Drop the Ball

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(1).  Expression used to imply someone has not taken proper action when prompted (i.e. shirking or neglecting one’s duties).


“Scott really dropped the ball on that project when he skipped the conference call.  He never referred the information to the client and now they’re irate at us!”


Props to Brad for the submission.


Due Diligence

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(1).  Taking the proper amount of a time (read: an exorbitant amount of time) to vet through a current prospect, acquisition, project, endeavor, thought, initiative, yadda, yadda, yadda.


“Alright everybody, as Sandy always says, we have to do our due diligence on this. I put the timeline at 4-6 months to decide whether or not we are going to buy 1% milk or whole milk for the common kitchen area.  Andrea, you have 2 weeks to put a deck together on the pro’s and con’s for this initiative.”


Duplicate Effort

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(1).  When two people are working on overlapping projects that will basically get you to the same place in the end.


“Now, I don’t want to duplicate effort here, so I think we should let Tom put the presentation for the Honolulu conference together… Ken, why don’t you focus on booking Tom and I flights and hotels for the trip to Hawaii…?”


Earth Day

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(1).  A national holiday commemorating the first time companies started putting a bin in the pantry for old RSA fobs (see WFH-ing) and Blackberry batteries.


“Happy Earth Day everyone!  Today marks the beginning of our green initiative and we will begin to send out all of our invoices electronically.  Clients who still prefer to get a paper copy of their invoice will still receive one of course.  You know what they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day!”


Easy Button

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(1).  A gimmick crafted by the devil himself (Staples) to give people who frequent American Idol concerts and display Troll Dolls on their desks a reason to talk about how hard their job is.


(2).  A plastic red button that people display on their desk as an unfunny, out of date conversation piece.


“Oh man,  I can’t believe how much work I have to get done today!  Wish I had an easy button to just do it for me!  I’ll bet ya Phil Phillips doesn’t have work like this!  Kelly Clarkson??  She has people doing it for her!!  Cat Deeley is so pretty…..”


Eat The Elephant In One Bite

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(1). A safari inspired term that compares taking on too much work in a short period of time, to eating an elephant.  Yup.


“Well David, I don’t want to eat the elephant in one bite here so do we really need the holiday promotion and the clown thing?  I mean, one of these things is not like the other…you know what i mean?”


Eat What You Kill

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(1).  A hunting-inspired term used to explain to new stock brokers that their compensation is completely dependent on their sales numbers.


“Sorry, Brian…you eat what you kill around here, you know.  Didn’t hit your numbers, so off to your new life as a barista you go.”


Props to Mark R. for the submission.



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(1).  A customer’s business environment taking into account all exogenous factors (otherwise known as: reality).


“What we really want to do is get a sense of the ecosystem in which you operate, Sal.  So, what can you tell us about your waste management business?”


Props to Vannprime for the submission.



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(1).  Mysterious secrets known only to business consultants which are intended to make a company operate in a more proficient and cost-effective manner (see achieve scale).  Usually referenced by project managers to indicate to their superiors that they are adding value, when in reality, they are simply maintaining an endless “to do” list.


“Look, Tim, my job here is to find efficiencies that will make us a better business.  Now, if you don’t mind, I have to get back to re-writing our coffee break policies and procedures.”



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(1).  To work on something known to be futile.


“Oh, hi Jim … the Hanson account? … umm … yeah, we’re efforting to get that through the pipeline this week, but … you know … with year-end and all, it might be delayed a bit … umm … sure, I know it’s a really important client … I’ll touch base with you on Monday, okay? … yep, Merry Christmas to you, too…”


Elevator Speech

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(1).  It’s supposed to be a 15 to 30-second speech that pitches your company to a fictitious prospect you meet in an elevator.  Everyone’s sucks and only speakers in marketing seminars think they work.


“Alright, John … so, your elevator speech could use some work.  First off, when someone asks you where you work, you should avoid saying ‘Hell’.”


Email Bomb

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(1). Using the delivery function on Outlook to send an email to make it appear as though you’re in your office when you’re actually at the gym, home, bar, etc.


“Wow! Greg was at work awfully early today!”


“Do you really think he wrote and sent 9 emails at 6:07 a.m.?  He totally dropped an email bomb.”


Props to Jeff Q. for the submission.


