Published Sept. 1, 2009



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