Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit

For those people who know me well, it is no secret that I'm somewhat of a bookworm and have been known to get lost in bookstores, and especially, in used bookstores. There's a plethora of hidden treasures that can be found in those endless stacks of literary genius (and some not so "genius") .

On one such used bookstore adventure, my wife found this little nugget:

The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk.

Now, doesn't that title just jump out at you and make you wonder about the content? It did that to me. In my twisted way of thinking, the title alone justified its purchase. In the introduction, author Lois Beckwith says:

A new era of corporate bullshit is upon us, and it is far more sinister than the words some Bschool grad, crusty veteran, or dot-com kid can dole out. It goes beyond empty phrases like "at the end of the day," "a sense of urgency," and "on the same page" and corrupts words like "lunch," "celebrate," "passion," and "commitment," which take on whole new meanings in this environment.

However, the most dangerous element of corporate bullshit is outside the realm of language altogether. This sickness has placed a stranglehold on our culture of work, affecting how we relate to and treat each other. It enables incompetence, iniquity, and frankly, inhumanity. At this point, language is merely the vehicle through which the bullshit is communicated. (p. 2-3)

Well there you have it; a "lexicon of empty, enraging, and just plain stupid office talk" for that hard-to-shop-for corporate business professional on your shopping list, or just for those looking for a great bathroom* reader. Happy reading.

*bathroom 1. the place where you go to perform essential bodily functions 2. the first place you are shown as a new employ, by a fellow staffer who is resisting telling you all the reasons it sucks to work there 3. for the cubicle set, the favored place for crying when struck by a particularly rough breakup, unfair retribution/public humiliation from the boss, or the overwhelming sense that your life is shit and you're never going anywhere, ever 4. site of bizarre intragender scolding regarding hygiene [primarily female], found in the form of eight-and-one-half-by-eleven-inch sheets of paper taped to the wall castigating fellow users with statements in the spirit of "Your mother does not work here"; "Learn to love the art of flushing"; "If you sprinkle when you tinkle …"; and "Were you raised in a barn?!" 5. also realm of uncomfortable monitoring/timing when it's okay to do a number two; some employees, most frequently men, will attempt to casually make their way to or from the bathroom with reading material, as if they are not announcing either "I am about to" or "I just did" take a shit; execs tend to relieve themselves with abandon, indicating their place in the social hierarchy, and may even conduct conference calls while on the can, an act that makes those in the bathroom uncomfortable as well as those who are subjected to the sound of flushing in the background during their meeting. 6. may also be the site of repeated encounters with a weird person, whom you get trapped in small talk with, or of a supreme busting in which you are openly bitching/gossiping with a coworker only to have your boss or another senior staffer emerge from a stall. (p. 11-12)

Photo Credit: Frances Ellen; Flickr Creative Commons

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