Email Voices

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A little while ago, one of our readers (thanks, pperotti!) raised a good point about email. Why do people drop the subject line of sentences in work emails? For example, “Will let you know” instead of “I will let you know”, or “Wanted to check in” instead of “I wanted to check in”. In fact,… Read more »

Emotional Intelligence

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(1).  Some kind of ridiculous psycho-babble about feeling your client’s pain or some crap.


“Alright, team…this is Richard.  He wrote a book on how to improve your emotional intelligence.  I don’t know what it means either, but it sounds like something we should have, so you’re going to spend the rest of the day hearing about it while I hit the range.  Have fun!”



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(1).  When you only hire people in your department who will never, ever pose a threat to you.  That’s one way to find the “best people”, champ.


“So, we’ve had four people come through here that were perfect for the job.  But Florence rejected every one of them.  Trying a little empire-building, I think.  The joke’s on her, though … we’re just going to take away the req.”


Empty Suit

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(1).  Any corporate executive, financial advisor, lawyer or accountant who adds no substance to any situation and are usually present for the purpose of (1) running up fees, or (2) making the client feel important.


“Okay guys, Dave and I will be running the meeting.  Steve, you and Sean are just some empty suits in the room to make the team look bigger.  Sell it!”



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(1). A term that compares the final stages of a project, to the fight to the death between Jacob Kell and Duncan MacLeod in Highlander.


“Well I don’t get it Vito, what’s their endgame here?  Do they want to be the best dog grooming truck on the market or don’t they?  There can be only one!”


Every Finger And Toe Is In The Dike

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(1). A ridiculous term that compares resources being spread too thin, to a human trying to plug a dam that is structurally unsound with their extremities.


“Sorry guys, we just don’t have the bandwidth to pull this damn (pun!) project off.  Every finger and toe is in the dike at the moment.”


props to Sean C. & Jeff L. for the submission.


Exploratory Interview

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(1).  A job interview your dad got you with a company that’s not hiring.


“Next steps?  Well, Jim, this is just an exploratory interview right now, but if something opens up down the road, I’d love to continue our conversation.”


Face Time

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(1).  The tedious task of actually seeing and interacting with your client in person.


(2).  An unwelcome meet-up with your client that happens much too often and usually require a significant amount of traveling.  Most of the time these meet-ups revolve around the clients “hectic” schedule which is either a result of them being bored, or being at a conference in the middle of nowhere.


“Hey Alda, you know what?  I think we should meet up for some face time at the Monarch Butterfly Expo in Albuquerque!  It’s just as short plane, bus and cab drive away from you.  Whaddya say?”


Failing Up

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(1).  Inexplicably continuing to advance in your career irrespective of results, skill, judgment or intelligence.  Good for you, boss!


“I don’t understand it!  Fred is months behind schedule, way over budget and they just gave him another huge project to manage!  Man, talk about failing up!”


Fair Point

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(1).  A polite way to acknowledge a suggestion or idea that you actually think is completely irrelevant or incorrect.


“That’s a fair point, John, and thanks for raising it.  Although, I’m not sure getting back into the subprime mortgage game is the way to go right now.”


Fee Relief

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(1).  An forced acknowledgement by one of your vendors that they’ve been gouging you for years.  They’ll give you a little discount to promote the strong inertia pulling you to stay with them for at least one more year of excellent service!


“Sure, Rita … we’ll take a look at our engagement to see if we can find you a little fee relief.  I have to say, though, we’re operating at breakeven as it is, so ….”



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(1). A general term used to describe both positive and negative comments, often during performance reviews.  As with actual feedback, the comments are usually painful to hear and often result in headaches.



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(1).  Hidden, yet obvious, indications that you had something to do with this, you lousy, conniving ….


“Yeah, well … this report may have Mike’s name on it, but it has Andy’s fingerprints all over it!”


Fire Drill

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(1). A last minute scramble to deal with an artificially-created emergency, usually occurring at approximately four o’clock on a Friday afternoon and whose successful completion results in zero thanks and several missed trains.


First and Foremost

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(1).  A way to signal to everyone in the meeting that this is the only agenda item you want to talk about and that all of the other stuff is meaningless to you.


“Okay, team, well, first and foremost, I want to address 2012 compensation.  I understand many of you may have booked vacations for after the New Year…well, you might want to rethink those plans for now…”


Props to Jerry G. for the submission.


Fiscal Cliff

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(1).  The metaphorical Thelma and Louise ending to 2012, when Congress will absolutely fail to address all of the wacky sunset provisions they enacted in order to get through the November elections.


