Back Into A Corner

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(1).  To take away all but one option, usually resulting in someone lashing out publicly at work (bad) or simply getting drunk after work and lashing out publicly then (worse).


“So, I feel kinda bad, but I totally backed Josh into a corner today on the Hendrickson account.  He just wouldn’t do what I wanted, so I just looped in the client and asked him again.  It worked, but I don’t think I’m getting invited to his summer barbecue anytime soon.”


Back of the Napkin

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(1).  A colloquial expression used to indicate that the analysis you are about to provide was completed very quickly, with little forethought, and will likely prove to be incorrect.


“This is totally back of the napkin, but I think we can increase your sales 300% this year.”


Back Story

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(1).  A stupid word used in place of “history”.


“Hey Mike, why don’t you give him the back story on the Collins deal?”


Props to Lisa for the submission.



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(1).  To gradually change your opinion after receiving a negative response (see push back) from either your boss, your client or someone in Legal.


“Mike said we should price this account at fifty bips with no discounts, but now he’s backpedaling on that after the client threatened to call his golfing buddy the CEO.”


Bag of Goods

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(1).  A series of empty promises made to a prospective client, designed to entice them to hire your firm.


“I hear what you’re saying, Al, but we can’t just sell these people a bag of goods and then have them find out we can deliver on about 2% of what we promised!  What are we, iPhones?!”



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(1).  A specialty or area of expertise.  The term is often used to avoid answering a question you don’t know the answer to.


“Well, international taxation of fishing leases isn’t exactly my bailywick, but I have a few partners who’ll be able to help you.  I took the liberty of inviting all of them to this meeting.”


Bait and Switch

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(1).  The deceptive practice of enticing a new customer with empty promises (read: low fees) only to spring the real deal on them after it’s too late for them to back out.


“What is this, some kind of bait and switch?  You’re sign says ‘All You Can Eat’ and, goddamnit, I want more shrimp!”


Bake Into

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(1).  To include (but not necessarily disclose) certain information (usually fees) in a presentation or report.


“So, love the proposal, Ron.  Let me ask you a question … I’m not seeing your commission on this anywhere … am I missing something or is that already baked into these numbers?


Bake Sale

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(1).  The day when that obnoxious prospect schedules presentations from several firms for their business.  The main purpose of the bake sale is to reinforce the prospect’s own sense of self-worth (oh, and also to waste all of your time since he already hired his brother-in-law’s firm to do the work).


“Well, I think there’s, like, two other firms pitching for this business today.  The good news is I got us the last time slot, so I feel pretty good about our chances.  You always want to be the last thing they eat at the bake sale, ’cause that’s the only thing they’re going to remember!”


Baked In

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(1).  A cooking-inspired term that is used to compare low-cost services that are included in a contract at no extra cost (wink wink), to a bundt cake.


(2).  Miscellaneous line-items included in a contract to make the client feel good about paying you more than they want to.


“The technology fee and set-up fee are baked in to the contract.  I have no idea what those are but we have to put something in there to justify our fee.”


Balls in the Air

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(1).  An expression used to imply that you have a lot of things you are working on right now (see juggling), often to indicate to someone that you are going to refuse whatever assignment you are about to be given.


“Sorry Ross, I don’t think I have time to help out on that, I have a lot of balls in the air right now….and no, that’s not what she said.”


Band Aid

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(1). A term used by developers to describe a quick and temporary fix for a problem on a website.  While the plan is to only have this quick fix up for a few days until the problem can be permanently corrected, it usually remains in place for years and well beyond the tenure of the developer who originally installed it.


“Hey Scott, what can we do about those images not rendering correctly on the site?”

“I’ll have to look into it but I can put a band aid on it for now so that the site functions correctly.”


“Yea I don’t know this guy Scott who worked here a few years back said he was working on it…images still don’t render correctly.”



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(1).  Yet another way to tell someone you aren’t going to do any more work than you absolutely have to.


