Buzzwords. Corporate Culture’s Greatest Monstrosities.

Buzzword Hatred

Capitalizing buzzwords in cutesey ways annoys me as much someone writing their name with a little heart over the 'i'.

I was just over at Patrick Richard aka The Hard-Nosed Project Manager’s blog. He’s got quite a rant going over a recent podcast on “How to be a Successful eXtreme Project Manager” that apparently chewed up 1 hour, 5 minutes and 16 seconds of his life. He’ll never get that time back, and in commiseration I’ll be having a drink for him later.

I’ve written about my thoughts on buzzwords and jargon before. Mostly, I hate them, although sometimes my hatred is more of a low-grade dislike. What I hate most about them isn’t so much the fact that the term’s been coined, but what people do with it after.

You see, even though they know on some level that it’s wrong, people feed buzzwords. The buzzwords have as little meaning as they always did, but it doesn’t stop people from nurturing them through repetition or using them wrong (and then repeating someone using them wrong). It’s not unlike a child surreptitiously feeding Cheetos to a zoo animal despite warning signs all around. To demonstrate perfectly my feelings about buzzwords, a new (very cheesy-looking) horror movie trailer is currently making its rounds on the web. Play the video, and while you watch, pretend it’s about the creation of a buzzword. In that light the dialogue is perfect (and also makes the video very funny IMO).

I present you the darkest side of corporate culture’s creative endeavours. I present you….
(Buzzword) Splice.

Splice The Movie

Imagine the inside of a buzzword lab.
The terror is unspeakable.

 

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I’m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.
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  • My least favorite thing about buzzwords – if you don't use them people think you don't have anything valuable to say.

  • Heya Perry! Thanks for the input! See, my big problem with what you've just said (and I know it's completely true), is that people seem to have this tendency to confuse fluff with substance. It may have something to do with the how every time I pass the cashier at the supermarket, the fad diet is completely different that the one that was there the previous week. Nobody ever apologizes for the fact that the previous weeks' fad diet was completely worthless (as this weeks' will likely be)…the only thing that seems to be important is to repeat the same message that's been pounded a billion ways to Friday using new language. And then everybody nods their heads (in much the same way as inanimate dashboard bobble heads do when you smack them) as if to affirm the validity of the new language and how great it is.

    Here's the facts as I see them: when you sit and tell the truth in a meeting, and are speaking genuinely, you're doing a hell of a lot more for your project than any of the people who are jaded by the fact that you aren't on top of the latest buzzword. You're actually getting work done!!

  • PatrickRichard

    Hey!

    I don’t like buzzwords either; I actually call Three Letter Acronyms TLA salad (you can toss it…)
    Anyways, I found your post funny in a scary kind of way. I think there is a movie in there, let’s tentatively call it “Buzzers”, about a buch of corporate zombies that only talk in buzzwords and TLAs.

    Of course the movie would be rated C for Corporate; we don’t want kids to see it, do we?

  • HAHAHAHA no you absolutely can't let kids see it. Hell, even a lot of grownups would need something to calm them down before going to a movie like that!! 🙂

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  • Anonymous

    It that is what he sells, I hope his hourly is damn low.  I’m
    thinking that Mr. DeCarlo should retire, find a quiet spot far away
    from civilization, and bang on his drum to his heart’s content…
     

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