Pain Point

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Definition

 

(1).  A word consultants and IT guys use to identify systems or processes that decrease worker productivity, in an attempt to develop better methods (also known as efficiencies).

 

“So, tell me Andy, would you consider the company’s onboarding process one of your pain points?  You mentioned in your questionnaire that it takes two weeks and involves seven different levels of approval….hmm…let’s just mark that down as a ‘yes’.”

 

 

Real Life Lingo

 

It’s always tough to hear when someone has a pain point about something, because you know it’s never just about that one thing.  I was once in a meeting with a local nursery where everything we said and everything we recommended was one of this guy’s pain points.  “We really need to update your meta descriptions, they are currently all blank except for the homepage that simply reads, “HOME OF THE BUSH KING”, and we really don’t think you are sending the right message here.”  What does this guy say to me?  “Nope, can’t do it, updating code is one of our pain points here.”

 

Godspeed Bush King, Godspeed.

 

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Paper the File

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(1).  To endlessly add things to your records in an attempt to avoid liability (see CYA).

 

“Yeah, I have no idea what we should do, so let’s just paper the file so it looks like we made a thoughtful decision and bury the issue in a committee meeting somewhere.”

 

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Paperless Environment

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(1).  A term used by companies to describe a mythical place full of rainbows and lollipops where files are readily accessible online, nothing ever gets lost or misfiled and machines collect dust in darkened copy rooms.

 

“Everybody, I have big news.  This office will be a completely paperless environment by Q1 of 1998.”

 

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Paradise Analysis

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(1).  Another way to describe the wish list you are about to present to you boss for that new system you want him to pay for.

 

“Okay, so this is our paradise analysis for the new custody platform.  If we even get a third of this, we’ll be in good very good shape.”

 

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Parking Lot

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(1).  At conferences you are invited to write out questions/ideas/concerns on a sticky note and place it on a board called the parking lot.  You are told someone (from the company running the conference) will go through them and group them into like categories to avoid repetition and then your topics will be addressed.

 

Translation:  Slick guise to placate participants, weed out undesirable topics and zero in on what corporate wants to address.

 

Props to Cynthia E. for the submission.

 

(2).  A polite euphemism used in meetings to scuttle the train wreck of an idea that everyone sees except the one who just raised it.

 

“That’s a good point, Bill.  Let’s put that in the parking lot and discuss it after the meeting offline.” (Here “offline” means never.)

 

Props to Tommy P. for the submission.

 

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Partnering

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(1). A euphemism for outsourcing certain functions to another firm or service provider, intended to imply that the use of the other provider is to the customer’s benefit, as opposed to simply a cost-saving measure, which it invariably is.

 

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Pass-Through

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(1).  A process that shouldn’t require any human intervention … right?

 

“So, once you hit ‘Submit’, the payment and shipping orders should all process on a pass-through basis.  The only caveat is that Marvin over there is going to have to push the payment and shipping orders to the vendors.  So, I guess it’s more like a ‘pass-through-Marvin basis’.  Sorry, Marvin.”

 

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Path of Least Resistance

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(1).  The easiest way to get at least some of what you want without getting a lot of grief (see push back) for your effort.

 

“I know asking Melanie to cover my shift sucks, you know, ’cause Melanie sucks…but, she still kinda wants to sleep with me, so it’s the path of least resistance if I want to still hit the Pantera concert show.”

 

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Peel Back The Onion

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(1).  To drill down into the underlying causes of the issue you’re probably covering up.

 

“So, while our year-end numbers look a little light, if you peel back the onion you’ll see that our longer-term fundamentals are strong to quite strong.”

 

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Pen and Ink

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(1).  The act of quickly revising a document by hand and then giving it to someone else to type up.  Well done, boss!

 

“Let me just pen and ink this real quick and I’ll get it right back to you.  Sorry in advance about my handwriting…I can barely make it out!  Have a nice weekend!”

