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WORK LIFE -FLIGHTS OF FANCY

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From 'seagull management' to 'ohnosecond' - Mel Usher offers some light relief for the office worker ...
From 'seagull management' to 'ohnosecond' - Mel Usher offers some light relief for the office worker

Another summer is upon us and with it a little light reading. It has been another bumper year for ersatz management speak and office jargon. How many of these have caught your ear?

Blamestorming Sitting around, usually in a large group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed. Ultimately, the group members would like to identify someone to blame who is not in the room.

Seagull manager A manager who flies in unannounced, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything and then leaves. Rogue ones have even been known to attack innocent bystanders and need to be shot.

Chainsaw consultant An expert called in to advise the 'staff-reduction working party' on numbers. Will be much in demand after chancellor Gordon Brown's spending review.

Arsemosis A complex process - but one which is outrageously transparent when identified - by which one person in your team absorbs the success of others and then sucks up to the boss to ensure all of the credit goes their way.

Salmon day When a whole day seems to consist of swimming upstream, leaping past rocks and avoiding predators only to arrive at your destination to get screwed and die.

Stress puppy Someone who spends so much time bitching, whining and stressing about everything that they never find time to do any real work. Usually they are late, incompetent, inadequate and boring too.

Percussive maintenance The delusional art of thumping, kicking or beating your computer to make it log on, log off, print, delete or find. Not recommended when the office alpha geek or IT manager is around.

Adminisphere The organisational layer that starts just above supervisor but is below the strategic level. Decisions that fall from here are usually profoundly inappropriate or just irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

Administrivia Needless paperwork, forms and processes arising from

the above.

Ohnosecond That minuscule period when time stands still just after you realise you have made a very big mistake.

For example when you hit 'reply all' when describing your boss's new haircut. Or when the person next to you at the office party turns out to be the partner of the person whose affair you just revealed in sordid detail. Or when after a few drinks at a reception you call the new leader of the Local Government Association 'Bruce'.

Xerox subsidy Euphemism for swiping large numbers of free photocopies to ensure your kids finish their school projects on time.

Cube farm An office filled with those shoulder height cubicles or screens that are supposed to cut out noise,

but don't.

Prairie dogging When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm and peoples' heads pop up over the screens to see what is happening.

Crop dusting Surreptitiously farting while passing through a cube farm, then enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust. This often leads to rapid and violent prairie dogging.

Egowall A wall on which people hang their certificates, awards or degrees. Sometimes accompanied by pictures of them with minor celebrities or the mayor. Double points for spotting whether any of these apply to their children.

Ditto heads Those people in the management team who mindlessly agree with a proposal not because of its merits, but because they are supporters of the person who advanced it.

Joy-to-stuff ratio (the real work/life balance) The time a person has to enjoy life versus the time taken to accumulate material goods. Includes time spent at a hateful job that is tolerated in order to earn sufficient income to purchase fancy cars, expensive clothes and other non-essentials.

Mel Usher

Consultant

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