“Sorry, Ned…I just don’t have the bandwidth right now to take on any more accounts.  Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t you start working a 40-hour week?  That might do it!”


Bang It Out

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(1).  A hip way of saying you’re going to half-a** an assignment just to get it done.


“Don’t worry about the Siegel presentation, Jim.  I can bang it out tonight and get it to you by tomorrow morning.”


Bankers’ Hours

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(1).  A 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. workday, usually used by those who work much longer hours (see lawyers’ hours) in an attempt to look better to their bosses or co-workers than those who don’t.


“Whoa, heading home already, Steve?  Guess we’re working bankers’ hours now.  I was just about to throw another pot of coffee on.  Hey boss, you want a cup?  I asked Steve but he’s leaving for the night.”


Baptism By Fire

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(1).  Overwhelming new employees by not having a game plan for training and just throwing them into meetings and projects.


“Glad to have you on the team, Megan.  Well, I’m out for the next couple of weeks, so I guess it’ll be a bit of a baptism by fire for you.  The manual is on that pile on my desk, I think.  Good luck!”


Props to Lara for the submission.


Barrier Of Entry

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(1).  Oh, let’s see … the fact that your fees are too high, your hot assistant called in sick today, the prospect doesn’t seem to like your tie, and you suspect that he may be sleeping with that b* from Merrill Lynch he keeps talking about.


“I don’t know about this one, Harry.  There are just too many barriers of entry here.  I mean, the guy actually told me he didn’t like talking to you!”


Baseline Suitability Obligation

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(1).  The absolute minimum you need to do to not get in trouble with the Feds.


“This sounds like it’s going to cost a lot of money to get this done.  What’s our baseline suitability obligation here?  Do we really need to have a system that works THAT good?”



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(1).  A grossly overused filler word whose only purpose is to attempt to make a statement seem smarter than including “um”, “uh” or other unintelligible word/sound.


“I swear I am going to unleash a pack of rabid squirrels on the next person that says basically!”


(2).  An insipid word used to frame, initiate or clarify an opinion, statement, fact, or clarification.


“Our product will basically transform the way you engage with your customers.”  It’s a product and it’s BASIC…..gee whiz!


Also see: literally and actually


Props to Brad for the submission!



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(1).  An acronym for “Business Continuity Plan”, or, a company’s plan to keep working after a hurricane or terrorist attack that looks really good on paper but will never work in a million years BECAUSE EVERYONE WILL BE RUNNING AWAY.


“Hey, team…just wanted to remind everyone of the BCP test we are running this week.  Basically, we just want all of you to work from home…yep…that’s the plan…”


Be Additive

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(1).  A term used to describe one’s involvement in a certain matter or project, usually as a way to suggest someone else’s involvement would be unnecessary or undesirable.


“I’m not sure Mike’s 50-slide presentation on our office’s battery-recycling program would be additive to the board meeting.”


Beauty Contest

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(1).  A preliminary set of sales meetings where the prospect forces all of the different firms to perform their dog-and-pony show one after another, all in the same day.


“Yeah, so we’ve got a meeting with a prospect today at 1.  I think it’s just a beauty contest at this point.  Pretty sure there are at least three other firms in the running.”


Beef Up

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(1).  To add content to a presentation or white paper.  Usually suggested by those who believe length equals quality.


“Your proposal really lays out the plan perfectly, Don.  But I think we should try to beef up the technical portion a bit.  The boss will really enjoy wading through pages and pages of technical jargon.  I just know he will!”


Behind the Eight Ball

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(1).  To be under intense pressure.


“Dude, Mike is really behind the eight ball this week.  He’s got three client meetings, two presentations and a date with the hot chick in Accounting who thinks he’s the V.P. in charge of Marketing…which he’s not.”


Bells and Whistles

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(1).  Extra, usually unnecessary, features or services that are used to entice a prospect to buy your product or hire your firm.


