The 15 Dumbest Things You Hear at Work

I want to point out the most ridiculous work sayings or cliches that really get on my nerves. It's as if taking something simple and phrasing it in an idiotic and often nonsensical way has become a key part of fitting into corporate culture. I say NO. Let's take a look at my favorite 15 of these gems...

15) Best Shored – as in, we’re going to have this project “best shored.” Ouch. Talk about euphemisms. This isn’t even proper English AND it’s insulting and foreboding all at the same time.

14) Too Many Indians, Not Enough Chiefs -- I'm amazed that in our politically correct world, this phrase seems to linger on. And in reality, it's usually the other way around-- there are far too many middle managers trying to prove that their jobs have some meaning and impact and not enough people actually doing work.

13) Run it up the Flagpole and see if someone salutes it -- Wow. This is guilty of so many things, but most importantly of trying to tie poetic imagery and patriotism into a business decision.

12 ) Evolutionary not Revolutionary -- we get it, you're talking about incremental change. But the fact that this rhymes does not merit that ridiculously smug look you get after you say it.

11) Can't Change a Leopard's Spots-- Are you saying that some things are permanent? Wow, great observation! You're so clever!

10) Do you have Enough Bandwidth? – The answer to this is always supposed to be yes but in reality is no. Why bother asking it? And does it make sense to use a networking metaphor to discuss the 45 year old woman in accounting's availability?

9) Let's not Fight the Tide -- this is humorous because the person that says it generally would stand no chance of fighting anything but a twinkie wrapper. You know what I mean, too.

8) Let's Not Go Into "Solution Mode" Yet – Immediate translation: I have no plan. Secondary comment: I didn't realize that you had to enter a particular state of mind to solve a problem. Shouldn't companies always be in “solution mode”?

7) Keep the Train on the Tracks -- this essentially says nothing. Trains are at their very foundation of design meant to stay on tracks. A derailment is a one-in-a-million accident, not something you have to actively work against. Yet this is said as if it’s an everyday occurrence.

6) Sing from the Same Hymn Book -- not only is this offensive to people who don't practice organized relgion, but anyone that has sung from a hymn book knows that half the people are frantically trying to find what verse they're on while the ones that are singing are butchering the song. By the time the first half catches on to where they are, everyone else is at “amen.”

5) Work to a Program -- as opposed to working haphazardly? “Hey boss, I want to work as randomly as possibly, OK?”

4) Tighten our Belt -- belts go around the middle... meaning we're going to squeeze the people who actually do the work, and leave the top alone.

3) Give 150% -- you are aware that this is actually an impossible task, yes? Then why do you say this at practically every meeting?

2) Peel Back the Onion – This is an insanely odd reference, as I can pretty much guarantee most people don’t peel back onions ever, yet for some reason that’s become a basic part of their job description.

And the #1 worst work saying:

1) Come to Jesus Meeting -- With one phrase, you have taken a simple concept of a group discussion and managed to make both Christians and non-Christians feel uncomfortable. That right there, is 100% of the people, and is worthy of recognition.

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Bonus for reading this far... Dilbert's "diagnosis"...
Can he lead a normal life?
No, he'll be an engineer.

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theTruth theTruth
31-35, M
48 Responses Jun 7, 2008

Someone once rang me up and asked if I would like to meet to discuss arrangements 'going forwards'. The cliché irritated me so much I didn't go ahead with the meeting. I just said 'I don't think there's much point, do you? I have met the person since but did not hear the expression 'going forwards' once. Believe me I would have noticed; it's like a stone in the shoe to me. Cliches: kill 'em off!

Another one I hate is ''Moving Forward''..ugh

"Panties in a bunch" is the worst

Im surprised no one thought of "No worries". I never heard of that term before I started working for a real company and its so OVER USED. If I ever hear that f*cking term one more time, I'm am going to punch somebody in the face. I am so thankful to have found this. I seriously thought I was the only one. I thought when I got annoyed at these things that I wasnt made for the cooperate world but thats not true. You just get sick to death of hearing the same thing over and over! Its human nature damnit! Thank you to the author of this article and the replyers.