 

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Permalancing

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(1).  When a freelance worker is hired by a large company to work on a project for years, but is not entitled to (or offered, for that matter) health benefits.

 

(2).  Kinda like having a job….kinda….

 

Permalancing is great!  It’s like I work for the company, but I really don’t.  I mean, they can let me go at any moment, without any notice, but I still think it’s the right thing for me.  **cough** **cough** Oh this cough?  Don’t worry about it, I’ve had it for about a month but I’m sure the Tylenol Cold & Sinus will take care of it eventually.  **cough** **cough**”

 

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Personal Brand

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(1).  A collection of work-related achievements you add to your “bio” (read: resume) whose only purpose (now that you’ve moved on to another company) seems to have been to allow you to add them to your bio.

 

“I think writing an article in our trade journal is a great idea, Kenny.  It’ll sure help you increase your personal brand…and be good for the company’s reputation, of course.”

 

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Personal Day

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(1).  Something my assistant seems to have a lot of, especially when we’re really busy.

 

“Hi, Tom…I’m going to take a personal day today.  What’s going on?  I have an interv…umm…dentist appointment…yeah, that’s it…a dentist appointment.”

 

 

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Petty Cash

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(1). Loose money usually kept in the desk drawer of the head of human resources that is used for miscellaneous office expenses or to buy groceries for your siblings in the off chance the babysitter dies.

 

(2). Cash money.

 

“We have to economize Sue Ellen!  There’s nothing left in petty cash, I’ve taken it all!”

 

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Pick Your Brain

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(1).  A request to waste your time educating me about something you may know slightly more about.  Fortunately, your vanity allows you to take this request as a compliment.

 

“Hey, Jerry, do you mind if I pick your brain for a second?  I’m trying to figure out how you keep your hair so manageable…”

 

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Piker

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(1).  A broker/advisor in the securities industry who runs his business in an amateur fashion.

 

“It’s 10:30 and Bill still isn’t in the office…what a piker!”

 

Props to Mark R. for the submission.

 

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Pillow Test

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(1).  A check to make sure the action you are recommending will help your client sleep better at night.

 

“The important thing to ask yourself, Mrs. Gilchrist, is whether putting your entire retirement savings into shares of Facebook is going to pass the pillow test.  Given the commissions I would make on the trade, I would say ‘yes’.”

 

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Pipeline

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(1).  The list of prospective clients your company maintains that never seems to change.  You really need to hire better sales reps.

 

“Well, we have about 50 prospects in the pipeline right now, so we’re doing okay.  Well, I suppose we could cull some of these 2003 ones… …okay, well we have about 15 prospects in the pipeline right now, so we’re doing okay.”

 

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Pissing In The Wind

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(1). A term that compares making no progress on a particular project, to one urinating on one’s self.

 

“We’re really just pissing in the wind until you make a decision Jeff.  Now c’mon, do you like the glossy or matte finish on the new business cards?”

 

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Pitchbook

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(1).  A standard PowerPoint presentation used for all prospective clients in which the prospect‘s name is inserted in two or three places to make it appear as if it was prepared just for them.

 

“Hey Courtney, can you email me a copy of the most recent pitchbook?  I just want to make sure all of my phony baloney certifications are listed in my bio.”

 

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Pivot

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(1).  To opportunistically change direction or focus (see shift gears).

 

“I think we should pivot towards mobile this quarter.  Why yes, we do happen to have a mobile department!”

 

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Plaid Suit

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(1).  That guy on your sales team that just oozes “used car salesman”.  He actually probably drives a Maserati.

 

“Ugh…Dan is such a plaid suit!  He’d try to sell you his mother’s house if he could…with her still in it!”

 

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Play Devil’s Advocate

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(1).  To annoyingly raise hypothetical arguments whose only purpose is to prolong already endless conference calls.

 

“Before I let you go, let me just play devil’s advocate here…what if we didn’t change the filter in the coffee machine…?  What would happen then?”

