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Office buzzwords drilling down on American culture

Tired of running it up the flagpole? Worried you may be the low-hanging fruit? It might be time to circle back on office buzzwords.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News Modified: April 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm •  Published: April 29, 2014
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Office jargon is taking a deep dive right into American culture.

The terms and speak often used among workers and cubicles was the subject of The Atlantic’s piece last week, titled “The Origins of Office Speak” (note: the article may contain strong language.) Writer Emma Green cycled through multiple buzzwords and office jargon categories in giving the full scope of how people use these words in the workplace.

“Over time, different industries have developed their own tribal vocabularies,” Green wrote. “Some of today’s most popular buzzwords were created by academics who believed that work should satisfy one’s soul; others were coined by consultants who sold the idea that happy workers are effective workers.”

The different categories of words, which not only define the times but also the workplace environment where they were created, range from phrases used for micromanaging to those used when things are being run up the flagpole (bonus points if you caught that buzzword reference).

Office speak, though, may help workers in a great way, Green wrote.

“Everyone makes fun of it, but managers love it, companies depend on it, and regular people willingly absorb it,” Green wrote. “In a workplace that’s fundamentally indifferent to your life and its meaning, office speak can help you figure out how you relate to your work—and how your work defines who you are."

But office buzzwords could be bringing big problems to the workplace, Maddie Crum wrote for The Huffington Post last week. Language is doing more than just defining things in the workplace, it has effects on what people do in the workplace as well.

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