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Ten of the Most Annoying Office Buzzwords

This week in the news it was decided that the word “skinny” is the newest buzzword to reach the masses and take on a whole new meaning. Barbara Lippert, an advertising and pop culture expert, explained on The Early Show that the term really caught on when Bethenny Frankel started using it on The Real Housewives of New York and later in naming her popular Skinnygirl products franchise. It was taboo before,” Lippert said. “Bethenny…(is) not afraid to be brash and direct and say, ‘Why don’t you put your fork down?”‘ And now think of all the things that are skinny: skinny jeans, skinny drinks, etc.,

That term has taken on a whole new meaning in the vernacular as do certain words in corporate culture. The dreaded office buzzwords have also taken on a whole new life in the last decade and it doesn’t seem to be a good one. “When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For DummiesThey also can lead to more confusion between employees and managers because some of the ways these words are used literally have no meaning. These buzzwords are just trying to sugarcoat negative or challenging parts of work. A woman who works on the business side of a pharmaceutical giant said one of the corporate jargon words she really hates is bandwidth. “It is just a reference to how much stuff you actually have to do,” she said. She said it is used constantly and is annoying because it is just a cleaner way to say we still have a ton of work to do with this.

Let’s look at some of the most annoying buzzwords making their rounds in offices today.

Circle Back
This is a middle management term for “we’ll come back to this later at a better time.” It would be too difficult just to say that though.

Low hanging fruit
Things that are easy to reach for or very attainable goals. From WiseGeek, “The fruit contained on these lower branches may be not be as ripe or attractive as the fruit on higher limbs, but it is usually more abundant and easier to harvest.”

I feel like this has ruined picking easy-to-reach fruit for me. It makes me feel like I’m trying enough because I didn’t climb to the top of the tree.

Meaning to share information. As in, “We need to socialize this concept with our key stakeholders.” said it best about this term: “The real meaning behind this is to bring one’s idea into the light so that it may be hammered down with thrilling non-sequiturs and the sheer force of endless debate in meeting after meeting until the original intent is completely obscured and lost to the wind.”

Eight more annoying office buzzwords!

Photo: Frank Boston/

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