I had no supervision today, and instead of working hard, I made a short list of phrases I hear people at work say all the time. A few of these are pretty universal, others are endemic to my workplace.
“In full transparency.” As anyone who has ever held a job might expect, this phrase spoken by your boss indicates that the next words you’re going to hear are complete lies. They are clearly lying–hence, “transparent.”
“Y’know what I mean?” A perennially hated classic, in this case it is asked in a rapid, whiny, insistent tone. It indicates that the speaker is unsure if they themselves know what they mean, but hopes that you’ll find some point in what they’re saying and agree with it.
“I appreciate you.” I’ve hearing this quite a bit lately. I appreciate that you appreciate me–nevertheless, could you save it for when I do something more consequential than handing you a photocopy? You are making me suspicious that you don’t, in fact, appreciate me at all. Waaah.
“No worries.” A popularly hated phrase. This would be fine in a situation in which one might have good reason to be worried about putting someone out, but it comes off as mildly offensive when there should be no cause for worries. It implies you might have inconvenienced them, but in their infinite generosity, they wish to assure you that you didn’t. Typically used when someone is not even going out of their way to do their job.
“To be quite honest.” Another indicator that you are about to be lied to or criticized unfairly. By informing you that they possess the virtue of honesty, the speaker expects that you will believe their lie more easily. Look how easy it is–just simply tell someone you’re honest and they’ll believe everything you say! Shazam!
“Here’s what I’m going to say.” This announcement is supposed to give the recipient of the criticism or lie the understanding that the case will be shortly closed. It lends an imagined magisterial weight to the criticism and/or lie, forestalling any argument that would immediately destroy it.
“Let me give you the why’s.” Colloquial jargon used to–what else–indicate you are about to be lied to yet again, this time under the guise of casual talk. We’re just chatting about business, you and I, as equals. The boss would never lie to an equal, right? But I don’t know what are usually stupider–the fake “why’s” or the real “why’s.” This is, after all, business.
“Agile.” An adjective used to describe someone who is used as a tool, moved from place to place, task to task, without complaining. Doesn’t matter if they’re any good at even one of the multitude of tasks, just that they do it without complaining. Such an individual is vastly preferable to one who is competent at a specialized job.
“The ‘Johns’.” This is not a common phrase but was developed by the boss. This construction is used when you wish to refer to an entire group by one associate’s name. So, let’s say someone doesn’t like John. She then refers collectively to all associates she doesn’t like as “The Johns.” The name “John” is not literally used–you insert the name of the disliked person. May also, more rarely, be used in cases of referring to a group of liked associates. Not dehumanizing at aaaaaaall.
Got any phrases that really grind your gears or steam your broccoli? Be careful though–I’m one of those “It is what it is” people!