Top 5 (workplace) phrases that drive me crazy

When I returned to work after maternity leave, ask brain already a bit frazzled from baby number two, I was gobsmacked at just how many new phrases had found their way into office speak in the year that I had been off. These ones are used on a daily basis in my place and I must fess up, I know I am guilty of using them too. Cringe.

So here’s my top 5 phrases that drive me crazy (in the workplace) Read more on todays’ Listography over at Kate Takes 5.

1. On the same page – As in, lets make sure we both agree and are saying the same thing before we present this / tell someone else about it. On the same page suggests we’re reading a story to one another.

2. Let’s syndicate / socialise that first – As in, lets share our idea or proposal with the people we want to agree to this and get them ‘on board’ before we officially tell everyone its what we want to do. In my first week back, it was suggested I socialise a document with two key people before I sent it to a wider group by email. When I asked the question as to how to socialise a document (still claiming baby brain for the first week or so) I was told to email it to them!

3. Touch Base – As in ‘I’ll touch base with Geoff before we go to the meeting to make sure we’re on the same page.’ Frankly I don’t want to touch anyone I work with anywhere thank you.

4. Take it off line – As in, we’ll discuss this out with this meeting. Let’s just say that then.

5. Circle the Horses – I really don’t know what this means. I think its the opposite of ‘going round the houses.’ I think it means being sensible and checking in with the appropriate people first, ensuring you’ve thought of everything and considered all options before settling on a final solution. I hope thats what it means because I used it this week and received lots of approving nods – jeez – I might have committed to doing something completely different and be totally unawares.

Cringe indeed.

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  1. Oh my word! I am so glad I didn’t go back to working in London after my maternity leave because I would have been in for a massive shock. Circle the Horses. That is definitely a new one to me. Someone must have felt very important when they came up with that nugget!

  2. Sounds like a lot of Americanisms have crept in. I’ve heard all of these before, and a very long time ago… but I used to work for an American company and so associated it with that. Like “you do the math”! Ha! I always hated projects being referred to as “baby”, like “this project is your baby”, or the other extreme “you are the champion of this project”. I can’t stand corporate speak. Love your list!!

  3. In one meeting, I kid you not, someone said ‘Let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.’ I think my mouth fell open but I did manage not to call them a t**t.

  4. oh lush list. Totally agree. Cringe. Touch base?? WTF? Great list. x

  5. Love this list! Mine are mainly workplace too. Why do we say such shocking things?!

  6. Brilliant. I had lots of these in mind when I wrote this listography (except the second and last one – new to me). These problem is I know for a fact that I used the other ones too- they get into your brain and before you know if you’re spouting robotic statements your self. Be Warned!

  7. Super Mummy says:

    Ally – I massively dislike it when it’s used alongside ‘We don’t want to set hares running’ Too many animal references for the workplace I say!

  8. Super Mummy says:

    Feck, seriously Caroline? I’m going to use it on Monday completely dead pan and see if anyone laughs in my face. That is dire!

    PS – anyone I know? 😉

  9. Super Mummy says:

    This one is hubby’s biggest bug bear too – he has it up there with ‘reaching out’ to someone! Jeez.

  10. Super Mummy says:

    …and why do we think its acceptable to say them? Oooh – just thought of another one – ‘lets put it into the melting pot.’ Blaaaa.

  11. Super Mummy says:

    I’m blushing thinking about some of the ones I spout forth on a daily basis Kate. I’m be keeping myself in check closely this week..

  12. Super Mummy says:

    I think you are right, lots of Americanisms in there, think that might be what makes them even more cringe-worthy – so out of place perhaps?


    Thanks for dropping in x

  13. I heard an equivalent shocker to the ‘socialise’ one…where people are expected to ‘post’ to people (which also means email or contact them). Thankfully most of these still haven’t made it out to Buckinghamshire where I work.

  14. Super Mummy says:

    Post? Who on earth makes these up? I wonder if that’s a job in itself?!

  15. Can we ‘diarise’ something for next week? Arrgh – this one makes my skin crawl.

  16. Super Mummy says:

    Oh yes Rebecca, that’s another good (read annoying) one!

  17. Gemma Coupar says:

    We don’t really have phrases like that,but I HATE all the TLA’s (three letter acronyms!) for everything…last week I heard myself saying,”in PAT I have some AOB for the RME group that needs to be completed before it goes to SMT in the WDH”…scary thing was that no-one even flinched and everyone knew exactly what I meant!!!oh dear!!
    Am particularly loving the flagpole reference…will see if I can slip it in at the next meeting!!

  18. Super Mummy says:

    Oh Gemma how funny! I have no idea what any of those acronyms mean, but how hilarious that in your world its the norm.

    Thanks for commenting.

    PS – I was going to try out the flagpole one today but just. not. brave. enough.

  19. New ones on me here. which probably goes to show how long I have stayed away from the joys or otherwise of the workplace

  20. Love the post, I’m back part time in that environment too so am surrounded by all this nonsense for 3 days a week. Funny how we only realise how ridiculous it all is once we’ve had time off on maternity leave and come to our senses.

  21. Super Mummy says:

    Kate – count your blessings – you’d be sucked back into office speak before long!

  22. Super Mummy says:

    Thanks Deborah – but also funny (or not!) how quickly we find ourselves doling out the same annoying phrases before too long again!

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