 

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Play Hide The Ball

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(1).  To omit some critical piece of information during a sales pitch (i.e. fees, your actual capabilities, etc.).

 

“Look, Dean … we’re not trying to play hide the ball here!  We can’t NOT tell this guy we don’t actually know how to build his website and that your little brother – who’s sixteen by the way – is going to be doing it for us!”

 

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Play Phone Tag

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(1).  To repeatedly go back and forth on voicemail without ever actually connecting.  You eventually just email the guy with whatever it is you want.

 

“Hey, it’s Phil again…sorry for playing phone tag the last few days…give me a buzz when you have a moment…well, I’ll be out of the office the rest of the day, so try you on Monday…”

 

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Poaching

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(1). A term that compares stealing talent from another company to illegally hunting African rhinoceroses for their ivory.

 

“I have no problem poaching talent from Google.  I mean, it’s not like they are watching us or anything. **ring** **ring** Hmm, another unknown number.  Ya know it’s strange, every time I say that, my phone rings.  Weird.”

 

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Pocketbook Issue

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(1).  A misogynistic term that political candidates use when addressing “women’s issues” in an attempt to appear as if they could care less about whatever “women’s issues” are.

 

“Look, let me be clear…I understand you’re frustrated with the cost of groceries…I do.  It’s a real pocketbook issue and I want you to know that I hear you.  I also want to take a moment to address the death of soap operas…I’m sorry, do you all still watch soap operas?”

 

 

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Possibility Plate

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(1).  A simply adorable way to say you just can’t do it.

 

“I’m afraid I’ll have to push that off the edge of my possibility plate.”

 

Props to Helen S. for the submission.

 

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Post

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(1).  To inform your boss (usually by voicemail) of an error or other issue before he receives the inevitable angry call from your client.

 

“Hi, Tom.  This is Gil.  Hope you’re enjoying your vacation.  Umm…just wanted to post you on an issue with the Pupier account.  Turns out it’s pronounced ‘pupi-ay’.”

 

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Post-Implementation Review Process

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(1).  A really, really complicated way to say slamming the barn door after the horse is gone.

 

“Alright, now that we’ve converted to the new accounting system, we need to go through our post-implementation review process to make sure it’s going to work.  Somehow, I feel we should have asked more questions up front…oh well, too late now!”

 

Props to A3 for the submission.

 

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Post-Mortem

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(1).  The awkward discussion you have after a pitch with a prospect to figure out why you didn’t win the business (read: why you suck) so you can “do better next time”.

 

(2).  The meeting that happens after a big project is completed, where everyone gathers round to discuss who will be the scapegoat for everything that went wrong.

 

“Listen guys, doing a post-mortem is a solid way to figure out what we did right and what we did wrong.  I mean, Jerry dropping the F-bomb a few times didn’t help, and Lisa, breaking down crying in the middle of the meeting when your GoToMyPC froze probably wasn’t great either.  You know what, on second thought, maybe we don’t need to do this…..Jerry and Lisa, can you come to my office for a minute?”

 

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Post-Partisan

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(1).  A word intended to describe a politician’s ability to reach across the aisle and get legislation passed by consensus of both parties.  We actually have a better chance of seeing the folks at CERN figure out how to go back in time so we can vote all of these morons out of office than finding a post-partisan politician.

 

“I am my own man.  A post-partisan.  Not beholden to any political party or special interest group.  Well…other than the guys who are funding my campaign ads and stuffing all those ballot boxes for me.  I’m a little beholden to those guys.”

 

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Post-Voluntary

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(1). An international tax term used, for some reason, by some European tax authorities in place of “mandatory”, probably as the result of some consultant’s report, the production of which undoubtedly was a waste of taxpayer money.

 

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Pound the Table

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(1).  To argue with (or complain to) management about something you feel passionate about (i.e. your comp).