“We’re heading for a fiscal cliff in December, and you all know it!  And what are we going to do about it, Senators?  Well, I don’t know about you, but I vote for a recess!”


Fish Or Cut Bait

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(1).  Make a decision or get out of the way, New Boss with No Management Experience!


“Look, Jim, you’ve been ‘considering’ our proposal to switch to all-black pens for a week now.  Time to fish or cut bait, you know what I mean?”


Flesh It Out

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(1).  Taking a simple outline and providing all of the details to support it.


“Okay, now picture this…Return of the GO BOTS!  What do you think?  Doesn’t matter…Tom, why don’t you flesh it out and get back to us with a proposal for our Monday morning meeting.  Well, have a good weekend, everyone!”


Props to Ross G. for the submission.


Flesh Out

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(1).  To go back and add more detail to some half-assed idea you mentioned during last Monday’s staff meeting (not to be confused with “flush out”, which probably means something else entirely).


“Hey Dan, thanks for your input here.  I’d like you to flesh out your proposal a bit more, though.  Do you think you can have a functional spec ready for us by next Tuesday?  I know you’re getting married the next day, but this could really help us shave some pennies from our P&L.”


Flight Plan

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(1).  The list of clients being off-boarded after you fire that lousy third-party service provider of yours.


“So, Vish, it looks like we have about 400 accounts we’ll need to include in the flight plan.  Given the level of service we ‘ve been getting for the last couple of years, I’m thinking no termination fee.  Your thoughts?”


Flip Flop

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(1).  When a political candidate changes his mind on an issue.  Because we should all be held to some stupid thing we said 20 years ago in a college paper about God or the environment.  I don’t know about you guys, but most of my college papers were written in about 45 minutes the night before it was due.  Who knows what I said?!


“This just goes to prove that the governor flip flops on the issues.  How can we believe anything he says when we know that in 8th grade he believed the greatest threat to our nation was the New Kids on the Block?  And now he says it’s Iran!  Incredible!”


Floor Acceptance

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(1).  The concurrence of all of the guys in Tech about some new enhancement you want to build, followed by the immediate return to World of Warcraft.


“Let me just socialize this around the office to gain a little floor acceptance and then I think we should be good to go.”



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(1).  A term used to describe a senior manager’s brief attendance at a client meeting in hopes of sufficiently impressing the client so that they stay with the company for at least another year.


“I’m going to take a leak, do a fly-by for the meeting with Jonathan, then it’s off to Cabo!”



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(1).  When information, documents, papers, emails, etc. are placed into a physical or digital folder for organizational ease of use.


“My secretary will folderize all of my invoices according to month so she can file them away appropriately.”


Props to Brad for the submission.


Former Life

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(1).  A euphemism for “my old job” used by people trying to make it look like they have way more experience than they really do.


“In my former life, I used to manage a team responsible for lavatory paper management.  It was a lot of responsibility, but I think I handled the pressures of leadership fairly well.”


Four-Legged Call

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(1). Idiotic expression used to describe a sales call where an account exec is accompanied by his/her manager or other “expert”.


“So, Kyle brought a guy from the fixed income team with him this morning to talk about munis.  I guess he thought he needed to have a four-legged call to land the account.”


Props to Mike J. for the submission.


Fourth of July

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(1).  The annual celebration of the United States’ independence from its doddering, old father, England.  It’s also the day when your neighbor gets to (once again) try to blow his hand off by shooting off insanely illegal fireworks in what seems to be the general direction of your house.


“Hey, Tom.  I’m going to try to bug out at one o’clock today.  Want to beat the traffic out of the city, if I can,  Oh, before you leave, could you put together that P and L report for the board and circulate it to everyone?  Shouldn’t take more than five or six hours, I would think.  Happy Fourth of July!”


Friendly Reminder

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(1). A term used by upper management to politely tell employees that their work is late and/or not up to par.


“Just a friendly reminder that your time sheets are due on the end of each week and that it is NOT ok to mark any time as “miscellaneous”.  We’re all looking at you Matt.


Front Office

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(1).  The client-facing employees in your company (a.k.a. the guys making all the money).


“Whoa, whoa, whoa…there’s no way Ops is going to push some kind of data entry project on the front office.  You tell those guys to stop playing World of Warcraft in the office and start typing!”


Full Court Press

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(1). A basketball term used by management to pressure sales staff to concentrate on a favored (read: expensive) or, more likely, under-performing product.