Urban HR dictionary: Your guide to modern office speak

by 01 Jun 2012

With the advent of technology, sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words to describe modern dilemmas…

Someone who is clueless. From the Web error message, “404 not found,” which means the document requested couldn’t be located. “Don’t bother asking the new guy. He’s 404.”

The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

The brief seizure people sometimes suffer when their phone goes off in a meeting, especially in vibrator mode. Characterised by physical spasms, goofy facial expressions, and stopping speech in mid-sentence.

A group discussion of why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

Chainsaw consultant
An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee head count, leaving the top brass with clean hands.

CLM (Career Limiting Move)
Used to describe an ill-advised activity. “Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM.”

Cube Farm
An office filled with cubicles.

Scanning the net, databases, etc., for one’s own name.

Email bankruptcy
A decision to delete all emails older than a certain date, due to an overwhelming volume of messages. During the act of declaring email bankruptcy, an email is usually sent to all contacts explaining the problem, that their message has been deleted, and that if their message still requires a response they should resend their message.

Flight risk
Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave a company or department soon.

Sleeping with your eyes open, common at conferences and early-morning meetings. “Didn’t he notice that by the second session half the room was glazing?”

Grey matter
Older, experienced business people hired by young entrepreneurial firms trying to appear more professional and established.

Keyboard plaque
The disgusting build-up of dirt and crud found on some people’s computer keyboards.

Open-collar workers
People who work at home or telecommute.

Percussive maintenance
The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

A new hire who doesn’t require training. “That new guy is totally plug-and-play.”

Prairie dogging
When something loud happens in a cube farm, causing heads to pop up over the walls trying to see what’s going on.

Salmon day
The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed in the end. “God, today was a total salmon day!”

Seagull manager
A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, sh*ts over everything and then leaves.

Stress Puppy
A person who thrives on being stressed-out and whiny.

Employees who take training classes just to take a holiday from their jobs. “There were only three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists.”

Euphemism for being fired. Also: decruitment.


Top Lighter Side

Mafia-style disposal of a staffer’s mistake
Beards at work are fine, but only if the CEO sports one

Send your employees home at 1pm today