 

“Look, Jerry … Pete’s just not going to sign off on a ten percent commission for this one.  You can pound the table all you want, but it’s not going to happen.”

 

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Pow Wow

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(1).  A private staff meeting or other euphemism for a group of employees complaining about their co-workers and/or clients in a conference room or office.

 

(2).  A meeting or brainstorming session to come up with ideas and strategies for a particular client…who may or may not be Native Americans.

 

“We all need to get into a room and have a pow wow.  Who’s bringing the cigars?”

 

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Power Tie

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(1). A term used to describe a particularly lavish tie that apparently can tap into the power of Greyskull.

 

“Hey Mike! What do you think of my new power tie?  By the power of Greyskull….I have the powerrrrrrrrr!!  Am I right?!  Or am I right?!


“I think I need a new job Dave.  I think I need a new job.”

 

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Powers That Be

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(1).  You know who these guys are.  You also know you’re never going to be one of them.  So there.

 

“Well, we tried to get our proposal approved today.  Unfortunately, the powers that be think it’ll be a much better use of firm resources to hold another ‘top producer’ offsite in Maui.  We’re never going to get that new coffee maker now!”

 

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PPM

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(1).  “Policies and Procedures Manual”; or in other words, an endless document no one reads that outlines a bunch of rules no one follows.

 

“Okay, guys, so we’re rolling out the new PPM for check presentments this week.  I’d like everyone to read through it and let me know if you have any questions.  It’s only 247 pages, so it shouldn’t take you more than a weekend.”

 

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Pride of Authorship

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(1).  Resentment of co-workers for edits they have made to something you wrote.

 

“No, please.  Make changes.  No pride of authorship here.  I just worked on it for three months, no big deal.  Looking forward to your thoughts.”

 

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Priority 3

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(1).  A term used by EMS and Fire Personnel to describe a patient that waits until 3AM to call for an ambulence for their stubbed toe or sore shoulder.

 

“Guys, it looks like we have a Priority 3 here.  This guy is complaining of severe pain in the hallux region of his foot and he may have a sprain or strain to the small interphalangeal joints.  This is gonna be a long night…oh, hey look, a waffle house!”

 

Props to John H. for the submission.

 

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Proactive

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(1).  Something no one ever has time to be.

 

“You know, team, we’ve really got to be more proactive with our clients.  Anticipate their needs.  Call them before they call us.  Oh, who am I kidding…get back to filling out that spreadsheet I sent you!”

 

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Producer

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(1). A salesperson, broker or other agent who generates revenue for a firm.

 

(2). Yet another way for a salesperson, broker or agent to avoid referring to themselves as a salesperson, broker or agent.

 

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Production

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(1).  A way to refer to a company’s sales force as a collective group without actually using the word “sales”.

 

(2).  An operations term referring to a document or application that is being prepared for release.

 

“For a change of pace, this year the company is going to focus its hiring and compensation in the production area of the business.”

 

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Pronged Approach

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(1).  A way to attack an issue from multiple fronts, usually suggested by people who can’t decide what to do and try to just throw everything at the problem in hopes that one of their ideas will work.

 

“Okay, team…we are going to use a three-pronged approach to resolve our recent data security problem.  Step 1: Everyone now needs a password to log in to the system.  Step 2: Jeff in IT should not have a password.  Step 3: Fire Jeff in IT.”

 

Props to Carlos B. for the submission.

 

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Proprietary

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(1).  A software application, program or service offering that is unique to a company (and usually subject to patents or copyrights), often strikingly similar to a dozen other software applications, programs or service offerings by the company’s competitors (and probably designed using pirated software provided by disgruntled ex-employees).

 

“Alright everyone, we have finally rolled out our proprietary dashboard.  It took two years, countless hours and thousands of dollars, but I think we are finally going to be able to pull in Google Analytics!  What?  Yes, that’s pretty much all it does.  No, I don’t think it makes more sense to just log in to Google Analytics.  This thing has our logo on it!”

 

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