“So, this is the Superior, our deluxe model.  It’s got all the bells and whistles you could want…MP3 player, remote control, bluetooth…it’s pretty awesome.  Oh, the flush handle’s right over here…”


Belt and Suspenders

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(1).  To do way more than you need to do to make sure your a** is covered from every angle you can think of.


“Well, it may seem like a lot, but we really want to take a belt and suspenders approach to this issue.”


Bench Strength

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(1).  A sports related term used to describe the depth of talent a company possesses, and then used again to justify bringing every single one of those people to a meeting.


“I know bringing 15 people seems a bit excessive, but I want to show that we have bench strength back at the office.  I think it totally makes sense to have Kathy come!  Bringing the secretary shows we’re organized in my opinion.”


Bend the Steel

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(1).  To try really, really hard (but still fail).


“I’ve been bending the steel on this, but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to get you that purple Geo you’re looking for.”



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(1).  Unnecessarily customized.  Like iPhone cases.


“I just can’t believe we can’t figure out how to provide annual fee summaries in some kind of automated fashion, Don.  Having your team create some kind of bespoke document for every account is lunacy.  Can you see if the Tech guys have some kind of solution here?  I’m going to let Jim know I’m on top of this, in the meantime.  Thanks a bunch.”


Best Efforts

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(1).  A caveat added to a promise to complete a task requested after a known or stated deadline, often used by operations to pre-emptively excuse the fact that they have absolutely no intention of completing the annoyingly last-minute request in the first place.


“Well, given that it’s 4:30 on a Friday, running a report of all your transactions since 1996 by the end of the week is going to be on a best efforts basis…”


Best in Class

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(1).  A self-promoting way to describe a firm’s customer service or products, meant to imply that the firm is number one in the industry (a claim for which there is likely no basis and is highly disclaimed in the fine print at the back of the promotional material).


“Team, we’re rolling out our new value proposition to reaffirm to the world our best in class status in the industry.”


Best Practice

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(1).  An unofficial procedure that a small, smug subset of employees deems better than those of their peers.


“Well, as a best practice, my team always sends each of our clients a personalized holiday card and a little tin of cookies.  Our client retention rate is 0.1% better than the firm average, so it’s clearly worth it.”


Bio Break

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(1).  A term often used during long meetings as a euphemism for stopping said meeting so everyone can take a leak.


“Okay, everyone…while this presentation on which design we should use on our promotional flash drives has been riveting, it’s time for a bio break.  Anyone else have to use the big boys’ room?  That’s right, I call it the big boys’ room….no need for lies.”


Props to Kevin B. for the submission.


Bio Buddy

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(1).  That guy who you always see in the office bathroom who (I guess) drinks coffee at roughly the same pace as you do.


“So, I saw my bio buddy again today.  I’ve got to say, I really would prefer that he leave his Blackberry on his desk.  It’s just gross, man.”



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(1).  A method of passing legislation by agreement of both political parties.  It is usually used to describe legislation which has failed to pass at all.


“We have appointed a bipartisan sub-committee to review the findings of the bipartisan special commitee on the actions of the bipartisan standing committee appointed by Congress in a bipartisan manner to investigate allegations that the bipartisan sub-committee manipulated their findings for partisan purposes.”


Black Hat

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(1).  Shady Internet optimization practices usually performed by nondescript people in Russia, India, Romania, Slovenia, etc….really any country that ends in “ia” applies here.


(2).  Manipulating search engine results by obtaining links from porn sites and gambling sites…or porn sites you can gamble on.


Black hat, white hat…is all the same as long as you get page one of Google result pages.  Have you been on the Ebay lately?  I see missile silo for sale, crazy things!  I update on the Facebook now!



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(1).  A situation in which a group of co-workers meet to decide who will take the fall for a major screw-up for which nobody wants to accept responsibility.


“Okay, team…we, don’t want to create a blamestorm here, but I think we all know Tom was the one that forgot to send out the presentation…am I right?”


Props to Mary D. for the submission.


Blink Decision

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(1).  A no-brainer.


