Corpspeak - how to be unintentionally hilarious

This morning, I got to add ANOTHER phrase to my most-hated corpspeak list, and I thought I'd celebrate by blogging about it!

I should also point out that I STILL hate the word 'blog', which is why my blog is titled de-blog (or deb log). Back when I created my blog, I was part of an IT steering group (steering group, ffs), where people 'in the know' talked about these 'innovative new technologies' such as blogging, content management systems, dynamic web content, and so on - what we now call Web 2.0 - a technology scarred by the favourite buzzwords of the time.

we will add your distinctiveness to our own...
I knew technology. I'd been writing PHP for six years by that point. I'd been hacked and I knew how to hack. I knew as much as I needed to, all of it self-taught. Skip a couple of years...

The web moved on, as did I. Well, actually, I moved back to writing fiction and I'm almost proud to say that I haven't had time to learn HTML5. My point, however, is that in those meetings, in spite of my extensive and very useful working knowledge of interactive technology, management endeavoured to ignore me, talk over me and push me aside.

Nobody likes the lefty social scientist who can't hide her disdain for BS.

I didn't realise at the time that that was the reason. It took the wisdom of my wonderful OU mentor and colleague Doctor Jim Lane (no longer with us :( ) to explain why my voice was too small to be heard, no matter how loudly I shouted - or, at least part of the reason why. Management can see dissent from miles away, even if that dissent is not vocalised, even if the dissenter does a grand job of faking assimilation into the corporate machine. It's the lack of response, the too-slow blink, the slightly mis-timed smile...

And then there's sexism and sizism. If I were tall and slim, stereotypically attractive, power-dressed, fluttered those eyelashes just enough, wore make-up and heels...

Sod that for a game of soldiers.

So many ifs and butts-to-kiss. No thanks. I'm out and I'm glad, because I get to roll my eyes in private and chortle at the corporate lexicon that I don't have to listen to anymore!

But I do get to write about it. :D
"Yeah, well, no point to sitting on a honeypot." Not if you're gonna get stung. He wasn't sure if Andy had said it, or he'd imagined it, but either way, Dan heeded the warning.

"I've got your number," Scott said, already rising to his feet. "I'll leave you to enjoy your Sunday afternoon. Thanks for hearing me out."

"No problem. Thanks for the heads up."

(from Those Jeffries Boys)

Here are a few to delight and tickle:

I think we owe some respect to the originator of each of these. At some point, someone in a corporation somewhere used a lovely metaphor in a meeting, and the minions went forth and multiplied it into a cliché, like the good little corporate clones they are. Plagiarism: the highest form of flattery.
- a basket of indicators (thanks to John D. for this one - I have no idea what it means!)
- blue-sky thinking (and remember, folks, there is NO glass ceiling between you and it)
- joined-up thinking (or common sense)
- think outside of the box (but make sure you stay within the ring-fencing)
- give you a heads up (I know something you don't know)
- I hear you (your words went in one ear and out the other)
- run it up the flag pole and see who salutes (this one is so ludicrous I'm sure Nige made it up)
- robust measures/systems (when they have no physical form?)
- value-added/impactful (unlike the way we treat our employees)
- what's your take? (I've had my say, now I'm going to pretend I care what you think)
- going forward (CEO's got a brand new time machine, so we need to remind you all of the natural progression of linear time)
And here are some links to even more mockery of corporate life:

Larry Benjamin's short, free and brilliant parody - The Corporatorium

Corpspeak: infinite corporate bulls**t generator - has a Generate BS button - surprisingly accurate! :D

Wikipedia Buzzwords List

BBC - 50 office-speak phrases you love to hate

Red Dwarf - The Meeting

N.B. I intentionally left The Office (UK) off this list. It's brilliant. Depressingly so.

Thanks for reading!
Deb x


  1. Classic! I am delighted I played some part in facilitating the onward direction of you content production.

  2. To All,

    In our last offsite a synergy emerged that we can leverage by Q3. Reflecting the new pedagogy and following a deep dive, we have ideated a truly scalable methodology.

    Lacking contrary pings from senior leadership I will pin this plan as actionable, a way to mitigate identified risks. Though the granularity of the work behind some of these milestones may seem daunting, our goal remains seamless execution, never getting lost in the weeds, the kind of of solutioneering that fosters robust, cost-effective, Agile wins that will outlast any cycle.

    Thanks to Abhishek Garcia Wang-Smith for reaching out and building momentum at the zenith of his contract. Agwoz was a team player, embodying the mission to de-risk, accelerate, really hear our customers, and - as I have so often said - iterate.

    Live the Dream!

  3. Tracking:


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

No Filter - Loaded Banana #RainbowSnippets #LGBTQIA

A big decision? #amwriting

To all the books I wrote this year... (2018 roundup)