Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Corporte World Lingo

The Corporate world is full of jargon, artificial-sounding buzzwords and inane catch-phrases, often rolled into one. As an IT Software developer who’s been in the industry for many years, I have been the recipient of many of these.  They say one thing but it means something totally different. I can’t help but roll my eyes every time I hear them.  Some of these may sound familiar -- check it out:

What they say: I need someone who can hit the ground running.
What it really means: It really means "I’m totally screwed. I desperately need someone to bail my sorry ass out of trouble." No one can hit the ground running -- you need time to at least assess what race you're in and who else is running.

What they say: Do you have the bandwidth?
What it really means: "You seem like your brain is fried. Can you pull yourself together to do this for me?"

What they say: Let's hit a home run.
What it really means: "I'm desperate to look good. It's the only thing that'll save me." (closely related to "hit the ground running").

What they say: You and I are not on the same page.
What it really means: "Get on my page. Your page is messed up."

What they say: Let's run the numbers and see how they look.
What it really means: "I know they look bad on first blush. But the true use of Excel is to keep changing the formulas until you find a format that makes the numbers look good."

What they say: My plate is full
What it really means: "Help I'm drowning with work" or "I would kill rather kill myself than to work on your project."

What they say: Let's close the loop
What it really means: "Let me make sure I'm not going to get into trouble for this one."

What they say: Let's touch base next week.
What it really means: "I don't want to talk to you now," or "You are on a short leash and you need to report back to me."

What they say: Keep this on your radar
What it really means: "This will come back to bite you...or me. So keep an eye on it."

What they say: Push the needle.
What it really means: "Take things to the next level"

What they sayLet’s Leverage what we can for this project.
What it really means: Lets recycle previous work as much as possible.

What they say: We always follows the best practices in the industry.
What it really means: We always do it how everyone else is doing it.

What they say: We truly believe that Project X will add value to the organization.
What it really means: We’re trying to come up with as many reasons as possible to justify our program's existence.

What they say: We believe our product will impact bottom line in a positive way
What it really means: Our program is going to make money for the company.

If you’re an IT coolie... oops, sorry I meant IT Software professional... like me, you’ve surely heard most (or all) of these.  If you have any more good ones like this, pass it on to me.... if you have the bandwidth! ;-)


  1. awesome!!! But you don't have to be an IT coolie to encounter them, any corporate job in US will suffice.

    What they say: Are you a team player?
    What they mean: Are u willing to take the blame for the plan that went wrong, even though you were against the plan in the 1st place.

    what they say: I need this, like, yesterday.
    What they mean: I was busy slacking off until now and just realized I have a deadline to meet and since I am your boss, you pay for it!

    What they say: it's in the pipeline.
    what they mean: I am buying time for whatever it is that will make me look good to you.

    Just a few off the top of my head....

  2. @Neelam... wow, very nice ones Neelam. Very accurate translation too. I guess you do "have the bandwidth" after all! ;-)

  3. Truly informative; these idioms and phrases are least used by the common man and more used by the corporate honchos. Nice work!!!

    From: www.sriramnivas.com

  4. @sriramnivas.... Thank you. BTW, Nice blog site you got, dude!

  5. Haha:) Great. My favorite one is My plate is full!!!
    Have a wonderful week ahead.

  6. I think I have read this post before and commented as well.

    Had fun reading it...:) Anyone would have great time reading it over and over again...:)

  7. @Saru... Thanks so much. Good to see your comments. Glad you liked the post.

  8. interesting and thoughtful realistic meanings

  9. It would take a lot of time for me to get accustomed to this corporate lingo. The phrases and their translation were informative for me. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Thanks Vaishali! Yeah, Corporate lingo is so artificial and it takes a while to get used to it. But after so many years in the industry, I've pretty much heard it all by now! :-P