“So, Andy, what your saying is … if we set the heat in the office at 50 all the time, we can save thousands of dollars of overhead?  Sounds like a blink decision to me.”


Blocking and Tackling

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(1).  Getting back to the basics of the job.


“Look, Joe…I think it’s really great that you are writing all of these articles lately.  But, I think you really need to focus on blocking and tackling for a while.  When was the last time you gave any of your clients a call?”


Props to Joyce G. for the submission.


Blue Ocean Strategy

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(1).  An initiative undertaken by a company to produce unlimited opportunities.  It is, of course, a pipe dream that results in over-diversification and, ultimately, a reversion back to the company’s core competencies (see also cultural evolution).


“We’re planning to adopt a blue ocean strategy for 2013.  We’re now going to focus on both importing AND exporting!”


Props to Jack D. for the submission.


Blue Ribbon

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(1).  A way to make it sound like the members of your team are all winners, and that, by hiring you guys, the client will be a winner, too.


“Our blue ribbon team of experienced professionals will make sure you are receiving the highest level of attention and service every day.”


Bogey Golf

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(1). A golf reference used to describe piss poor performance on any particular dealing with a client.


“That was really bogey golf right there Scott.  You left the flash drive with the presentation on it in your car, you wore a Spuds MacKenzie tie and to top it all off you didn’t even offer them a Fresca.  Everyone loves Fresca!”



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(1).  An acronym for Buy One, Get One.


(2).  In retail, a term used to describe a sale that lures naive customers into buying surplus, out of season products they will never use, by offering them 2 of these items for the same price.


“Hey Steve, did you see that BOGO sale going on over at Dick’s Sporting Goods?  I know it’s May and the season just ended, but I think I am totally going to get into snowboarding next year!  And if I buy one pair of snow pants, I get a second pair for free!  How can I go wrong?


Boil the Ocean

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(1).  To try to do too much at once, usually resulting in total, abject and complete failure.


“I like where you’re going with this, Jim, but let’s not try to boil the ocean on our first pitch.  Let’s just focus on phase one of the proposal and see where it goes.”



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(1).  All of that “standard” mumbo jumbo lawyers stick into contracts and other legal documents, usually without thought and often with negative consequences.


“Okay, so Frank, you agree that if you and Rachel get divorced, you need to pay her blah, blah, blah … then blah, blah, blah … you can just skip past pages 3 through 78, it’s all just a bunch of boilerplate legal stuff.  If you could just sign on page 79, we can still make our reservation at Le Bernardin.”


Boiling Frog Syndrome

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(1).  In HR, this is a term used to describe how to deal with change in the workplace. For example, if you place a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, if you place it in cold water and gradually heat it, it might stay.  Pretty roundabout way to say “grow a pair and deal with it” but it’s ok, we’re into hand-holding, miss.


“Well Jon it sounds to me like you have a little bit of boiling frog syndrome.  Here’s how I see things: you were once the manager of business development.  Over the past year you gradually didn’t sell anything, and now you have become the manager of our telephone service, office supplies & bagel Friday’s.  You have a great new desk right up in front of the office, and get to talk to everyone who comes through the door, whether it be new people coming in for interviews, food delivery folk or the FedEX guy.  The way I see it, it’s a win win for everyone!  That guy?  Oh he’s here for the new business development manager position, can you send him to my office?”


Bolt On

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(1).  To attempt to merge a new application with your current systems, usually resulting in a Frankenstein-looking mess that will decrease efficiency while increasing frustration.


“So, we’re going to bolt on a bill pay program to our banking platform.  It’s going to be great for our clients, but might require a bit more manual intervention by you guys while we work out the kinks.  Merry Christmas!”


Bomb Thrower

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(1).  Someone who always asks some embarrassing “gotcha” question just before a decision’s about to be made.


“So, we had the prospect on the ropes, ready to sign us up, and his lousy, bomb thrower consultant asks us to walk him through how we pass along our costs to customers.  I have no freakin’ idea how we do that!  I’m a salesman, not a goddamned accountant!”