I hate "as well as" and "forward thinker" , and definitely "touching base" I've even heard "touching bases" (the plural version I guess). agghhh I scream everytime, and want to rip and shred my co-workers faces until they look like freddie kruger!! i'm in office cliche hell! oh, and let's not forget the trip to the lunchroom "are you coming with?" with what? my uzi? my machete? my sharp wit? just what is it you are asking exactly, please finish the sentence, it's maddening.

Okay. let's have a Come to Moses meeting, but only if The Mountain Won't Come to Mohammed.

I guess I should be thankful that no one where I work ever says any of these things I think it must be an American thing. <br />
The only repeated phrase I hear is "going to the port?"<br />
Which means the local pub.

"Can you work Saturday?" That's worse than ALL these combined!

Looks like someone has a bad case of the Mondays.

My worst was when my boss was on a kick where she kept talking about how we needed a paradigm shift in our thinking. We were also required to read the book "Who Moved My Cheese?"

I have to add mine to this. My ex boss's absolute favourite, is: "Well, the ball is in your court" - I really loved this one, especially since the decision that he was refering to, was actually his to make.

I hate them all!<br />
my boss used them all the time

good post... one of the ones I *hate* is: <br />
<br />
You need to have skin in the game.... <br />
<br />
Oy, I just hate that... makes me cringe every single time. Yes, I know its a sports reference and I like sports but I just hate the phrase!!!!!!!

Never heard of "Come to the Jesus meeting". But oh, at work I got so tired of "ball park figures" and people being "given the red card" and "bottom lines" and "ducks in a row" and "close of play" and "tell the troops" and "cascading down" and "have a nice one" (a nice WHAT?) and "take on board" and "moving the goalposts" and "proactive" (UGGGH!) and "actioning" things, and "brainstorming" and "incentivise" and "out of the loop" and "touching base." Sometimes I am really glad I have just retired!

It's extraordinarily irritating to hear "Now you see the thing is" three times in a single sentence about a single subject. Mix this in with "You see, the thing wrong with you kids today..."<br />
sweet jesus!

"Come to Jesus meetings?" I've never heard; I'm not even sure what that means. The two things that I hate hearing at work are:<br />
1. "Think outside the box." Dear Lord, I will personally stuff the next person who says that at my workplace into a box, tape it shut and send it to Siberia,<br />
2. "It is what it is." Oh, really? Is it? That's like saying, "Today is tomorrow's yesterday," or some other stupid surfer philosophy $#%!

I have never, ever heard of a "Come to Jesus Meeting". My all time lit cigerette in the eye is "We need everyone to be on board". Usually followed up with the 150% effort thing. Oh and being called a "team member". That's just patronizing.

haha this was funny. I've only ever worked retail or food service so I can't really relate. Witty story, though.

We use the "Six Hat Theory" of problem solving.<br />
<br />
If youre wearing your red hat you are expressing your feelings.<br />
<br />
White hat is stating the facts.<br />
<br />
Green hat is brain storming.<br />
<br />
Yellow hat is strategize and reorganize.<br />
<br />
Black hat is playing devils advocate and questioning ideas. <br />
<br />
and Blue Hat represents mental strategizing as a whole.<br />
<br />
I want to gag evertime the CEO says "OK everyone lets get on our Yellow hats." HAHAHA. What grade are we in again? I think of my kidergarten teacher every freaking time. I keep waiting for someone to yell "Criss cross applesauce" during one of our team meetings. Yack.

In our office, some people are still attempting to brainstorm!

I hate it when they say " My door is always open ".

OMG - I find it incredible that among some of the finest minds here, none of us came up with "read between the lines." I especially like this one when the report is double-spaced. I like to write stuff between the lines so that there's something to read - snide comments, Linda Blair from the Exorcist quotes, similar quotes from the Saturday Night Live parody of Linda Blair, dirty limericks......

Look, "people," if we can't get you "thinking outside the box" (don't forget the obligatory accompanying hand motions with that one), can we at least "interface" (insert two-handed finger quotation marks here) about whether we're even "on the same page of the playbook?" Or are we going to have to "go back to Square One?" We could "take this one over the top!" But to be "proactive" about "the whole nine yards," let's get to "the long and short of it." How about we "brainstorm this at the quarterly corporate retreat coming up next month? Where we will make lemonade of the lemons we've just been handed" BLMPHM!!! (Closest I could come to the noise of disgust that came out when I re-read this.) But I wanted to play, too.

