Job Jargon Of The New Normal


I love PR speak. I am an advertising guy. I have helped promote jargon and word speak.

I started my career aspiring to be an Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man.

When corporate America fires people their PR machines fire up the corporate jargon of today.

We have all heard the terms. Downsizing and right sizing, while salaries for those at the top are super-sizing.

“Honey and kids sit down.  My company just right sized me today. Where do you want to go out and have dinner?  Sweetie check the coupon draw.”

I was connected to a new friend the other day.  His jargon was very direct. The company had a reduction of 5000 people overall and that meant that 40% of the people in San Diego lost their jobs.  That’s quite the hair cut I thought.

He was in consumer electronics.  He summarized his job as follows:

“I had a portfolio of products some of which were growing at 400% a year and some that were declining at 400% a year.”

Welcome to technology in the New Normal. When was the last time your saw a Walkman or bought a CD at Starbucks?

I asked my new friend what do you want to do in the future.

”Not what I did in the past,” was his answer.  Smart decision.

I had a nice lunch with a great friend the other day. Her previous company was completing a move from California to the Mid-West.

Is nobody coming home to California anymore Joni?

We talked about the implications of mixing two diverse cultures from different parts of the country.

She said everyone had received a memo saying that all benefits were being harmonized.  What a lovely word. Harmonizing.  I am sure that it will not be music to the ears of some folks who will eventually have their benefits cut.

Where I live in Southern CA there is a Pharma Company that is involved in a hostile takeover with a company from the East Coast.  The Chairman of that company, who is worth a billion dollars, says that the company they are pursuing is bloated.

No talk about his compensations being bloated or about his company’s multibillion dollar debt being bloated.

The result was that 1,500 scientists will lose their jobs.  The kind of jobs that are badly needed in the OC. The type of people that can afford to buy houses in OC.

I wonder if Mr. Bloat thinks about that when he helicopters with his friends to Montauk for the weekend.  Does he worry about the 1,500 who have lost their jobs?  Nope. Not a thought in the world as the clouds go by.

I talked to a sales person this week about their goals and how they were evaluated.  He worked for a company whose product had been surpassed by the competition.   His company’s product was overpriced. The category wasn’t growing. The number of competitors had doubled. Yada Yada Yada.

He said the company had goals and stretch goals that came up from time to time.  The goals were what you needed to meet to keep your job and receive a small bonus.  The stretch goals were drinking the Kool-Aid goals. Sure you are great and you can do it.  Yea Yea Yea.  Rah Rah Rah.  You are thinking while you are laughing and smiling that you need to stop on the way home to have a shot of tequila.

He said that when evaluation time comes and salary increase time comes out guess what goal come out of the closet?  Pop goes the weasel. You are not meeting your stretch goals.  No more laughter in the lobby of your boss’s favorite hotel chain. Wonder if they got a room upgrade last night?

Yes I hear a lot of job jargon in the New Normal.

The only way to avoid Job Jargon is to create your own language.  That is hard to do. I don’t have any job jargon at Blank and Associates but that’s because I work for myself. I can starve to death or I can get fired and I decided long ago which is the better choice.

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