How about being "proactive instead of reactive", which is almost the same as "nipping it in the bud". I usually hear being on the same page instead of hymn sheet, and I have never heard the Jesus meeting one. Lol, that's a scary one!

At the office I work in, we don't get the typical sayings. Instead, the owner got a huge grease board to write the phrase of the week on it, which is on the wall right when you walk in. For the past month it has been a drawing of a key with the saying, "Your key to happiness." It makes me cringe every time I see it.

hahaha nice i like it! yeah...those things are annoying and the people who say them are like the biggest nerdbombers in the world. (no offense to THOSE guys lol!!) kinda reminds me of micheal from the Office. those are some things HE would say lol!! AND he would then want to host a 5k for the cure of rabies. hahaha

let's put this behind us and move forward.....<br />
The last bloke who told me that, well we just don't do any business together now

Oh God... I'm looking for a job, I don't need this kind of disincentive right now! <br />
<br />
Technically you could give 150%, if you did were half as productive again as you were *last* time. 'Course if you kept on doing that you'd need to be exponentially productive, which would get tiring.

this is a great list.. but really we answer to our customers so why don't we:<br />
run it up the flagpole and see if someone salutes<br />
rub it on the cat and see if it licks it off <br />
or put it outside and see if the dog eats it.

I am so glad that only a few of these terms are used here in the UK otherwise I'd have purchased a shotgun and done some serious damage by now.<br />
I'm also glad that you pointed them out in such a constructive manner - perhaps your fellow countrymen will see the light finally.<br />
I shall paste your link to anyone who says to me any of the clichés you mentioned - it's either that or a fist in the face.

"Why don't you "reach out" to so-and-so...?"<br />
<br />
Um, you mean you want me to CALL or EMAIL so-and-so?

I hate the phrase "supplying all your (blank) needs". Why not just say "we have 20 years experience in engineering school buildings" or whatever it is you are working on. Describe what you do and so forth.

I hate the phrase "supplying all your (blank) needs". Why not just say "we have 20 years experience in engineering school buildings" or whatever it is you are working on. Describe what you do and so forth.

"Are we singing from the same hymn sheet yet?"

you should see how people look at me when I say we should think on 'top of the melon". why does it have to be a box. and precisely where outside of the box should we think? Does thinking in a different place make you think better?<br />
Personally, I like "come to Jesus" because it sounds cultlike

'Let's hear the buzz words'

How about....<br />
<br />
"Let's take this off-line"<br />
<br />
"Why don't we circle back"<br />
<br />
"Go get the low-hanging fruit"<br />
<br />
Great list guys!

Lest us not forget an all time classic. "We all need to be on the same sheet of music."

"Take it to the wire"<br />
<br />
"Blue sky thinking" = blue sky b*ll<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
"Push it outside the envelope"

"Let's connect next week" and the overly used "I'll circle back with you"

what about developing "holistic plans" or "optimizing the solutions"<br />
<br />
both terms for watering down good ideas...

Out of everything that I've heard in the workplace, I've got to go with "Come to Jesus meetings" as being the worst. There is something just ... massively wrong with that phrase.

I'm with Tobi - "touching base" is the worst ever.<br />
<br />
Other annoying work lingo:<br />
<br />
"Synergy!" (Also "synergize!")<br />
"The reality is..."<br />
"To your point..."<br />
"Phenomenal Growth"<br />
"Growing The Business"<br />
"Wow Factor"

My mom gives me "Come to Jesus talks" if I do bad in school or get caught doing something

"Come to Jesus Meeting?!?" Goodness, you must be in the buckle of the biblebelt!<br />
<br />
We hear "Think Outside the Box" all day - so much so that "outside" of the box has now become the box...

I HATE IT when someone wants to "touch base" with me.

You have #14 backwards. The saying is: "Too many chiefs and not enough indians." <br />
Also: "Cover all our bases" is not a baseball reference it is a military strategy. Failure to cover your bases will mean "All your bases are belong to me."<br />
Alright, just kidding about the bases but, very serious about the indians.